The Rebels fell short of winning their third straight SEC game last night after losing a close game to Texas A&M. A back-and-forth game down the stretch ended with the Rebels on the wrong side of an 80-76 final score.
The Rebels had no answers for the Aggies duo in the paint, Robert Williams and Tyler Davis. The pair combined for 35 points and 19 rebounds in the winning effort for A&M. Davis and Williams took to the air on several occasions throwing down dunks that rocked the rim, and the Rebels hopes of victory. Their presence in the paint also opened up the floor for PG Adam Gilder. Gilder scored 22 points and chipped in seven assists and seven rebounds to go along with his career-high in scoring.
The Rebels were unable to match the Aggies’ size and strength throughout the game, and head coach Andy Kennedy spoke about that after the game.
“They’re bigger, faster, stronger obviously up front. It was a different level, and anytime we tried switching, they did some things late in the shot clock to get some point blank shots. The fight has to be earlier; you can’t let league caliber players get point-blank shots.”
Trailing by eight at the half, the Rebels were able to battle back during the second half despite trailing by as many as 11. Terence Davis’ 19 points, along with Sebastian Saiz’s 19 points and seven boards kept the Rebels within striking distance. Deandre Burnett scored 16 points, marking the second straight game that he’s finished below his season average as he makes his return from his ankle injury.
Cullen Neal scored just 6 points, but a 3-pointer with 1:47 remaining tied the game at 73-73. After fighting their way to a tie, a quick layup for A&M and a Burnett turnover put the Rebels back in a hole they couldn’t climb out of.
Despite shooting just under 50 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3, Kennedy knows his team has work to do if they hope to pull the upset over #5 Baylor on Saturday.
“Everybody in the room has a different view on this game and the Baylor game. Our view has never changed, we have to get better,” Kennedy said. “Plain and simple, from day one, I’ve told these guys that we have to get better. We are not talking big picture; we have got to get better. We have some injuries and the Rasheed situation, and we’re just trying to fill holes in our team. We are just trying to manage games as best we can and give ourselves a chance.”
As for Rasheed Brooks, who suffered a seizure during the Tennessee game, Kennedy told the gathered media that he had one more test to go, and that was the “final hurdle.” Brooks was in the locker room during the game, and according to Kennedy “his spirit was up.”
Now sitting at 12-8 overall and 3-5 in the SEC The Rebels will step outside of conference play as they will host the Baylor Bears on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Pavilion.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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