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Feb 6, 2024 4:58 pm

Texas A&M focuses on free throws vs. skidding Missouri

Wade Taylor IV

When Texas A&M defeated Missouri earlier this season, the Aggies outscored the Tigers 27-7 at the free-throw line.

Getting to the line — and converting — will be a major emphasis when the Aggies (13-8, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) visit the Tigers (8-14, 0-9) on Wednesday night in Columbia, Mo.

Texas A&M shot just 15 of 24 (62.5 percent) from the line in its most recent game, a 67-66 victory over Florida on Saturday.

“We need to continue to spend time and make it a priority to make free throws,” Aggies coach Buzz Williams said. “We’re first in free-throw attempts (in the SEC), and entering the day we were next-to-last in free-throw percentage.

“So, statistically speaking, we need to accumulate as many free throws as we can, but hopefully we can increase the percentage. We want to be in the bonus first in both halves — that’s one of our goals. We got to the bonus in the second half much faster than the first.”

The Aggies defeated the visiting Tigers 63-57 on Jan. 23. Wade Taylor IV had 19 points and six rebounds for Texas A&M, which shot 27-for-37 (73 percent) from the foul line.

Taylor leads Texas A&M with a 19.8-point scoring average and Tyrece Radford is at 13.8.

Missouri has lost 12 of its last 13 games, including nine in a row. Injuries and illness have taken a toll, with forwards Jesus Carralero Martin (foot contusion) and Trent Pierce (illness) joining guard Caleb Grill (wrist surgery) on the sideline.

“I think the biggest jump is making sure we stay confident, making sure we approach each game understanding that we have to do it connected,” Missouri coach Dennis Gates said. “And I’m proud of our guys for facing the adversity that they’ve faced because they do give their very best.

“But consistently, we have to know where our production is coming from. And when you’re dealing with a healthy team — and that’s what we’re getting closer to, a healthy team — we’ll then be able to lock in on some key guys being able to score.”

Missouri is paced by guards Sean East II (15.6 points per game) and Tamar Bates (13.9).

–Field Level Media

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