AUSTIN, Texas - A&M dropped their third straight conference game of the season, and lost for the fifth time in their last six games. Despite what looks from the outside line a downward spiral, Billy Kennedy said that he thought the team competed better tonight than they have in recent weeks.
"I thought we competed the way you need to compete with our effort. Just thought we got in foul trouble a little bit, we fouled too much and put them on the line a lot. You have to give Texas credit, I thought (Julien) Lewis was a big key. I thought we did a good job on (J'Covan) Brown but they had somebody else step up.," he said.
Despite their defensive efforts though, the Aggies were outmatched by the Longhorns on both ends of the court. Perhaps the biggest key to the game was the the Aggies had seven second half turnovers compared to just three for the Longhorns.
"They're very good defensively," said Kennedy. "They play very hard, they're aggressive, I thought they were physical. Fortunately we were able to get to the line some, but I thought their big guys in the second half kind of wore us down. I thought we wore down a little bit. We don't have as much depth as they do."
A&M took a lead in the second half near the 11 minute mark at 35-34, but Texas ramped up the defense and from that point on the Longhorns outscored the Aggies 27-16. Kennedy said that the credit goes to the Longhorns, but that he had some players who made crucial mistakes.
"I thought defensively they definitely revved it up a little bit," he said. "We had some upperclassmen make some plays that they can't make. Thought the turnover that was for a layup for Harris and then Khris, he hit the nail on the head when he said he tried to force some things when it got revved up a bit instead of trusting our offense and trusting our teammates. That's part of him not being able to be in practice, and get the reps I think."
Some of those mistakes came at the free throw line where the Aggies shot a miserable 8 of 16, but that wasn't all. They also missed a number of easy shots near the basket. Kennedy didn't put that on fatigue or focus, saying that players just need to put in more work.
"I just think you have to make them," he said. "This is division one college basketball. It happens, I just think our guys have to work harder at it, spend more time in the gym shooting and that'll help. You have to make simple plays when you get opportunities to score."
Even with the better effort, there's no denying the fact that at this point the Aggies really haven't come close to winning a Big 12 game.
"I thought we got better in a lot of areas but we have a long ways to go to get where we need to get to win games in this conference," Kennedy admitted.
Only two other teams in the Big 12 are currently winless, and one of them comes to Reed Arena on Saturday. That would be Texas Tech and the Billy Gillispie led Red Raiders.