A&M needs to find a way into the paint
During Gonzaga’s massive run in the first half, the Aggies failed to penetrate the paint and draw fouls that would get them to the free throw line. Although the Bulldogs have an elite defense, A&M still has talent that can finish at the basket.
A&M forward Josh Nebo is one such piece, and is having to adapt to playing in a different system - which he only has seven practices under his belt within that system, according to coach Buzz Williams.
“[Nebo] has only practiced in seven times now,” Williams said. “Obviously he watched everything up to that, and he has absorbed what he’s watched way better than i’ve anticipated.”
If A&M wants to make a splash in the rest of non-conference play, especially against better competition in Orlando in two weeks, the Aggies will have to find a way to generate points through the post. Five assists against a team like Gonzaga will not fly for the rest of the season.
Turnovers still a major issue
The stat of the night for A&M was far from positive. The 18 turnovers the Aggies committed were more than field goals made (17), and all but one player that saw the floor gave up the ball.
That number is still significantly lower than the last two regular season contests for the Aggies, but taking care of the ball at any level of Division I play is key to winning games.
“Zero assists and 10 turnovers [in the first half], I'd have to look it up, but through 410 games of my career as a head coach, I don’t remember that stat being never being that prominent,” Williams said.
Newcomers getting their first true test in Division I play
It was a rough night for Williams’ 2019 recruiting class. Forward Jonathan Aku and guard Andre Gordon received the start, but Aku did not attempt a shot and Gordon went 3-of-11 from the floor.
Combined, the newcomers went five-of-24 from the floor, which rounds out to 20.8 percent.
Williams said that Gordon is still doing good in his view in his second start at what is not his natural position at point guard.
“I thought in many respects he helped us win on Monday [against Louisiana-Monroe],” Williams said. “For [Gordon] to have that experience in his third college game, that’s a lot to learn from.”