GAME NOTES: The Texas A&M Aggies will try to win their third straight game on Wednesday night when they travel to Baton Rouge to take on the LSU Tigers in an SEC clash at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Texas A&M has won back-to-back games, taking down Alabama last Thursday (63-48) before dramatically downing Tennessee on Saturday (68-65 in OT), but both of those triumphs came at home, and it is just 1-6 on the road this season. The Aggies' season on a whole has been largely successful at 16-11 overall and 7-7 in the SEC.
LSU had a golden opportunity to improve their NCAA Tournament resume on Saturday at nationally-ranked Kentucky, but after a hard-fought battle, it ultimately fell on the wrong end of the 77-76 final in overtime. The Tigers are now losers of three of their last four to slip to 16-10 on the season, including 7-7 in league play, with the majority of their success coming at home (12-2).
Texas A&M got the best of LSU in College Station two weeks ago, 83-73, although the Tigers still lead the all-time series, 15-12.
The Aggies appeared to have their latest contest well in hand leading by eight with under two minutes to play, but after Tennessee stormed back to tie the game in the waning seconds of regulation, the Aggies redeemed themselves when Antwan Space drilled the game-winning 3-pointer with just four seconds remaining in the extra session. The squad shot a stellar 47.3 percent from the field and were aided by a 14-8 advantage in the turnover battle. Jamal Jones and Alex Caruso both poured in 14 points, with Caruso adding seven assists as well. Fabyon Harris came off the bench to score 13, while Kourtney Roberson pitched in 10 points and three steals.
The majority of Texas A&M's success this season can be attributed to its outstanding defense, which ranks second in the SEC in allowing only 62.4 ppg. It's a good thing it plays so well on the defensive end of the court, because its offensive attack (.430 FG percentage, 65.3 ppg) has been lackluster to say the least. Jones scores a team-best 12.8 ppg and has improved to 15.7 ppg in 14 league outings, but he shoots less than 38 percent from the field. Roberson (9.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Caruso (8.5 ppg, 4.6 apg) bring modest contributions to the table.
LSU also needed extra time to decide its tilt over the weekend, but leading by one with the clock winding down in the overtime period, it fell victim to a game-winning bucket by Kentucky with 3.9 seconds left as it suffered the heartbreaking road defeat. The game consisted of 11 ties and 11 lead changes, and neither team held a double-digit lead. The Tigers shot 40.3 percent from the floor and were led by a pair of 20-point efforts from Johnny O'Bryant III and Anthony Hickey, with O'Bryant adding 12 rebounds to his performance and Hickey dishing out eight assists. Jordan Mickey was only 2-of-9 from the field but still finished with 11 points and nine boards.
Scoring points has not been a problem for the Tigers this season, as they shoot 45 percent from the field for 77.7 ppg, but while they hold opposing teams to just 40.8 percent shooting, their scoring defense (72.7 ppg) ranks as the SEC's worst. O'Bryant leads the charge from the frontcourt with 15.5 ppg and 7.8 rpg. Mickey joins him in the paint and tallies 13.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 3.3 bpg, all while shooting just shy of 55 percent from the field. Andre Stringer (12.0 ppg), Jarell Martin (9.9 ppg), Hickey (9.5 ppg) and Shavon Coleman (9.0 ppg) round out the balanced scoring attack.
Although Texas A&M's stout defense should be able to keep LSU's offense in check, the Aggies have fallen flat on the road time and time again this season and will likely be outmatched at the Maravich Center in this one.
Game Date and Time