Tigers unable to slow down Aggie attack in 84-69 loss

Rosburg: “They just had guys step up. I think that’s a Final Four team, to be honest.”

The fans of the Missouri men’s basketball team did not have the opportunity to storm the court Saturday. In fact, they were rarely afforded a chance to cheer as they watched their Tigers get blown away by No. 21 Texas A&M (22-7, 11-5 SEC) 84-69 despite a promising opening performance.

Missouri (10-19, 3-13 SEC) started the game hot, opening the Southeastern Conference’s top defense up for 20 points in the opening 10 minutes. The Tigers actually held a short lived 17-14 lead eight minutes into the game.

The lead seemed to wake the bear that is Texas A&M. The Aggies switched into a zone, discontinuing any paths Missouri had previously found to the basket.

Still, the Tigers kept charging to the basket in vain. After two missed layups and one missed three by freshman guard K.J. Walton, Missouri found itself on the wrong end of an 11-0 run and down 38-27.

After that, the Tigers found themselves in an offensive quagmire. They only managed six points in the final four minutes of the half and headed into the locker room down 50-33.

In the second half, it was more of the same.

The Aggies’ bench, which outscored the Mizzou bench 19-3 in the first half, picked up right where they left off and turned in 20 second half points. Freshman guard Admon Gilder did not miss a shot coming off the bench for the Aggies, going 4-for-4 in the second half for 10 points.

“That’s a good basketball team,” coach Kim Anderson said. “Their bench versus our bench did not match up very well tonight.”

Even as A&M maintained its stranglehold on the scoreboard, sophomore guard Tramaine Isabell refused to let Missouri go quietly into the night.

Isabell, who picked up his first start in the loss, scored 17 points while handing out five assists to his teammates.

“I feel like my teammates have been telling me that they have confidence in me,” Isabell said. “That allows me to go out there and not think too much.”

Despite Isabell’s best efforts, the Aggies proved too much for Missouri’s lackadaisical defense.

Senior guard Jalen Jones dropped 20 points, matching his performance from earlier this season against the Tigers.

“He’s a stud,” senior center Ryan Rosburg said. “He could go off at any time. He’s a great player and made some tough shots.”

A&M was also able to use freshman center Tyler Davis, who did not start against Missouri in their previous matchup due to a leg injury. Davis proved to be a force in the post, scoring eight points while also grabbing seven rebounds.

“Just physically, Davis is such a big guy,” Anderson said. “He takes up a lot of space.”

With the loss, Missouri secured at least a partial share of the bottom spot in the SEC. Meanwhile, the Aggies sit atop the conference with two games to go.

Missouri will travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday to take on Ben Simmons and the LSU Tigers. The game can be found on the SEC Network and will tip off at 8 p.m.

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