Texas A&M earns season sweep against Missouri
Rory Whetstone • 2/18/2023 in Basketball
Missouri (19-8, 7-7 Southeastern Conference) was unable to change the tide after their loss to Auburn, and fell to Texas A&M (20-7, 12-2 Southeastern Conference) by a score of 69-60 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday evening.
Missouri was led by Kobe Brown (24 points, 6 rebounds) and D’Moi Hodge (12 points), but the Tigers' offense struggled greatly as they shot a total 39.2% from the field. Meanwhile, Texas A&M shot 44% from the field and was led by Wade Taylor IV (21 points) and Dexter Dennis (17 points, 10 rebounds).
The loss resulted in Missouri's third loss at home, and their second loss to A&M this season. The Aggies have now won their last four games at Mizzou Arena.
It was Missouri’s second loss in a row, coming off a brutal 89-56 loss to Auburn where the Tigers' offense also struggled.
Continuing their dominance in SEC play, the Aggies grabbed their 12th win in 14 games. Texas A&M has never started better in conference play in program history and currently sits in second place behind Alabama.
Missouri didn’t see many of their shots fall tonight as they went 20-of-51 from the field and 9-of-26 from 3 point land. While the Tigers shot better in the second half, it wasn’t enough to push them toward victory.
Entering the game, the Tigers ranked 18th nationally in scoring offense (81.1 pts per game), but were held way below that line against the Aggies.
Another challenge for Missouri was at the free throw line. The Tigers were only able to convert 11 out of their 16 free throws, and those five points could’ve been a game-changer, especially because most of these missed free throws came in the final minutes.
The Tigers had spurts of offense with about nine minutes left in the second half when Hodge hit a 3 pointer and brought Missouri within eight points. Missed free throws, jumpers, and unnecessary fouls didn't allow the Tigers to get any closer.
Even though the Aggies came away with the win, they also didn’t have their best offensive performance.
While they saw standout performances from Taylor IV and Dennis, the rest of the team didn’t exactly match their level. Texas A&M went 22-of-50 from the field, and they were unable to knock down a field goal in the final five minutes.
Rebounds & Turnovers
Another issue for the Tigers was their inability to grab rebounds.
Missouri’s lack of height was once again visible, as they only had a total of 23 rebounds during the game. Meanwhile, the Aggies had 41 rebounds, showcasing the consistent rebounding difference in Missouri’s games this season. Brown and Mohammed Diarra had a combined 13 rebounds in the loss.
The lack of rebounds proved to be costly for Missouri as A&M had 12 second-chance points. The outcome of the game could’ve been completely different had the Tigers been able to grab just one or two more defensive rebounds.
A bright spot of the game for the Tigers was once again forcing turnovers.
Within the first 12 minutes the Tigers had forced 12 turnovers, and ultimately forced the Aggies to turn the ball over 21 times, leading to 15 points off of turnovers for Missouri.
While there weren’t many positives to take away from the game, Dennis Gates is still receiving the recognition that he deserves.
Gates was recently named to the Werner Ladder Naismith College Coach of the Year Late Season Watch List. He was one of 15 coaches named to the list, one of two from the SEC, and one of four first-year coaches at their school.
So far, Gates has led Missouri to 19 wins this season, the third-most by a first-year Tigers coach.
Coming into the season, many Missouri basketball fans were skeptical that Gates wasn’t a good hire, but he has continued to prove the doubters wrong.
In the Future
Missouri looks to change their momentum in their next game against Mississippi State at Mizzou Arena on Tuesday.
With five games left in the season, they look to turn it around and finish on a high note. However, it's unknown if one of their top players, Isiaih Mosley, will be back on the court for that game as he's been absent for the past three games due to personal matters.
However, guard Tre Gomillion has returned from injury and saw some minutes against Texas A&M.