Aggies face inspired Ole Miss on the road
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 00:02
The last time Texas A&M matched up against Ole Miss, the Aggies were able to contain Marshall Henderson — the Southeastern Conference’s leading scorer — to only 10 points, frustrating the star guard into an early exit by fouls. Conversely, Elston Turner — A&M’s leading scorer — dropped 37 points on the Rebels, pushing the team to a close two-point victory.
With the Aggies traveling to Oxford, Miss., to face off against Ole Miss a second time Wednesday night, Henderson and the Rebels will look to enact their revenge with a victory over A&M.
“We did a good job on them the last game guarding Marshall Henderson,” Aggie head coach Billy Kennedy said during Monday’s press conference. “Elston had a really unbelievable game. They're a different team at home, like most teams, and they're in a position where if they want to get to postseason play they've got to win some games.”
Elston has been more consistent, recording his first back-to-back 20-plus scoring performance of the season. Ever since his bout with the Rebels at Reed Arena on Feb. 13, the senior guard has found a rhythm on the hardwood. Elston noted his shooting troubles.
"I have just been in a shooting slump," Turner said after the win over Ole Miss. "I started hitting shots and my teammates did a great job of finding me. It was a fun game to play."
After early struggles, including a four-game losing streak during conference play, the Aggies have traded wins and losses over the last eight games and sport a 6-8 conference record — good for tenth in the SEC. The Rebels rank fourth in the conference behind their 9-5 league record.
During the Aggies’ home win over the Rebels, the A&M defense stood its ground, holding Ole Miss to 45 percent from the floor and seven points lower than their season average. Currently, the Rebels rank sixth in the nation and lead the SEC in points per game with 79.1.
Kennedy said freshman guard Alex Caruso is a key matchup for the Rebels’ Marshall Henderson.
"[Last time] we started Alex Caruso on him," Kennedy said. "Alex set the tone, our team was really locked in and we had guys that wanted to guard him."
Henderson’s 10 points remains his lowest total against a conference opponent and his second lowest for the season. However, he still leads the SEC in points per game at 19.7, which will present a challenge to the A&M defense.
Elston was perfect from the floor in the first half of the last A&M-Ole Miss game, making all four of his three-point shots and adding three baskets inside the arch, missing only one of five free throws.
Junior guard Fabyon Harris said when Elston goes on his shooting rampage there's no getting in his way.
"I tell the team, 'Elston's hot,'" Harris said. "Lets keep finding ways to get him the ball."
Matching up against the Rebels again at 8 p.m. Wednesday night, Elston and Aggies will look to secure a season sweep against Ole Miss.