No. 24 Texas A&M hopes its second Southeastern Conference game in Mississippi goes better than the first one.
The Aggies (21-8, 13-3 SEC), who lost at Mississippi State 69-62 on Saturday, will face Ole Miss on Tuesday night in Oxford, Miss.
“On the road we shot nine less shots and four less free throws and that’s normally not what we do,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “I think they played to who they are better than we played to who we are.”
Williams zeroed in on the Aggies’ 16 turnovers as a primary culprit in the team’s offensive struggles.
“If you’re only going to shoot 43 balls, and a portion of that is because you turn it over 16 times, and then you only get eight offensive rebounds and one of those was a team rebound, you’re going to play from behind,” Williams said. “That’s the slowest we’ve played in a long time.”
Texas A&M shot just 39.5 percent from the floor and the Aggies’ offense let them down the most in the second half. They had a nine-point lead with 14 minutes remaining, but made just one of their last 11 field-goal attempts and had a field-goal drought of nearly 13 minutes.
One bright spot for the offense was Wade Taylor IV, who scored 21 points. It was the sixth consecutive game that he led the team in scoring.
The loss ended a six-game winning streak. A victory over the Rebels would guarantee Texas A&M at least the No. 2 seed in the upcoming SEC tournament. The Aggies finish the regular season at home against No. 2-ranked and first-place Alabama on Saturday.
Ole Miss (11-18, 3-13) used a finishing 25-11 run to take a 35-26 halftime lead on its way to an 82-69 home victory against LSU on Saturday.
The Rebels ended an eight-game home losing streak by winning their first game under acting head coach Win Case, who was elevated when Kermit Davis was fired last Friday.
“Character matters, and our team has a lot of character,” Case said. “That is the reason why this team never gave up. Through all the heartaches, injuries, and more, they stayed together and continued to fight.”
Ole Miss shot 55.2 percent from the field, including 62.1 percent during a 47-point second half.
“The thing that we wanted to do was put two halves together,” Case said. “With four minutes left, all the guys kept saying was, ‘Let’s go get this win’ and they did all the talking in the timeouts.”
The Rebels have struggled offensively for most of the season, but had one of their most efficient performances against LSU.
Jaemyn Brakefield had his second double-double of the season, finishing with 23 points and 10 rebounds. His effectiveness down low helped Ole Miss dominate in the paint, outscoring the Tigers 42-24.
Amaree Abram scored 14 points, making a career-best four 3-pointers, Myles Burns added 12 points and Matthew Murrell had 11.
The Rebels will be playing their final home game of the season Tuesday.
–Field Level Media