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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Men drop tenth straight, 78-72

It wasn’t such a happy Valentine’s Day for the Texas A&M men’s basketball team on Saturday. The University of Oklahoma (16-5, 6-4 Big 12) gave the Aggies a 78-72 loss in place of the traditional flowers or candy hearts.
The Aggies (7-14, 0-10), who have now lost 10 straight games, had what could be considered their best outing in conference play this season on the floor. The team shot above their season averages in all three offensive categories and grabbed 25 rebounds. But a strong showing by the Sooners late in the second half kept the Aggies from capturing that precious first conference win.
Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson said the game was close, but the deciding factor was the Sooners’ focus in the last minutes of the game.
“Our guys just hung in there,” Sampson said. “Of all our wins this season, I was most proud of this one.”
The Sooners dictated much of the pace in the first half, shooting 50 percent from the field and hitting seven three-pointers. Oklahoma also capitalized on Aggie mistakes, scoring 15 points off 11 turnovers.
The Aggies started the second half in dismal fashion, going one-for-six in the first five minutes. The game turned around when A&M sophomore forward Antoine Wright made an enormous block on a shot by Sooner freshman guard Lawrence McKenzie. Wright finished the night five-for-six from the field.
The Aggies took their first lead of the game after a layup in heavy defensive traffic by senior forward Jesse King. A&M’s lead lasted until the final two minutes of the game, when Sooner freshman guard Drew Lavender drowned A&M’s hopes for a win with a long three-pointer.
Lavender, the smallest player on the court at five foot seven inches, had the biggest night by far. Lavender finished with a career-high 31 points, 18 of those coming from behind the three-point line. Lavender said the strong work ethic demanded by Sampson in practices carried over to the games.
“I just wanted to go out there and play hard for coach,” Lavender said. “My shots were just falling tonight and that’s all.”
A&M head coach Melvin Watkins said the closing minutes of all the games this season seem to be the toughest for the team. Watkins said mental mistakes and errors on A&M’s part have caused them to lose games in a similar fashion to the Oklahoma game.
“You give any team any sort of opportunity and they’re going to take it,” Watkins said.
Watkins said he is still pleased to see the team’s good attitude despite the 10-game losing streak and that he knows the team is playing to the best of its ability.
“They’re not quitting even though they have every reason to quit,” Watkins said. “It’s just those closing moments that are keeping us from getting over the hump and getting a win.”

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