Flagg's 29 points leads Aggies past Vandy
Despite ending the regular season losing three out of their last four games and enduring a rumor-filled week over the future of their head coach, the Texas A&M men's basketball team came to play in the first round of the SEC tournament Wednesday night against Vanderbilt. The 11th-seeded Aggies took down the 14th-seed Commodores in dominating fashion, as the Maroon and White never trailed and maintained the lead for 38 of the 40-minute contest.
Here are a few takeaways from the strong performance:
- Seriously, what else is there to say about Savion Flagg? The sophomore stretch forward has played out of his mind at times this season and the Commodores had no answer for him in roundone. His 29 points led all scores and he accomplished that in every way imaginable. Putbacks, fast break dunks, isolations, and spot up threes were all on display Wednesday night.
- Wendell Mitchell had a tough night shooting the ball, despite some good looks. Vanderbilt stuck to a zone defense for much of the game, which the Aggies had no issue carving into, leading to frequent open looks for their shooters, but the prolific-scoring junior college transfer failed to convert for most of the night. Fortunately for the Aggies, Mitchell has scored in double figures 18 times this season and has typically bounced back after rough nights shooting the ball. I’d expect a big game from #11 on Thursday.
- Josh Nebo continued his productive season with a strong showing off the bench. He sets the tone defensively every time he steps on the floor and has also gelled nicely on offense by scoring on the low block and moving without the ball. Frankly, it’s mind-blowing that the staff hasn’t found a lineup that keeps both him and Mekowulu on the floor together. With those two splitting minutes, it’s kept one of their most talented guys on the bench for virtually half of the game.
- Jay-Jay Chandler has quietly churned out some really strong performances to close out the season. In his last four games, the lefty sophomore is averaging 12 points on 59 percent shooting. For the first time in his career, you can see Chandler play with a sense of poise, and it’s made him much more efficient on the offensive end of the floor. He’s also done a great job of finishing at the rim after beating his man off the dribble, which he’s struggled with in the past.
- Finally, Christian Mekowulu has had a bit of an odd season. Although immensely talented, the senior grad transfer has been wildly underused offensively and somehow found his role diminished despite a strong start to the season. Regardless of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his final year of eligibility, #21’s stayed productive and poured in another near double-double last night. After an 11 point, 15 rebound performance against the Bulldogs last week, I’d expect another big performance from the undersized center in what could be his final collegiate game Thursday night.
The Ag’s will look to survive and advance another round tonight against a Mississippi State team who they lost to by double digits just 5 days ago. Tip-off is slated for 8:00 p.m. on the SEC Network.