The Texas A&M men’s basketball team guaranteed itself of at least the No. 2 seed at the upcoming SEC Tournament with a 69-61 road win over the Ole Miss Rebels on Tuesday at the Pavilion at Ole Miss.
A steal and dunk by junior Andersson Garcia with just over a minute left effectively sealed the hotly contested battle that saw the Aggies overcome an early 12-point deficit and then hold off the free-wheeling Rebels down the stretch.
The Aggies tallied its 14th SEC victory of the year while improving to 22-8 overall and 14-3 in league play. It’s the first time Texas A&M has logged 14 SEC wins since joining the elite league in 2012-13 and the most conference wins since the 1979-80 Aggies won the Southwest Conference with a 14-2 record. The 14 wins match the third-most conference wins by any team in school history.
Leading the way for the Aggies were a trio of Aggies in double figures – graduate Tyrece Radford with 13, sophomore Wade Taylor IV with 12 and junior Julius Marble with 10. Senior Andre Gordon grabbed a career-high eight rebounds, while Radford chipped in seven boards.
Armed with a 34-28 halftime lead, the Aggies quickly pushed their advantage to 10 points three minutes into the second half. The Rebels, fueled by 3-pointers, pulled within two points just two minutes later before the Aggies began to pull away. Texas A&M led by as many as 11 in the second half and the closest the Rebels would come was four points in the final 12 minutes of the game.
The first half started poorly for the Aggies as Ole Miss came out on fire from the 3-point line, hitting four from deep in the first seven minutes while forging a 12-point advantage by the 13:07 mark. But the Aggies responded to the challenge with a 14-0 run with their bench providing the spark. The Maroon & White got points from reserves Hayden Hefner, Solomon Washington and Andersson Garcia combined with points from starters Radford and Henry Coleman III during the surge. Texas A&M continued to click offensively while the defense flexed its muscle for the remainder of the first half as the Aggies took a six-point advantage into halftime.
For the game, the Aggies received 25 points from its bench as Washington scored eight points, Garcia added seven and Hefner contributed six. Sophomore Manny Obaseki, seeing his first action since suffering a broken hand in the SEC opener vs. Florida on Jan. 4, scored four points in 11 minutes of action. The Aggies were without the services of graduate Dexter Dennis, who didn’t dress out due to a sprained left knee suffered in Saturday’s game vs. Mississippi State, according to head coach Buzz Williams.
Texas A&M Men’s Basketball Postgame Notes
#24 Texas A&M 69, Ole Miss 61
The Sandy and John Black Pavilion at Ole Miss (Oxford, Miss.)
RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
- Texas A&M defeated the Ole Miss Rebels, 69-61, Tuesday night at the Sandy and John Black Pavilion at Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss.
- The Aggies improve to 22-8 overall and 14-3 in Southeastern Conference action, tying the program record for conference wins in a season.
- The 14 conference wins are a first since the Aggies won the Southwest Conference title in 1976 and 1980.
- The Maroon & White move to 4-1 against Ole Miss in the Buzz Williams era with a 2-1 record against the Rebels in Oxford.
- With the victory, the Aggies increase the all-time series to 10-4 overall and 9-4 in SEC play.
- Three players finished in double figures for fifth straight game and the 14th time this season.
- The Aggies had a season low five turnovers, while forcing the Rebels to 18.
- The Texas A&M bench scored 25 points, with freshman Solomon Washington leading the way with eight.
- The Aggies recorded double-digit steals for the seventh time this season, after finishing with 11.
- The Maroon & White scored 36 points in the paint, while limiting Ole Miss to 14.
- Texas A&M used the starting lineup combination of Henry Coleman III, Andre Gordon, Julius Marble, Tyrece Radford and Wade Taylor IV for the first time this season (1-0).
- Matched his season high in steals with two.
- Finished with seven points and four rebounds.
- Hauled in a career-high eight rebounds.
- Led the team in rebounds for the first time this season and second of his career.
- Also scored four points and had an assist.
- Earned his sixth start of the season.
- Registered 10 points to tally double figures for the 15th time this season and the 23rd of his career.
- Collected five rebounds and had a block.
- Appeared in his first game since Jan. 4 after coming back from an injury.
- Scored four points and had a rebound and an assist.
- Led the team with 13 points, scoring double digit points in 10 of the last 12 games.
- Finished in double figures for 21st time this season and 79th of his career.
- Dished out four assists and grabbed seven rebounds.
- Matched his season high in steals with three.
Wade Taylor IV
- Finished with 12 points to record double figures for the seventh straight game.
- Tallied double digit points for the 23rd time this season and 39th time of his career.
- Dished out a team-high seven assists.
- Collected five rebounds and swiped three steals.
- Scored eight points and grabbed two rebounds.
- Also recorded a block and a steal.
Credit to 12thman.com