Very few things went right for Tennessee basketball on Saturday night as Texas A&M ran the Vols out of College Station with a 85-69 route.
Tennessee was uncompetitive in the loss as the Aggies used red-hot shooting to gain an early lead before using strong defense to never let the Vols make a run.
Here’s three quick takeaways.
Texas A&M Starts Red-Hot From Perimeter
Texas A&M entered the matchup as the worst three-point shooting team in the SEC and one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country.
The Aggies made their first triple, than three of their first four triples and then seven of their first 10 three-point attempts before finally cooling off and missing their final four three-pointers of the first half.
But that red-hot three-point shooting start was good enough for Texas A&M to build a 14-point lead in the game’s first 13 minutes. When the Aggies shoot that well, anyone is going to be hard pressed to hang tight with them.
Tennessee’s real issue came when the Aggies stopped making perimeter jumpers and they were unable to make a run to close the first half, going into the locker room with the same 14-point deficit.
Texas A&M predictably cooled off from deep but still finished an extremely uncharacteristic 11-of-28 from deep against Tennessee. That was just the start of the Vols’ issues.
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Poor Offensive Performance
It’s easy to point to Texas A&M abnormally strong three-point shooting and say that “it just wasn’t Tennessee’s night.”
But the Vols biggest issue was their offensive issues. Tennessee started the game strong enough on that end of the court but struggled to find open looks as the first half progressed. As previously noted, Tennessee struggled to find its offense late in the first half when Texas A&M cooled off from deep.
That continued early in the second half when Tennessee found a way to get some defensive stops. In fact the Vols didn’t score until over four minutes into the second half and didn’t total 10 second half points until eight minutes into the second half.
Tennessee’s issues were two-fold. The Vols couldn’t get open looks at the basket. Texas A&M’s switching defense gave the Vols all sorts of issues and their guards struggled to get decent looks at the basket. Jonas Aidoo had a quiet game on the offensive end too totaling just six points while Tennessee made only 10-of-18 shots at the rim.
With Tennessee struggling to get open looks at the basket, they were going to have to shoot the ball well from the perimeter to have offensive success. That did not happen. The Vols made just eight-of-29 three-point attempts and two-of-18 besides Dalton Knecht.
Texas A&M Controls The Glass
While Texas A&M is a bad three-point shooting team, they’re an elite offensive rebounding team. So it wasn’t a surprise when the Aggies controlled the glass against a Tennessee team that struggled to rebound against Texas A&M earlier this week.
But it was still a major part of the game as Texas A&M grabbed 14 offensive rebounds and scored 15 second chance points.
The Aggies controlling the glass was part of the reason Tennessee never could make a significant run. Too many possessions where the Vols forced stops ended in Texas A&M rebounds and extended opportunities.
Texas A&M out-rebounded Tennessee 43-35 overall in the matchup.
Tennessee basketball heads back on the road on Wednesday night where they’ll face Arkansas at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. Tipoff is at 9 p.m. ET with ESPN2 broadcasting the game.