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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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A losing game

Aggies losing streak stretches to five in loss to No. 18 Gamecocks

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  • Texas A&M guard Jace Carter (0) during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M guard Tyrece Radford (23) dribbles the ball during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M forward Solomon Washington (13) shoots the ball during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M forward Solomon Washington (13) shoots the ball during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M forward Solomon Washington (13) shoots the ball during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M guard Tyrece Radford (23) and South Carolina forward Collin Murray-Boyles (30) help up Texas A&M guard Wade Taylor IV (4) during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • South Carolina guard Ta’Lon Cooper (55) looses the ball during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • South Carolina guard Meechie Johnson (5) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M forward Solomon Washington (13) dribbles the ball up court during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • South Carolina forward Josh Gray (33) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M guard Manny Obaseki (35) celebrates during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M guard Tyrece Radford (23) reacts after a three point shot during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M guard Tyrece Radford (23) reacts after a foul during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M forward Solomon Washington (13) shoots the ball during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • South Carolina guard Zachary Davis (12) tries to grab a rebound during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • South Carolina guard Zachary Davis (12) reacts after a dunk during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • South Carolina guard Ta’Lon Cooper (55) falls during Texas A&M’s game against South Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

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When it rains, it pours.

For a team that just a few weeks ago was close to a lock for the NCAA tournament after beating No. 6 Tennessee, Texas A&M basketball has fallen all the way to first four out after four-straight losses.

After a 35-point road loss to Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 24, the Aggies only had four chances to try to will themselves back in tournament contention, and it started with No. 18 South Carolina in Reed Arena.

In what felt like a must-win game for A&M, the Aggies came up short, falling to the Gamecocks, 70-68.

After a 3-point halftime deficit, the Maroon and White fell behind 13 with 14:27 left in the second half.

However, over the next 7:39 minutes, A&M went on a 22-8 run, taking its first lead at 6:48 off of a graduate guard Tyrece Radford 3.

The Gamecocks and Aggies bounced back and forth over the final 6 minutes, and with 16 seconds left, senior Gamecock G Ta’Lon Cooper missed a 1-and-1 free throw.

Senior forward Andersson Garcia grabbed the rebound, and junior G Wade Taylor IV went the length of the court to tie the game with a driving layup.

But the energy inside Reed Arena was short lived, as sophomore G Zachary Davis caught the drop-off pass under the basket, laying it up with 3.1 seconds left.

A shot-clock error on the first inbound made the Aggies reset and inbound the ball again, Taylor attempted to drive the length of the court to try to win the game but slipped at half court, never getting a shot up.

This could be the nail in the coffin for the Aggies

The Aggies had to get back on track with only a handful of games left on the schedule. A loss to South Carolina might seal A&M’s date for the postseason.

This is not to say the Gamecocks are a bad loss. They’re one of the conference’s best, but that’s why the loss stings that much more, considering it could have been the game to give the Aggies life to close the season.

Now, the Maroon and White sit at 15-13 with multiple Quad-3 losses and only three games left. All three games — Georgia, Mississippi State and Ole Miss — are potential resume boosters, but it may be too little, too late.

Before the loss, A&M was the second-to-last team in the first four out, but will most likely be sitting in the next four out following the loss. This means the three games left may still not be enough, regardless of the result.

The offense had inklings of last season, the defense did not

It’s no secret that the A&M team that finished second in the SEC did its work driving to the hoop and either finishing or getting fouled.

The Aggies have struggled offensively this season, sitting at dead last in the conference in field-goal percentage. However, despite shooting only 38.6% tonight and making just 2-17 3s, A&M managed to hang with the Gamecocks thanks to its free-throw shooting.

The Maroon and White went 22-25 from the charity stripe, a higher clip than their 69.3% average this season. The only player who shot a free throw and didn’t make one was sophomore F Solomon Washington, who missed two.

The offensive formula that worked last season peaked through against South Carolina, but the other fist of A&M’s one-two punch from last year, its defense, didn’t make the same appearance.

The Gamecocks shot 45.9% from the field, sinking eight 3s in the process. This included giving up the final shot in the waning seconds to lose the game.

This is the third game this season that the Aggies have given up in the final seconds, with A&M falling to Arkansas and Vanderbilt in similar, last-second fashion. Without the late collapses, the Maroon and White could be sitting at 18-10, a completely different conversation from the 15-13 mark they’re at now.

The Aggies are playing with house money now

When there’s nothing to lose, things can begin to change.

A&M is going to need an unprecedented turnaround to get into the postseason. But with its back against the wall, anything can happen. It happened two years ago, when the Maroon and White lost eight straight, then won five of six and was just snubbed from the NCAA tournament.

The only thing the Aggies can do now is give it everything. Another loss definitively means they’re out of contention, but winning out and making a run in the SEC tournament could make things interesting down the stretch. No matter what, the damage-control period is over. March is rapidly approaching, and if there’s any certainty about March, it’s that it is madness.

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About the Contributor
Hunter Mitchell, Associate Sports Editor
Hunter Mitchell is a sport management senior minoring in journalism. Hunter has covered football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, volleyball, softball, hockey, cross country, track and field, along with swim and dive. Hunter's favorite sport is college basketball, and he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association. Hunter also hosts weekly episodes of the Home Turf sports podcast.
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