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Dec 9, 2023 3:48 am

No. 21 Texas A&M brings hot offense into matchup with Memphis

How does a team improve on near-perfect offense in a half?

No. 21 Texas A&M will try to provide a positive answer Sunday in College Station, Texas, when it opposes Memphis in a nonconference contest.

The Aggies (7-2) are coming off an 89-64 rout of one-win DePaul on Wednesday night, when they sank 11 3-pointers in the first half and raced to a 62-30 halftime lead. Texas A&M averaged an astounding 2.1 points per possession in the half, a combination of precise execution, elite shot-making and horrid defense.

As one college basketball pundit pointed out, Texas A&M could have literally run its offense against air, dunked on every possession and not been as efficient.

Simply put, it was a rare easy game for a team that has played a rugged nonconference schedule. Aggies coach Buzz Williams knows the Memphis game won’t be quite as easy but wants to challenge his squad.

“You have to have a roster that has experience and maturity to even embark on something like this,” he said. “It forces you to be as mature as you possibly can be every day because there’s not going to be escapability for minutes in a game.

“I do think that there are lessons that are learned in real time, not just in clips or words, it’s in actions. It makes you be where your feet are because you can get lost in the big scheme.”

Nothing was lost for the Aggies against DePaul. Illinois-Chicago transfer Jace Carter hit four 3-pointers and scored a team-high 14 points. Carter averaged 16.6 points per game last season for the Flames but has managed only 6.7 points per game so far for his new team. Wade Taylor IV leads Texas A&M at 18 points per game.

Meanwhile, the Tigers (6-2) are coming off an 85-80 overtime win at VCU on Wednesday, a result that could make a difference come March when it’s time to decide who gets an at-large bid and who doesn’t.

Memphis got 23 points and eight rebounds from St. John’s transfer David Jones, plus 20 points and six assists from former Alabama guard Jahvon Quinerly. Jones is averaging team highs in points (19 per game) and rebounds (6.5 per game), but he injured his left ankle at VCU and left the arena in a walking boot.

Tigers coach Penny Hardaway is concerned that his team has yet to build the necessary chemistry despite solid wins against programs such as Missouri, Michigan and then-No. 20 Arkansas.

“It’s just gonna take for them to say, ‘I’m sacrificing my points, you sacrifice your points, you sacrifice your points,'” he said. “And then, guess what? It’s going to all come together then. Right now, they’re all trying to go out there, rightfully so, feeling like, ‘I can go by my man and get to the basket.’ ”

Menphis forward Jordan Brown, a first-team All-Sun Belt Conference player last season after averaging 19.3 points and 8.6 rebounds at Louisiana, is contributing only 6.1 points and 3.9 boards through seven games for the Tigers. He didn’t play at VCU due to an illness, and his status for Sunday was uncertain.

–Field Level Media

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