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A&M Hands OSU First Big XII Loss, 73-48

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Box Score

A hot (albeit short) start by OSU wasn’t going to be nearly enough in College Station on Wednesday night. Stout rebounding, free throws, and big three pointers from Markel Brown and Ray Penn kept the Cowboys in it for 20 minutes but then it all fell apart in the second half.

It was a gradual fade too. OSU hung around with enough defense to make you think they had a Page three, JPO dunk, Markel steal, Marshall three point play type run in them to make it close. Instead, Texas A&M outscored them 30-7 to close the game and hold serve on their floor against a South opponent.

For OSU it’s hard to give up 28 points on 18 turnovers on the road against a solid, hard-rebounding team like the Aggies and get a win. It’s harder to go 5-23 in the second half against anybody and get a win. And if you only score 4 points in the last 10:29 you probably aren’t going to beat your school’s women’s squad.

You could see it coming too. The first half was an odd amalgamation of wild threes and A&M turnovers that allowed OSU to smoke and mirrors their way to a 4-point halftime deficit. JPO never really got going (actually he never even really got started) and nobody else could find any kind of offensive rhythm. It’s going to be difficult to win any road games when JPO fouls out and only scores one point.

I don’t know what Marshall was doing either. It’s like he turned into Curly Neal with all the crazy dribbling on the block down low. I saw him dribble more tonight than I need to see the entire rest of the year.

Ford keeps this team in games it has no business being in. The problems come when OSU can’t get into an offensive flow but, thankfully, Ford coaches in a way that they don’t let anyone else get into one either. He mixed up the midcourt traps and subbed at the right times. It’s good to see him go to the bench early because it (usually) means OSU is running and trapping and flying around and guys need breathers. It wasn’t really his fault nobody could get any offense going tonight.

A&M reminds me of a Boston College or Temple team (and not just because they all have the same colors): you don’t really know anybody who plays for them but nobody can seem to beat them either and they never get blown out. They’re going to perform well in conference. I see no reason why they can’t go 7-1 at home and steal 3 or 4 on the road and maybe finish in the 3-4 spot heading to Kansas City for the Big XII Tournament.

What did we learn?
The easy answer is that this team is really young. The correct answer is that it’s going to be hard to play to your offensive strengths, like running and feeding Moses, when teams slow it way down against you and double and triple-team #33. These should be the games when Pilgrim absolutely shines but his emotional fluctuations are so pronounced even DeMarcus Cousins thinks he’s crazy.

My notes:

  • I love feeding Moses early, the angles and spin he has around the rim are outstanding. Seriously, watch the way the ball bounces around the rim next time he shoots. He had a couple of free throws that hit the rim like 19 times and the backboard twice. That’s the sign of a soft touch. Well, I guess the real sign of a soft touch would be if he swished his free throws, but you know what I’m saying.
  • Sidorakis carries the ball like Marshall travels with it — every time.
  • Is A&M trying to get their midcourt logo seen from space? Does it look bigger this year or is it just me? I think it’s bigger than their football field logo.
  • Running Moses on the high screen is awesome because it gets Penn into space like Eaton used to do but then it’s like he has no clue what to do with it.
  • I don’t need Nathan Walkup swatting his chest like Durant after he hits a three.
  • Penn’s three point shot is strange, why does he look like Sergio scissor-kicking at Medinah during every one he takes?
  • It was really nice to see the refs just let teams play instead of making themselves the center of attention.
  • Pilgrim is so lazy. There’s a difference between making stupid mental mistakes (like Markel and Penn do) and being physically and mentally negligent. Maybe that’s why he played 2 minutes in the first half.
  • I loved the three-two midcourt trap but didn’t love seeing Marshall at almost the halfcourt line trying to execute it. Teams with subpar guards are going to struggle against this defense. Kansas might score 130 but I’ll take that if it gets OSU a win or two they don’t deserve.
  • When did A&M get female cheerleaders? I thought male cheerleaders was their thing? Not something I’d be proud of, but still their thing.
  • Middleton has a sweet shot. I guess you have to to average 15 pts. a game on 9 shots.
  • Markel has some Desmond in him. And I don’t say that lightly (trust me). I remember being at James’ first game at Gallagher-Iba thinking about how nobody had made me that excited since Desmond. I feel the same way about Markel.
  • Does Reid Gettys breathe when he talks? He must have been the king of run-on sentences in school.
  • Found out tonight LaceDarius is the 5th player in the Big XII to score 2,000 points, and…wait for it…the first to get suspended in multiple seasons for physically injuring women.
  • Reger Dowel makes some solid passes. We haven’t seen enough of him to know whether or not he can be a quality backup for Penn (although I guess it could be argued that we haven’t seen enough of Penn to know whether he can be a quality starter) but it’s good to see Ford giving him the chance to do so.
  • OSU makes so many turnovers on entry passes. It really shouldn’t be that difficult.
  • Somebody tell Reid Gettys you don’t pronounce the ‘p’ in coup. It’s a “re-crew-ting coo” not a “re-crew-ting coop.”

Next game: Saturday at Colorado

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