No. 5 Texas A&M went into Saturday’s matchup with Alabama missing two of its top three scorers.
It showed, as the unranked Crimson Tide took control early in the first half and never relinquished it in a 79-57 win over the Aggies. And they did it with Collin Sexton, a projected lottery pick, struggling from the field.
The Aggies took the floor Saturday minus leading scorer D.J. Hogg (14.6 ppg) and Admon Gilder (12.7 ppg), leaving them crippled on the wing. Gilder is expected to be sidelined into January with a knee injury while Hogg is serving a three-game suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
Texas A&M leaned on the strength of its frontcourt, primarily NBA power forward prospect Robert Williams (14 points, 7 rebounds) and center Tyler Davis (14 points, 6 rebounds). But their trademark defensive pressure wasn’t up to par as Alabama took advantage of their missing starters en route to shooting 45.6 percent from the field.
The Crimson Tide looked to its backcourt, led by John Petty with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Sexton, meanwhile made up for a 3-of-12 field goal performance at the line where he hit 9-of-10 free throws en route to 16 points.
It’s a tough loss, but not necessarily a bad one for the Aggies facing a quality SEC rival on the road without a pair of key players.
For the Crimson Tide, it’s a win that can help get their season back on track after an 8-4 start with a rough SEC slate ahead of them.
The two are slated for a rematch to close regular-season play on March 3 in College Station in a game that could come with bigger implications attached.