A&M seeks stable offense against high-scoring Ole Miss
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 01:02
Game-to-game shooting consistency has eluded the Texas A&M men’s basketball team of late. While A&M has been sporadic, Ole Miss hasn’t had a problem making shots.
Junior guard Marshall Henderson — the leading scorer in the SEC and the subject of student-section ire everywhere he has gone — will lead Ole Miss into a contest Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Reed Arena against an A&M team looking for a rhythm.
A&M — after following a 45 percent shooting performance against Missouri by making 20 percent against Georgia — aims for stability in its play.
Head coach Billy Kennedy said his team has to work more on shooting.
“That’s what we’re going to do,” Billy said. “We’re going to get into the gym and shoot more and chart every shot. We’ve got to get consistent in making them. We had twenty really good looks when you break the film down, and missed them. If it’s a lay-up, an open jump shot, an open three, you’ve got to make those shots. But at this time of the year, when you get good ones you’ve got to make them.”
Ole Miss comes to Reed Arena third in the SEC with an 18-5 (7-3) record. This has already been a historic season for the Rebels as they started off 6-0 in SEC play for the first time ever.
Individually, the success of Ole Miss goes beyond Henderson’s SEC-leading 19.9 points per game. Forward Murphy Holloway became the schools all-time career leader in rebounds (965), , forward Reginald Buckner is currently sixth all-time in blocks (290) in the SEC and head coach Andy Kennedy looks to tie B.L. Graham for most wins in school history.
Over the past few games, A&M has played teams close, with the last four decided by six points or less, two of which went into overtime.
Toughness may play a key role. The Rebels most recently lost to Missouri 98-79, but flagrant fouls - one to each team - were given out as scuffles took place throughout the game.
Andy said it was tough fighting their way out of early pressure.
"It seemed like we were running uphill the entire game," Andy said. "And anytime they did miss shots, which was not often, [Missouri] got them all."
The Aggies will try to contain the Rebels and their SEC-leading offense that averages 75 points per game.
Billy said it's a tough matchup for Texas A&M.
"They’ve made more free-throws than we’ve attempted,” Billy said. “This is a very explosive offensive team, one that’s a tough match-up for us. We have to control the tempo some and take care of the ball because they will force turnovers. We have got to do a good job of keeping them off the free-throw line.”
On the road against Georgia, A&M fell short, 46-52. Junior guard Fabyon Harris went 6-11 while the rest of the team went 6-39. Harris has come into his element recently and after hitting the game winning three-pointer with 11 seconds remaining against Missouri, he said it was his duty.
"I wanted the ball because I knew coach would get on me because I turned the ball over at a crucial time," Harris said. "I just let it fly, and it went in."