Texas A&M forced Missouri to play their brand of basketball tonight, and it allowed the Aggies to defeat their former Big 12 foes 82-64.
Entering this game as one of the top rebounding and free throw shooting teams in the country, Texas A&M played to those strengths. The Aggies out-rebounded Missouri 42-to-25 and shot 24-for-32 from the free throw line.
The Tigers, on the other hand, rarely found much success in transition and shot 7-for-31 from behind the arc. Open shots that seemed routine for Missouri this season did not fall on Wednesday.
After playing about as rough of a first half as the Tigers have played all season long, Missouri trailed 46-25 after a Wade Taylor IV three-pointer to open the second half.
Then, the visiting team flipped the game on its head.
The Tigers (13-3, 2-2) forced Texas A&M into eleven turnovers over the next 9:24 and, after shooting 10 percent from three-point land in the opening half, they made some timely triples to mount a rally.
While the Aggies looked lost on offense, D’Moi Hodge, Nick Honor and Sean East II led the Tigers on a 21-4 in the second half. Hodge hit his first two three-pointers of the night, while Honor and East II’s full-court pressure defense stumped Texas A&M’s guards. The momentum clearly swung in Missouri’s favor, and Reed Arena was stunned.
From there, the Tigers seemed to run out of gas. The Aggies mounted a 12-0 run over a 2:51 period, largely created by Taylor IV.
After A&M’s leading scorer went 0-for-3 from the floor in the first half, Taylor IV scored 14 points in the second. He additionally made plenty of plays on the defensive end to give his team a 65-49 lead with 5:44 remaining.
The Aggies (11-5, 3-0) closed out the game from the free throw line, handing Missouri its second SEC road loss.
Kobe Brown scored ten of Missouri’s first 14 points, giving them a one-point lead at the 12:24 mark of the first half. After that, the Aggies dominated the rest of the opening period.
Texas A&M beat Missouri at their own game while exposing their biggest weakness in the first half. Tyrece Redford pushed the pace in the open floor, and the Aggies dominated the glass.
Hayden Hefner, after scoring a career-high 17-points against the Tigers last season, also added in twelve first half points. His outside shooting kept the Missouri defense stretched out, and Texas A&M took advantage of that. They out-rebounded the visitors 24-to-12 in the first half and secured eight offensive rebounds. TAMU converted those into ten second-chance points.
All of those factors allowed the Aggies to go on a 21-2 run until the under four minute media timeout. The Tigers managed to get to the free throw line down the stretch, but they still trailed 43-25 at the half.
The rebounding struggles may have been expected, but the shooting woes were not. Missouri shot 1-for-10 from three-point land in the first half, something they could not afford to do on the road. The team as a whole could not manufacture many open looks in the first half, and the ones that they did create rarely resulted in a made basket.
The Tigers will complete their two-game road trip in Gainesville on Saturday, when they take on Florida (9-7) at 2:30 p.m. CST. The game can be seen on the SEC Network.