Texas A&M Men’s Basketball Takes Down Florida

Credit to Brad Marquardt | Assistant Athletics Director for Athletics Communications – 12thman.com

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Graduate guard Tyrece Radford scored a season-high 26 points to rally the Texas A&M men’s basketball team past the Florida Gators for a hard-fought 67-66 victory in front of a breathless crowd of 11,793 on Saturday at Reed Arena. The back-and-fourth game included eight lead changes and three ties.

With their fifth straight win over the Gators, the Aggies improved to 13-8 overall and evened their SEC mark at 4-4. The win also snapped Florida’s four-game winning streak as the Gators fell to 15-7 and 5-4.

Radford, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, erupted for 15 first-half points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, as the Aggies fought back from a first-half deficit of 13 points. He added 11 points in the second stanza as he led the Aggies in scoring for the first time since he poured in 21 points against SMU on Nov. 14. He connected on 10-of-16 shots, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, and grabbed five rebounds in 38 minutes.

After drawing within six points at the break on Radford’s trey, Florida came out blazing in the second half and quickly built its lead to 12 points on a pair of 3-pointers to force a Texas A&M timeout. As has been their modus operandi throughout the first 20 games of the season, the Aggies continued to fight and drew within a possession on Andersson Garcia’s putback lay-in with just over 15 minutes remaining.

The resilient Maroon & White took its first lead since the first half when Wade Taylor IV buried a step-back 3-pointer with 8:44 remaining and built the lead to four points before the Gators roared back to regain the lead two minutes later. Both teams had chances to close out the game, but the Aggies took the lead for good at 67-66 on Radford’s bucket with :35 remaining after a UF shot clock violation. Down a single point with :19 seconds remaining, the Aggie defense forced a pair of misses before Solomon Washington’s rebound clinched the victory.

Joining Radford in double figures were Taylor IV with 15 points and Washington with 10. Garcia and Jace Carter led the team with six rebounds as the Aggies battled the strong-rebounding Gators to a 36-36 stalemate in total boards. The Aggies and Gators came into the game as the nation’s top two teams in offensive rebounds with Texas A&M grabbing 13 hard-fought offensive boards, while UF managed 11.

GAME NOTES:

BOOTS BUCKETS: Tyrece Radford led the team with 26 points. This is the first time he has led the team in points since SMU (11/14/23) and the first time that someone other than Wade Taylor IV has put up the most points since Auburn (1/9/24).

WELL ROUNDED: Solomon Washington tabbed his second double-digit game this season with 10 points to mark his third time scoring double-digit points this season, the fifth time in his career and first against an SEC opponent. While doing so, Washington tied his career-high in blocks with three.

COME BACK: Today’s win marked the third time this season that the Aggies have rallied from a deficit at halftime to win. The Aggies trailed the Gators by 13 points in the first half, but drew within six points at the break, 40-34, on Radford’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer. The Aggies have faced a deficit at the break 10 times in the first 21 games with successful rallies against Iowa State, LSU in Baton Rouge and Florida.

GAME OF INCHES: Texas A&M tied the all-time series record with Florida 9-9 and have won five straight against the Gators. The five victories have had a combined difference of 10 points and the Aggies have won by no more than three.

Postgame Quotes:

Head Coach Buzz Williams

On how rebounding impacted the game…

“I didn’t think we were very good in the first half. Boots [Radford] had zero offensive rebounds at half. Andy [Garcia] had zero. I think their [Florida] forwards had more offensive rebounds than our forwards had defensive rebounds. We were dramatically better on the glass in the second half, which helped us tremendously. We also did a better job at keeping them off the offensive glass in the second half. I think, in many respects, if you were to look at any category that would suggest what the difference in the game was it would be that.”

On the importance of free throws…

“We need to continue to spend time and make it a priority to make free throws. We’re first in free throw attempts and entering the day we were next to last in free throw percentage. So, statistically speaking, we need to accumulate as many free throws as we can, but hopefully we can increase the percentage. We want to be in the bonus first in both halves – that’s one of our goals. We got to the bonus in the second half much faster than the first.”

Graduate Guard Tyrece Radford

On the teams focus…

“We just stayed focused on the game – focused on winning and making winning plays. We kept our energy towards us, and when we do that we win. Everybody who played did what they were supposed to do.”

Sophomore Forward Solomon Washington

On finding a way to win…

“Our character just showed today. Even when things don’t go well, we always find a way to win. Buzz [Williams] has done that very well along the years. He always finds a way to win the game. He put the right people on the floor at the right time and we just got it done.”