Texas A&M 71 - Ole Miss 75: Game Recap
Another game, another disappointing loss for the Aggie basketball team. A&M faced an uphill battle early, as Ole Miss was red hot to start the game, shooting over 80% through the first eight minutes while jumping out to a 19-6 lead. Despite a gritty effort by Billy Kennedy's team, the Rebels came away with a four-point victory to send A&M further towards the bottom of the SEC standings.
After Ole Miss' hot start, Kennedy benched TJ Starks and inserted Chris Collins and Mark French into the lineup just ten minutes into the first half. Brandon Mahan hit a three and made a layup off of a beautiful pass from Collins on a back door cut. Ole Miss responded with a quick 6-0 spurt to make the score 25-13, but Josh Nebo responded with six points of his own. Continuing to fight, Wendell Mitchell and Christian Mekowulu started to find openings in the Rebels' defense and Mahan made another three, and the Aggies trailed by just one point with 3:33 left in the half. The teams traded baskets after that, and the Rebels went into the locker room leading 37-36.
The Aggies did a great job fighting back from the early deficit, hitting their last eight shots. Brandon Mahan continued to shoot well, hitting all three of his attempts from deep and scoring 11 points. Mitchell was efficient from the floor, adding 11 points of his own on 5-8 shooting, and Nebo chipped in eight points.
Mahan stayed hot after the half and hit three quick threes to give the Aggies the lead at 45-40 with 17:31 left to play. After Ole Miss answered, Mitchell made two more threes, Nebo added four more points, and Flagg made a layup to give A&M a 57-48 lead with 12:46 remaining. Things turned to ash for the Aggies after that. Terence Davis flipped the swich on defense, and he forced turnover after turnover, while turning those into points for Ole Miss. Tyree started to put the ball in the hoop, and the Rebels went on a 15-5 run to seize a 63-62 lead with 4:50 left. Mitchell made a shot to briefly give the Aggies a lead, but Blake Henson made two free throws with 2:50 to give Ole Miss a lead it would not relinquish. The Rebels made their free throws to close out A&M, and although Chris Collins made a three-pointer with nine seconds remaining A&M lost 75-71.
Tonight's game was so disappointing because the Aggies wasted an absolute gem of a performance from Brandon Mahan. The Juco product was lights out from three, hitting 6 of his seven attempts and finishing with 20 points. Nebo was solid once again, scoring 14 points to go along with his 10 rebounds and two blocks. Wendell Mitchell scored a game-high 23 points and added four rebounds, assists, and steals. Savion Flagg had a rough night at the worst possible time as he only scored two points on 1-10 shooting and added just two rebounds and two assists. Hats off to Ole Miss guards Breein Tyree and Terence Davis, both of whom were as good as advertised. Tyree led the Rebels with 22 points while Davis flirted with a quadruple-double, scoring 19 points, grabbing eight rebounds, dishing out five assists, and swiping seven steals. The Aggies were fantastic in the middle 20 minutes of the game, but Billy Kennedy has to figure out how to get his team to start faster and finish out games or we're going to continue to see the downward spiral the A&M hoops squad is currently on.