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Basketball teams look to recover after tough conference losses

Published: Monday, February 25, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 23:02


Head coach Billy Kennedy summarized the Texas A&M men’s basketball season as he discussed the Aggies’ 93-84 quadruple home overtime loss to Tennessee this past Saturday.

“That loss was disappointing, probably more so to me than any other loss we have had this year because we had opportunities and our guys fought hard,” Kennedy said. “We just ran into Trae Golden and Jarnell Stokes who just dominated us physically.”

Ever since the Aggies’ Dec. 29 home victory over Army — two games before conference play — the squad has an 8-8 record. For the past eight games, A&M has alternated a win with a loss.

For Kennedy, though, optimism continues to surface during the weekly press conference.

“We fought hard against Tennessee and look forward to bouncing back,” Kennedy said. “I saw our guys yesterday; the good part about our team is they stayed at even keel. This time of the year the season is a grind and we’ve got to continue to fight through it.”

Women’s basketball assistant coach Amy Wright, filling in for absent head coach Gary Blair who travelled to Arkansas for the birth of his third grandchild, noted the frustration of her team following a 61-51 loss at unranked Vanderbilt. The No. 13 Aggies — third place in the SEC standings — remain a few close losses away from tying for first, a fact not lost easily on the squad.

“We need to get back to what Texas A&M does well defensively and offensively,” Wright said. “As a team we didn't shoot the ball well. The freshmen obviously want to make their first mark, SEC champions their freshman year.  Who wouldn't want that?  The seniors want to go out with a bang, but you have to give credit to Vanderbilt.”

Looking forward, though, the Aggies (11-3 SEC) will face their toughest test of the year in No. 8 Tennessee, the conference leader with a 13-1 league record. According to Wright, traveling to Knoxville, Tenn. to match up with the legendary program will provide multiple challenges.

“It's going to be another tough one,” Wright said. “They have an All-Conference kid in Meighan Simmons.  They have a kid who is probably going to be on the All-Freshmen in Bashaara Graves, and they have another kid that I have watched for years from Alabama, [Jasmine] Jones, so they are a solid team.”

As for the men, they look to keep their pattern alive with a victory on the road against Ole Miss. The Aggies upset the Rebels 69-67 in College Station on Feb. 13 and look to knock their conference foes from possible postseason contention with another victory.

“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,” Kennedy said. “We just have to have a lot of poise on the road and shorten the game a little bit, and maybe control the tempo some, more so on the road than we would have at home.”

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