Sunday, March 04, 2018

Agony in Aggieland, Texas A&M 68 Alabama 66

The effort was better, but the results were the same.  Alabama dropped its fifth straight game to finish 9th in the conference with a 17-14 record, 8-10 in the SEC.

It was a physical, slow-paced, and at times ugly game.  Herb did not play due to the head injury he sustained in the Florida game.  For some reason, Dan Giddens has went from starting (which was preposterous to begin with) to not playing at all.  Galin Smith played 21 minutes for some reason and appeared to be over-matched much of the game by the Aggie bigs. 

Neither team could make an outside shot or a free throw, and we grinded out a one point lead in the first half.  We played a lot of 2-3 zone to try to pack the paint against their bigs, but as usual we were not able to rebound out of it.  The Aggies built an 11 point lead mostly on second chance opportunities.  I was hoping we would switch to a soft man, but that never happened.

Our guys battled back and actually took a lead with around 5 minutes to play, but the Aggies answered with another run of their own.  With just over 30 seconds remaining and the Aggies at the free throw line with a 4 point lead, Sexton baited TJ Starks into pushing him in the head, resulting in a technical foul and an ejection.  Unfortunately, Sexton was also called for a technical foul.  There's no doubt Sexton said something to provoke Starks, but I don't know how the official can assess a technical on that replay without definitively hearing what was said.  I'm disappointed CAJ did not argue that call.

Anyway, they made 3 of four free throws, then Collin made both of his and we got the ball back.  Key was fouled shooting a 3, made 2 more free throws, and we got an offensive rebound on the third, so we had the ball down 3 with a chance to tie, but couldn't get the shot to go down and that was that. 

Sexton played well with 23 points and 7 assists.  Donta contributed with 12 points and 6 boards, but his defense has not been as good lately for some reason.  Petty somehow ended up being the leading rebounder with 8. 

Up next, the SEC tournament.   We have a rubber game with these very same Texas A&M Aggies Thursday at noon in St. Louis.  The winner will move on to play top seeded auburn on Friday at noon.  Although Joe Lunardi still inexplicably has us in his bracket as a 10 seed, I think we likely need at least 2 wins in the tournament to feel good about our chances. 

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