Man oh man: that was one ugly game. Not only did the Hogs cough the ball up 21 times, they also made just less than 40 percent of their field goal attempts (they actually had a better field-goal percentage than the Aggies) and only scored 2 points in overtime.
Actually, the first 23 minutes of the game were fairly enjoyable: After being down almost all of the first half, the Hogs used a 21-7 stretch to take a 10-point lead early in the second period. Then, with the Hogs leading 42-33 and visions of a giddy post-game post dancing in my head, came the mild mid-court melee that delayed the game for several minutes and resulted in the ejection of Marvell Waithe and a technical foul on Jeff Peterson, among other various penalties. The incident seemed to energize the Aggies, and the Hogs never really recovered their mojo, scoring only 20 more points.
On the plus side, Marshawn Powell looked pretty good - when he played. Unfortunately, he was energetic enough to get himself in early foul trouble. He eventually fouled out and was not much of a factor. And the defense was often outstanding - the Hogs had 12 steals and 10 blocked shots.
Overall, a frustrating afternoon: the Hogs had a victory over a Top 25 team there for the taking, and they couldn't close the deal. A win today would have been a nice shot in the arm for this program.
Still, let's keep things in perspective. This team has yet to take the floor with a fully healthy Powell, and he is clearly getting very close. Powell is their best player, and once he's in full gear, this team's offense will really start to take shape. And Delvon Johnson, Rotnei Clarke, Glenn Bryant, Julysses Nobles and Mardracus Wade continue to impress at times.
Hang on, everybody: There are reasons for hope.