By Adam Brown
Ole Miss men’s basketball welcomes the Texas A&M Aggies into the SJB Pavilion on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. and can be seen on SEC Network.
Ole Miss (13-15, 4-11 SEC) is coming off a 77-64 loss at No. 3 Auburn on Wednesday. The Rebels were led by Jarkel Joiner with 13 points.
Against the Tigers, Ole Miss nearly fought back even in the second half, but three first-half runs of at least 7-0 helped the Tigers separate.
Texas A&M enters Saturday at 17-11 overall and 6-9 in SEC play. The Aggies started off 4-0 in conference action and 14-2 overall, but since a Jan. 15 win at Missouri (67-64), Texas A&M has lost nine of its last 11 games — including eight in a row. The Aggies hold a NET ranking of 72, and hold notable non-conference wins over Butler (57-50), Notre Dame (73-67) and Oregon State (83-73), with Power-5 losses to Wisconsin (69-58) and TCU (69-64).
The Aggies possess a strong on-ball defense, ranking second in the SEC and top-10 in the NCAA in both steals per game (10.4, 5th) and turnovers forced (17.8, 17.8), helping Texas A&M to the SEC’s best turnover margin at +4.4 per game (No. 8 NCAA). Texas A&M also is strong on the offensive glass, ranking fourth in the SEC and 17th in the NCAA at 12.8 offensive rebounds per game.
Leading the way for the Aggies is Quenton Jackson, who has come off the bench in 25 of 28 games played. He leads Texas A&M with 14.1 points per game and an 85 percent clip from the free-throw line. Five Aggies have hit 25 or more threes this season, with Andre Gordon (7.9 PPG) leading with 37.
Saturday marks just the 13th all-time meeting between the Rebels and the Aggies, their 12th since Texas A&M joined the SEC in the 2012-13 season. Ole Miss and A&M first met at a neutral site matchup in Oklahoma City on Dec. 29, 1972, with the Aggies emerging victorious, 100-83. It wouldn’t be until A&M’s first season in the SEC that the two teams would meet again on Feb. 13, 2013, a narrow 69-67 loss in College Station. Ole Miss got its first win of the series in Oxford later that month on Feb. 27 to the tune of an 82-73 final score.