The Cowboys will be getting back senior guard Jeffery Carroll from suspension. Carroll, who was a preseason All-Big 12 selection had been suspended the first three games of the season while the university is under FBI investigation for bribery, which led to the arrest of former associate head coach Lamont Evans.
The Cowboys could have used Carroll’s 17 points and 6.6 rebounds (16-17 stats) in the first three games, but his suspension didn’t put too much of a damper on the success of the Cowboys first three wins which resulted in blowouts. Even with all the controversy currently surrounding the program, Boynton should feel great about where his team is currently at so far this season.
Guards Kendall Smith and Brandon Averette have picked up the slack for Carrol during his absence. The two guards are averaging a combined 24.7 points a game this year. The Cowboys guard-play has been outstanding so far this season, and the return of Carroll will make it that much more dangerous for opposing teams.
Carroll returns just in time to take on the 16th ranked Texas A&M Aggies tonight in Brooklyn. The Aggies will also be getting back an important piece of their team. Potential lottery pick and star forward Robert Williams, makes his season debut tonight after being suspended the first two games for violating university rules. The 6’10” sophomore is a force on both ends of the court. Williams averaged 11.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game as a freshman.
Both teams have been fighting through their fair share of adversity so far this season, but both programs should be in good spirits with the way other players have stepped up when the big names are out. Aggies junior forward DJ Hogg has stepped up tremendously so far. Hogg averaged a little over 12 points last season but has looked highly improved averaging 21 points a contest so far. Look for that number to decrease once Williams’ steps back on the hardwood, but Aggies fans should be very optimistic about the potential of this A&M team. After all, The Aggies did pull out one of the biggest upsets so far this season, when they beat then-No. 11 West Virginia 88-65.
Keys to Victory
Get Big: The Cowboys will need to play big in the paint and focus on crashing the boards. The Aggies have seven players 6’9” or bigger within the rotation compared to the Cowboys three. The Cowboys numbers on the defensive side of the ball look good for the first three games, but they have yet to be tested. The Aggies managed 88 points against the West Virginia press. It could be a long game for the Cowboys if they allow the Aggies to body them.
Stay Home: Like most games, the defense will be a huge factor here. The Aggies are averaging 86.0 PPG in their first two contests. Again, 88 of their points came against the Mountaineers press. Boynton wants his Cowboys to be “defense first” when it comes to game planning. We will see how important that philosophy is to this team tonight.
Ease Carroll Back in: The Cowboys have three games under their belt as a team, but Carroll hasn’t seen action since March. Boynton needs to allow Carroll to get his feet back underneath him before any pressure is placed. Carroll is a basketball player and has been doing this his whole life. There’s no reason he can’t just come in and get back to form right away. Boynton may need a big debut from Carroll in order to pull out a victory here, but don’t get away from what’s been working so far this season, and that’s a full team effort.
Tip-off is at 6pm. ESPN2