COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Dru Smith scored 15 points and No. 17 Missouri shook off rust from an 11-day layoff due to COVID-19 protocols to beat Texas A&M 68-52 on Saturday.
Jeremiah Tilmon added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (8-2, 2-2 SEC).
Andre Gordon paced the Aggies (7-5, 2-4) with 19 points.
The Tigers led 27-24 at the half and used a 21-5 run midway through the second half to take control of the game.
After trailing for the majority of the first half, Missouri mounted a 12-2 run to close out the half and held the Aggies scoreless for the final four minutes. In that run, Texas A&M went 0-for-11 from the field.
The Tigers truly found their form in the second, piecing together a 21-5 run through the middle of the second half to add cushion to the halftime lead. Seven of Pickett's 12 points came during the game-sealing run.
Texas A&M Men's Basketball Postgame Notes & Quotes
Missouri 68, Texas A&M 52
Reed Arena (Bryan-College Station, Texas)
RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
- Texas A&M fell to Missouri, 68-52, Saturday afternoon inside Reed Arena.
- The Aggies maintain the series lead, 21-19.
- Andre Gordon led the Aggies in scoring with a career-high 19 points, which included shooting 3-of-3 from beyond the arc. Gordon matched his season highs in 3-pointers (3) and steals (2).
- Jay Jay Chandler reached double-digits for the fourth time this season with 11 points.
- Emanuel Miller grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
- Luke McGhee matched his season high in rebounds with two, which he previously set at Mississippi State.
- Kevin Marfo grabbed five rebounds, bringing his career total to 700 (Quinnipiac & Texas A&M combined).
- Buzz Williams is 23-19 in his career at Texas A&M and 276-174 in his 14 seasons as a head coach.
Texas A&M hits the road to take on Vanderbilt on January 20 for its first of a two-game road trip. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN2.
Texas A&M Quotes
Head Coach Buzz Williams
On Andre Gordon's recent offensive performances…
"I think that starting his fourth semester in college, I don't know that I would say 'Wow, he's about to be one of the best.' I'm not trying to say that in an arrogant way, but I think his production and his work each day has become much more consistent. He's become more confident as a result of that work. He's playing off of two feet as well as any ball-dominant guard can. I'm pretty sure he only had one turnover at Mississippi State and one today, so for a team that turns the ball over at a high rate, that is encouraging. I do think that he's approaching 'real player' level."
On the importance of getting a shot each possession…
"I think all players and all teams want to take and make as many shots close to the rim as they can. Whether that's a designed play or if that's off of dribble penetration, even getting a shot up might result in an offensive rebound or a foul leading to free throw attempts. Going into today, we were rated in the top 30 in the country in free throw attempts. That's a good number for us. We need a high percentage of our points coming from the free-throw line, but in order to get to the line you have to get a shot attempt up without turning the ball over."
On generating more offense…
"Our offense has to help our defense, and I think that's what gave us a chance at Mississippi State. I don't know field goal percentage wise that running different plays changes it. Obviously, it helps when we get shots from our post players. It's hard when you have perimeter players that don't score and take multiple shots. That's hard to overcome, and that's why our offense has to help our defense when it comes to things like turnover rate. Even if we just get a shot, that at least gives us a chance to get a foul call. It gives us a chance at an offensive rebound. As much as we need to score more points, a portion of what would help us be able to do that is if we could get more shots instead of turning the ball over."
Sophomore forward Jay Jay Chandler
On the team's energy in today's game…
"Missouri didn't really do too much to change up our game plan or anything like that. They just stayed consistent with their energy throughout the whole game. We had some lapses as a team where our energy wasn't where we needed it to be. We're going to have to come in next week and try to fix that, because we can't have lapses in energy if we want to win games throughout our conference schedule."
On finding confidence shooting the ball…
"Our game plan is to shoot the ball, and if we miss, we need to get the offensive rebound. If we're open, we need to shoot the ball and shoot it with confidence through the whole game. It shouldn't matter if we miss a few. We just try to flip that onto the defensive end, and use that same energy on the defensive end, but our energy just wasn't there throughout the whole game."
Sophomore guard Andre Gordon
On his career-high effort against Missouri…
"I'm just playing within the team right now. Their defense, when they're coming off of ball screens, they weren't helping that much. I was able to get my shot off, and I was able to hit two early threes in the game that helped me build more confidence down the stretch of the game. It was just about confidence, hitting open shots, and me being able to create plays for my teammates."
On A&M's overall performance today…
"We weren't as engaged as we usually are in practice. In the first half, we played well. We did well defensively and were able to rebound effectively. I think we were tied in rebounding at halftime. Then, in the second half, they outrebounded us and shot the ball more than we did. It's all about the little things for us. Little things really matter, and you can tell what went wrong after the game."
Head Coach Cuonzo Martin
On Javon Pickett's spark and important part of this team…
"Most cases, when it's a physical brand, that is up Javon's (Pickett) alley. We need him to be that type of guy. He is also the type that can go smaller in the four position. I thought Kobe (Brown) played an extraordinary game on both sides of the ball. Javon is a tough, hard-nosed guy that is a part of his brand. It was a physical one that had us starting with our boxing gloves on to eventually play some ball. But it was fun to be a part of. That is his style of Javon's game."
On Jeremiah Tilmon's performance today…
"It is no question that there were a lot of talented guys on the floor. But without a doubt the best player at a high level was him. I am happy for him with these last three games. I thought he has played well all season long. I am happy at the way he is playing in his poise, maturity and pace. The things he says in huddles makes you feel proud as a coach because he has made progress every year. You now are starting to see his hard work pay off. He is that guy, which there are not many in America better than him that can play on both sides of the ball and how efficiently he does it. He is not a guy that complains, he just gets the next ball off the glass to keep going."
On the second half performance….
"It was impressive. We're a team that shares the ball. We play together, doesn't matter who leads the team in scoring. They enjoy playing with one another and being around each other. They are all about the rights things and value the right ones. Collectively, they are looking to win basketball games, be together and have some fun."
On the key to guarding in a physical game…
"The thing that we always say is defending without fouling, which is easier said than done. The way the game is officiated and the hand-checking, could be a foul. They have guys like Emanuel (Miller) who is the driver, Savion (Flagg) who will get up and down and Quenton (Jackson) and Andre (Gordon) whom both make plays and put pressure on the defense. You might have to give up some pull-ups, but the SEC is high-level basketball. Everyone can play. You have to defend without fouling, but even more importantly, when a shot goes up you have to block out. Put bodies on everyone, even the guards who are physical and crash to the glass. In my opinion, this was Kobe's best game since he has been in a Mizzou uniform. He has the physical brand of going toe to toe and I thought he did a great job."
Junior guard Javon Pickett
On the physicality of the game…
"They told us all week that this was going to be a physical game. We all wanted to go out there and play. We knew that it was going to be gritty. That is what we called it in the locker room. We needed to go out there and focus to try and get the win."
On the multiple scoring runs…
"We've seen something like this happen once, so we stayed locked in and carried the energy. We weren't trying to get too hot or too low but stay steady and compete. We know that basketball is a game of runs, so we just competed."
On what was clicking…
"We were getting out of transitions and I felt like we were taking open baskets. Along with getting a steal and making stops. Jeremiah (Tilmon) was tremendous. He was clogging the paint on defense and was able to get offensive rebounds to finish it. He was doing everything which opened up the floor for us. We were cutting to the basket and getting those fast break opportunities which helped us out a lot."