Texas A&M hopes for cleaner game vs. UT Rio Grande


Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams would rather his team not be so generous in this season of giving.

Heading into Sunday’s home matchup with the UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros in College Station, Texas, the Aggies are 2-0, but they have 39 turnovers. By comparison, they have only 32 assists.

In the wake of 20 turnovers in Texas A&M’s 73-66 win over Tarleton State on Wednesday, improvement in that area was a big topic of conversation.

“Our turnover rate was worse (on Wednesday) than it was on Sunday, so it’s significant,” Williams said, referring to an 82-53 win over New Orleans on Nov. 29.

“I think we had 73 possessions on Sunday with 19 turnovers, so that’s a 26 percent turnover rate … Giving a team the ball a quarter of the time is not a good sign,” he added.

In his first game of the season, the Aggies’ Emanuel Miller came off the bench for 23 points and 10 rebounds against Tarleton. Williams held the sophomore forward out of the lineup in the opener due to a muscle injury, although Miller wanted to play, the coach said.

“What he does best is he plays incredibly hard. When his body is not right, then what he does best is not what he does best. That’s why we shut him down. We didn’t have to. He was upset with me, but I think it was the right play, not only for (Sunday’s game) but in truth, I hope it was the right play long term,” Williams said.

Quenton Jackson is averaging 18 points per game for Texas A&M, and Savion Flagg is at 15 points and 10 rebounds per contest. Flagg averaged 10.4 points a season ago.

UT Rio Grande Valley (3-1) has won three straight games since losing its opener to Texas, 91-55. The Vaqueros, from the Western Athletic Conference, are going deep into their roster in the early season, with 11 players averaging in double digits in minutes played, while four are averaging 11 or more points.

Sean Rhea leads the way at 15.3 points per game, with Marek Nelson at 12 and Javon Levi and Quinton Johnson at 11 apiece. Malik Lawrence-Anderson is averaging eight rebounds per contest.

The Vaqueros are shooting only 39.4 percent from the floor and 29.5 percent on 3-pointers, but according to Levi, “When we move the ball and get wide-open shots, we can knock them down.”

The Aggies are hitting 40.4 percent from the floor, but they’re struggling from long range as well at 29.4 percent.

–Field Level Media

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