It's been an up and down season for the Aggies, but it may be more frustrating for Josh Carter than…
Success for Carter equals success for Aggies
It's been the hot topic since back-to-back blowouts on the road to Texas Tech and Kansas State.
Well, look no further than No. 23, Josh Carter, who led the nation in three-point accuracy a year ago and is now No. 4 in that same category—on his own team.
As Carter goes, so go the Aggies. If he's hot, the Aggies are hot. Just look at last Wednesday's game against Baylor in Waco, when Carter was 6-of-9 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, scoring a game-high 17 points in just 27 minutes.
Then he disappeared in the season finale at home against Kansas, shooting just 1-of-11 from the field and 1-of-5 from behind the arc and finishing the game with just five total points.
"He hit shots against Baylor, probably our best win on the road this year in a tough environment, then he can't make a layup against Kansas," said A&M head coach Mark Turgeon. "He's pretty important and we need him to play well."
That's an understatement.
In A&M's eight conference victories, Carter has averaged 47.1 percent from the field and 45.7 percent from three point range. In the Aggies' eight conference losses, Carter's field goal percentage plummets to 29.1 percent while he shoots just 25.6 percent from behind the arc. He averaged three and a half more points per game in the Aggies' eight wins as well.
If only the 6-foot-9 junior was able to shoot at least 38 percent from the field and score 12 points or more in every game. Then the Aggies might be talking about a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament instead of trying to make sure they make the field of 65.
That's because those are the magic numbers for Carter and the Aggies this season. When he hits both of those plateaus, the Aggies are almost guaranteed victory.
When he shoots at least 38 percent from the field, the Aggies are 7-1 in Big 12 play this season. They're 5-2 when Carter scores 12 points or more. In games where he shoots 40 percent from the field and scores 12 points or more, A&M is 5-1.
On the flipside, when things go bad for Carter, they don't go much better for the Aggies.
Carter has shot less than 40 percent in eight of the Aggies' 16 Big 12 Conference games this year. In those eight game, A&M is just 1-7. When he scores 11 points or less, the Aggies are 3-6.
But the answer is not to just get the ball to Carter and chuck up shot after shot. In fact, when Carter attempts more than nine shots, the Aggies are 2-6.
What most people probably don't realize, is this isn't a new phenomena. While most fans remember Acie Law as "Captain Clutch" last season, Carter had just as big of an impact on the final outcome on several occasions for the Aggies.
In A&M's seven losses last season (including postseason play), Carter shot just 37.5 percent from the field, and 38.5 percent from three-point range. But in the 27 wins a year ago, Carter's field goal percentage exploded to 51.3 percent and his accuracy from behind the arc was even higher at 52.1 percent.
His scoring average was even more dramatic last season as well. In the Aggies' 27 wins, Carter was averaging more than 13 points per game, but that dropped to 7.1 points per game in A&M's seven losses.
He scored seven points or less in four of the Aggies' five regular season losses. The only loss in which he hit the double-digit mark was in the three-overtime loss to Texas in Austin.
So what's the difference between this year and last year?
Perhaps it's that Captain Clutch is no longer around to pick up the slack when Carter struggles. Perhaps it's that Carter isn't getting as many open looks. Perhaps it's the fact that Carter is now averaging more than two extra shots per game than he was a year ago.
Whatever the difference is, Turgeon and the Aggies are hoping that Carter can get hot as postseason play begins on Thursday.
Game-by-game Analysis of Carter's performance
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