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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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For Texas A&M, it has been 24 days since the Aggies have played two solid halves of basketball — a significant amount of time considering the conference season is only 61 days long.

Game after game, new statistical problems arise, but the main issue remains the same: not playing a complete, well-rounded 40 minutes of ball. 

Yet again, A&M could not shake its losing streak, and on Tuesday, Feb. 8, LSU handed A&M its seventh-straight loss.

During this season’s previous matchup, an injured Tiger team topped the Aggies in Baton Rouge, La., without LSU senior guard Xavier Pinson or senior forward Darius Days. The stars recovered and returned for the second battle in College Station.

Before tipoff, the energy from the crowd and the team was there. However, A&M’s first possession consisted of a missed layup by sophomore guard Marcus Williams, which set the tone for the rest of the half.

As the slow start continued, the Aggies’ energy began to die out, but the crowd roared when sophomore guard Hayden Hefner entered the game. Hefner displayed a standout performance last week in a close one against Missouri.

Subsequently, A&M’s 7-0 run knotted the two teams at 11-all. That same run contributed to almost half of the Aggies’ points in the first half.

“Our energy and togetherness, fight, execution was poor by everybody,” coach Buzz Williams said. “We understand that it is a 40-minute game and [we] did not do well enough. You can’t score 16 points in one half.”

Coach Williams’ offense allowed for easy 3-pointers, which the Tigers exploited. Before the first half came to a close, LSU began to take control, shooting 70% from the arc and holding the Aggies to just 16 points.

Freshman guard Manny Obaseki decided to step up by ending an A&M seven-minute scoring drought with a layup in addition to the words of encouragement he spewed off the court.

“Manny came in and was unbelievable,” sophomore forward Henry Coleman III said. “He lifted everybody up, even though it doesn’t show on the stats.”

In the second half, the Aggies appeared less flustered, slowed down and ran the offense. A pair of 3-pointers from junior guard Tyrece ‘Boots’ Radford, a 3-pointer from freshman guard Wade Taylor IV and a steal and finish by fifth-year guard Quenton Jackson pumped life back into Reed Arena. To top it off, the Aggies caused six turnovers in a span of four minutes, contributing to the momentum and a much better half.

“We were as bad as you can be in the first half and arguably as good as you can be in the second half,” Buzz Williams said. “If you looked at the first half [against] the second half, it explains the story of the game.”

At the same time, LSU wasn’t backing down, and similar to A&M’s last couple losses, the Aggies couldn’t finish the job. Despite crunching the deficit down to eight and ending the half with a trio of 3-pointers, A&M’s attempts to put two halves together failed. The Aggies were defeated 76-68, extending their losing streak to seven.

“They were embarrassed after losing six in a row,” Buzz Willaims said. “We should be embarrassed prior to the jump ball.”

The Aggies will next take flight to Auburn, Ala., to take on the No. 1 Auburn Tigers. The College GameDay matchup is set to tipoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12.

“With the young team, I think we are gritty, hardworking and it will hopefully pay off,” Coleman said. “If we can play the way we played in the second half for the full 40, it will be a good game.”

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