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Without Aldridge (Again) Texas wins at home

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#7 Texas (19-3, 7-1) survived a second half Aggie (13-7, 3-6) run to win another Big 12 game, 83-70. Texas remains the Big 12 leader by one full game. The Horns have now won eleven of their last twelve games since dropping two straight in early December. The Aggies came close to another Big 12 victory but have now dropped six of their last eight.

The Horns played extremely well in the first half holding the Aggies to 40% shooting and just 25 points. The second half was a different story. While the game was never really in doubt, Texas surprisingly struggled on defense for the final twenty minutes. The Aggies managed to score 45 second half points on 54% shooting. Texas matched them with 45 points of their own.

As expected, the Horns dominated the glass, 36-19. Unfortunately, fifteen Texas turnovers negated that advantage. The Aggies actually ended up shooting ten more shots from the field than did the Horns. The game was also tightly officiated. Both teams combined for 66 free throw attempts. The constant whistles prevented a free flowing game. It was rare for even back to back possessions to be without a stoppage in play.

The Aggies are much deeper than Texas and early foul trouble on Lamarcus Aldridge and Brad Buckman hindered our ability to defend the post. For the second game in a row, Aldridge was the "Invisible Man." He played just 20 minutes scoring just five points on ½ shooting. Aldridge must learn to stay on his feet and defend with his arms straight up to avoid early foul trouble. Texas is simply not the same team without him on the floor. We were able to handle the Aggies at home but a more talented team will beat us if Aldridge is ineffective or not even on the floor.

Player of the Game honors go to Texas A&M's Joseph Jones (31 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals) and to Texas' PJ Tucker (25 points, 12 rebounds). Jones was a monster. Only Duke's JJ Redick has played better this season against the Horns. He was able to easily draw fouls on Aldridge and Buckman. When they sat, he simply dominated. Jones was able to score at will against both our man to man and our zone defense. The Aggie guards did an excellent job setting up easy buckets for Jones all game long. It seemed like all 22 points of his points from the floor were scored from inside the paint. Tucker was equally as effective for Texas. PJ is definitely mid season Big 12 Player of the Year. Anyone who votes otherwise hasn't been watching. Tucker consistently established low post position without at least one if not both feet in the lane. His soft jumper of the glass and sweeping right handed hook shot are almost unstoppable. Tucker's hands have even improved, if that is even possible. He gobbles up rebounds on both ends extending his 7'1" wingspan to grab balls most players wouldn't even attempt snagging.

Texas also got an excellent game from Kenton Paulino (19 points, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 0 turnovers). Daniel Gibson (13 points, 5 rebounds) and Brad Buckman (11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks) also played well. Our bench is two people: AJ Abrams and Mike Williams. Abrams was effective scoring 6 points in 19 minutes of play on two three pointers. Williams had two points and three boards in 18 minutes. JD Lewis and Connor Atchley both played two minutes before getting pulled for poor play. Neither player should be counted on this season.

The Horns have another quick turnaround. Their next game is on Monday night at Texas Tech 8 PM CST on ESPN Big Monday. The Horns dominated Tech in Austin but the Red Raiders always play better at home.

--AW--