NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Texas A&M wanted to play a deliberate style of basketball on Thursday, in hopes of grinding out possessions on both offense and defense. But it didnt take the Aggies long to see that Missouri is perfectly able and willing to slug it out with them.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
The Tigers, who never trailed through the first 20 minutes, led the Aggies 28-19 at halftime of their second-round Southeastern Conference Tournament game at Bridgestone Arena.
And make no mistake about it, Missouri has done it with defense. The Tigers - who suffered a devastating 70-68 road loss to the Aggies on Feb. 7 - matched their opponents physicality and seemed well prepared for a plodding offensive style, as they regularly challenged shots and played sound defense on the way to holding Texas A&M to six-for-27 shooting (22.2 percent) from the field.
Missouri, on the other hand, had much more success on offense, shooting 11 for 22 (50 percent) from the field. But the Tigers failed to build on the lead, largely because of foul trouble - senior forward Laurence Bowers and Alex Oriakhi both sat for large chunks of the half with two fouls apiece - but also because of seven turnovers.
Aside from that, however, the sixth-seeded Tigers are winning the statistical battle over the 11th-seeded Aggies. Missouri is outrebounding Texas A&M 21-13 and is dominating in assists (7-2) and points in the paint (14-2).
Missouri enters with a 22-9 record, while A&M is 18-14.
To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.