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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies surrender home loss to Oklahoma

If poster dunks counted for anything more than five points, Antoine Wright and the Texas A&M men’s basketball team (13-12, 5-9) would have walked out of Reed Arena on Saturday with a victory over the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners (20-5, 11-3). However, OU used the outside sharp shooting and tenacious defense of senior guard Hollis Price to ring in a 69-64 victory in front of 9,148 Aggies.
A&M boasted a home record of 9-3 going into Saturday’s contest, and Sooner Head Coach Kelvin Sampson said he couldn’t be happier about his team’s ability to overcome Aggies at home.
“The only teams that have beaten them here are the best teams in the conference,” he said. “This year is the best the Big 12 has ever been. For us to go 5-3 on the road this year, I’m very proud.”
Despite a career game from A&M junior forward Tomas Ress, the Aggies found themselves in the midst of a 0-3 slide for the first time this season. Ress snared six boards and tied his career high for points (11) and blocks (4) as he swatted away anything within reach. Aggie Head Coach Melvin Watkins beamed with pride following the five-point loss as he discussed the consistent play of Ress.
“Tomas has been one of our steadiest players,” he said. “He’s not getting enough credit. He’s been playing a lot more minutes than we thought he would.”
With Ress controlling the inside, OU looked to its perimeter players to put points on the board. Price and his Sooner teammates must have been inspired, as they were coming off their worst shooting performance of the year. OU rebounded from a 27 percent outing against Missouri to scorch the Reed Arena nets with 49 percent shooting overall, and 53 percent from downtown.
Senior A&M guard Bernard King said he met his match on Saturday with the assignment of guarding Price, who hit four out of five shots from behind the arc. Price slithered through the Aggie defense for 15 points in the first half, and 23 for the game.
“He’s pretty tough and he’s quick,” King said. “Once you rest on defense, he’s already shooting. I don’t think that we respected him as much as we should have and he scored all those points in the first half.”
King found a way to get his teammates involved as he dished out eight assists to go along with his 17 points, which shows why he is the only player in the country to average at least 17.0 points, 5.5 assists , and 4.3 rebounds per game.
Oklahoma’s Price said he is no stranger to King’s game, since the two played together in Amateur Athletic Union competition. Price said what King has been doing, and especially against the OU defense, was impressive to watch.
“This was my eighth time to play against Bernard,” Price said. “Going back AAU ball, he’s a good passer and he’s a good scorer. The whole team guarded him.”
In lieu of only connecting on 40.7 of its shots, A&M made the final stretch of the game interesting. Down by 17 at one point, the Aggies surged back with 2:59 remaining in regulation as junior guard Kevin Turner and King collaborated to hit three consecutive triples to pull A&M within nine. After that point, though, it became a free-throw contest as OU’s Sampson said he never thought the game was out of their hands.
“We were up 17 and if we make our free throws, they don’t come back,” Sampson said. “Give A&M credit. Those were some hellacious threes they were putting up.”
Saturday marked the first time the Aggies held their opponent below 70 points and failed to secure the win. With the OU loss behind them, A&M needs one more regular season win to lock up its first .500 season in nine years. The Aggies will have two more opportunities to secure a winning record as they face Baylor at home on Wednesday at 7 p.m., and then travel to face Oklahoma State University next Saturday in their season finale.

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