It took three games, but Acie Law finally shook out of his early-season slump.
Law and No. 12 Texas A&M look to complete an unbeaten run of three games in three days Sunday when they host Saint Louis in the final game of the Shelby Metcalf Classic.
After going 5 of 16 from the field in his first two games, Law made 8 of 10 shots and finished with 21 points Saturday as the Aggies (3-0) pulled away for a 75-59 victory over Louisiana Tech. For the senior guard—Texas A&M’s leading returning scorer after averaging 16.1 points last season—the urgency to play well had been building.
“My teammates have done a good job finding me, I just haven’t been producing,” Law said. “I haven’t really been practicing well and it has started transferring over into games. My teammates need me to produce and I have to become more assertive and try to get a bucket.”
Joseph Jones added 19 points, continuing his strong start. The 6-foot-9 junior center went 6-for-8 from the field and is 17-for-23 (73.9 percent) in Texas A&M’s three wins.
“That was a good win,” Aggies coach Billy Gillispie said. “It looked bleak there for a while but maybe that’s what we needed. I wasn’t really pleased with the offense. We didn’t drive enough and didn’t get the ball to the post enough. Joe (Jones) was really good tonight. I don’t think we got the ball to him enough.”
While the offense has been a work in progress, the Aggies’ defense appears to be on schedule. Texas A&M has stifled opponents, which have shot just 30.9 percent in the three games while averaging only 56 points.
“This team has a chance to be the best defensive team that we have had here but we are just not there yet,” Gillispie said. “These guys are playing hard and trying hard, we’re just not very good yet. We are doing fine for right now but we will always strive for more.
Saint Louis (3-0) reached the title game of the Classic undefeated with an 82-69 rout of Lamar on Saturday. Kevin Lisch scored a career-high 27 points and had five assists, while Ian Vouyakos added 14 points, nine rebounds and four blocks in just 17 minutes.
Like the Aggies, the Billikens have enjoyed early-season success thanks to a stout defense. They have allowed just 63 points per game while limiting foes to 36.2 percent shooting from the field. But Saint Louis’ perimeter defense may be suspect after allowing 17 3-pointers in two victories at College Station, Texas.
Lisch is 9-for-15 from 3-point range thus far and averaging 19 points, while fellow guard Tommie Liddell (14.7 ppg), Vouyakos (14.0) and Luke Meyer (11.3) all are contributing in double figures.
Saint Louis has lost eight straight games against Top 25 teams since a 72-61 victory March 11, 2004, over Memphis. The Billikens have also dropped 21 of their last 23 against ranked opponents since upsetting No. 1 Cincinnati on March 9, 2000.
The Billikens have won all four previous games between these schools, most recently a 72-60 win Dec. 27, 2000, at the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii.