Credit to Brad Marquardt | Assistant Athletics Director for Athletics Communications – 12thman.com
BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M men’s basketball team took down its second top 10 team with a wire-to-wire 85-69 win over the No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers in front of a breathless above capacity crowd of 12,995 on Saturday at Reed Arena. The Aggies took control of the contest early and held a double-digit for the final 29 minutes of the game.
The victory was the Aggies’ fifth over a Quadrant 1 team in nine tries this season and its second over the No. 6 team in the Associated Press Top 25. Texas A&M also knocked off the then-No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats on Jan. 13 at Reed Arena. It was the fourth top six win of Buzz Williams’ career in Aggieland, more than any other coach in school history. The Aggies improved to 15-8 overall and 6-4 against league foes, while the Volunteers fell to 17-6 and 7-3.
There were heroes up and down the lineup for the Aggies, but none bigger than the dynamic guard tandem of graduate Tyrece Radford and junior Wade Taylor IV and Sixth-Man of the Year candidate Andersson Garcia. Radford and Taylor combined for 52 points, including seven 3-pointers, while the “Dominican Rodman” controlled the glass with 17 rebounds, including nine offensive boards.
Radford poured in a game-high 27 points while hitting 9-of-17 field goal attempts and 7-of-9 from the free throw line, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out five assists. Taylor scored 25 points on 8-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-11 from the arc, while distributing seven assists. Sophomore Solomon Washington chipped in 11 points and pulled down seven rebounds and blocked a trio of shots.
For the game, the Aggies shot 46.7% from the field and 39.3% from deep, marking their best single game performances in both categories in SEC play. Texas A&M also made 25 trips to the charity stripe and converted 72.0% of their free throw tries.
With Garcia leading the way, the Aggies won the rebounding battle with 43 rebounds to the Volunteers’ 35 boards and built a 14-12 advantage in offensive rebounds. The Aggies’ rebounding prowess led to 15 second-chance points. Texas A&M suffered only 10 turnovers, marking the eighth straight game the team has had 10 or fewer give-aways.
To open the game, the Aggies came out on a roll as they grabbed an early lead and were able to build it to double digits just over 10 minutes into the first stanza. The Maroon & White kept the heat on the Vols, as they maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the first half that was as big as 14 points at various points. Four Aggies connected on 3-point bombs, including five from Taylor. Texas A&M forced five turnovers and controlled the glass with 22 rebounds, including seven off the offensive glass.
Junior Guard Wade Taylor IV
On being aggressive…
“We always talk about throwing the first punch and I think we did that tonight in both halves. We were aggressive the whole game and I think that kind of overwhelmed them towards the end.”
On the fans and atmosphere inside Reed Arena…
“We can’t thank them enough. I think they really helped us tonight. It was loud in there. We saw them pregame showing their spirit with the white out. We can’t thank them enough for coming out to support us. We’re out there playing for them. We feed off of them and hopefully they notice that.
Graduate Guard Tyrece Radford
On everyone doing their part to win…
“I think this is a big win for our resume. I think they were number five or six in the nation, which is really good. All credit to the coaches and the coaching staff and my teammates for doing their jobs and being ready. It’s not just a one-man effort.”
Senior Forward Andersson Garcia
On his teammates…
“I’m not really trying to play for rebounds. I just try to tell my teammates to do their job so that I can do mine. I can not do it without my teammates, so I give credit to them.”
Head Coach Buzz Williams
On making adjustments offensively and defensively…
“Offensively we made some unique adjustments that we’ve never done. And defensively we did the same. So much attention went to three [Dalton Knecht] and rightfully so, but those other guys, if they play without three, they’re more than good enough to beat us. So, we had to make unique adjustments that our staff was spot on with. Our guys absorbed it, and as the game was going those adjustments were helpful. Then we began to expand on it because the players were picking up on some of it. Any time that’s happening I think that’s a sign of great growth for your group.”
On Andersson Garcia’s impactful rebounding…
“He’s [Garcia} the Dominican Dennis Rodman. I’ve said it before. I wrote to him today on my game day note – ‘I will never take for granted the opportunity of a lifetime to coach you.’ I’ll never take it for granted. What he does has nothing to do with who his head coach is. And not to take away the importance of rebounding that our staff preaches. What he’s doing has nothing to do with what we’re talking about when it comes to rebounding. The reason why our defense is doing better is because we’re finishing the possession with a rebound – Andy’s rebound. And the reason why our offense has a chance is because we are doing a better job of shooting predictable shots and then we get an offensive rebound – Andy. And then we can manipulate the game pace wise. Nine times tonight we shot it and missed it and he got it. If he doesn’t get nine our team only gets five, and then we don’t win the game. I think he leads the SEC in rebounding, leads the nation in offensive rebounding. I don’t want to take any of it for granted.”
THREE IN A ROW: Tyrece Radford racked up a game-high 27 points to record his third game in a row with over 20 points. This is the first time in his career he has put together three straight games with 20 or more points and in the three games combined he is averaging 25 points per game. The Aggies are now 12-1 in games Radford hits the 20-point plateau.
GO-GET GARCIA: Andersson Garcia compiled 17 rebounds, nine on the offensive glass and eight defensive, to record back-to-back games with 15 or more boards. Garcia is now averaging 10.0 rebounds in conference play and leads the conference.
ELITE COMPANY: Henry Coleman III stole the ball from the Vols to mark his 100th steal in the Maroon & White. Coleman is the sixth Aggie ever to have recorded 100 steals while also having 500 rebounds.
RANKED WINS: Texas A&M has now won five-straight against ranked opponents in Reed Arena, three of those opponents were top-10. The last time the Aggies lost to a ranked opponent at home was against No. 12 Kentucky January 19, 2022.
TALKIN’ TENNESSEE: The Aggies held the Volunteers to 69 points which is the second-fewest scored by Tennessee in conference play. On average, the Vols have scored 81.7 points a game while holding their opponents to 72.7 against SEC opponents. The Maroon & White’s 85 points was the fourth most points Tennessee has allowed all season.