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LSU, Texas A&M open SEC play looking for progress

lsu,-texas-a&m-open-sec-play-looking-for-progress

LSU and Texas A&M have been preparing for SEC play for two months.

After completing their 13-game nonconference schedules, the Tigers (8-5) and the Aggies (9-4) meet in their conference opener Saturday night in College Station, Texas.

“It’s been a lot over the last eight weeks,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “It feels like a season in itself, to be honest. I think a lot of the lessons that we’ve learned will apply over the next 10 weeks of conference play.

“I think the key will be not forgetting those lessons and execute them over the next 10 weeks. I think that will depend upon the maturity of our group, and we have a mature group of really good people.”

The Aggies, who lead the nation in offensive rebounding (18.7 per game), had a season-high 29 offensive boards among their season-high 63 total in their nonconference finale, a 79-54 rout of Prairie View A&M on Dec. 30.

Three of the Aggies’ four losses have come against teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25 — Florida Atlantic, Memphis and Houston.

For LSU, Jordan Wright and Jalen Cook average over 14 points per game. Wright averages 4.8 rebounds, third on the squad to Jalen Reed at 5.3 and Will Baker at 5.2.

LSU has played one ranked team, losing to then-No. 19 Texas 96-85, but head coach Matt McMahon said he’s encouraged that the Tigers outscored the Longhorns 48-40 in the second half and then defeated Lamar (87-66) and Northwestern State (96-55) in their last two nonconference games.

“I think we have made great progress in the last two and a half games,” McMahon said. “Our assist-to-turnover ratio has been a major problem for us all season long, and there has been a lot of improvement in that area …

“As the competition level rises (in the SEC), it needs to continue to be an area of improvement for us. Our 3-point defense had been really poor through the first 11 games, but improvements have been made. Our defensive rebounding has been atrocious early in the season, and we have also been making improvements there.”

Wade Taylor IV leads Texas A&M in points (17.6) and assists (4.5) per game.

–Field Level Media

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