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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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A Music City mishap

Aggies held off the offensive glass, suffer another buzzer-beater loss
Photo by Hannah Harrison
Texas A&M Aggie’s Tyrece Radford (23) being picked up by Jace Carter (0) and Solomon Washington (13) during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

Hangovers happen to everyone, and Texas A&M men’s basketball team dealt with its own on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

A&M defeated the No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers 85-69 this past weekend, but found itself in a back-and-forth battle with a bottom-feeding Vanderbilt Commodores squad in Nashville, Tennessee. Since joining the SEC, the Aggies have struggled at Memorial Gymnasium, posting a 2-5 record in their last seven matchups.

The Commodores entered the matchup second-to-last in the SEC with a 1-9 record in the conference, with their lone win coming against Missouri, who is winless in SEC play. However, the Aggies started the game very sluggish and careless, and Vanderbilt found itself down just 1 heading into halftime.

The Commodores held a 2-point lead with 13:35 left in the second half after fifth-year guard Ezra Manjon started the half 3-4 from the field. But, the Aggies took a 3-point lead with 12:09 left after an and-1 from senior forward Henry Coleman III.

Despite this,Vandy took a 4-point lead with 8:31 left, but a pullup 3 in transition by junior G Wade Taylor IV gave the Aggies a 69-66 lead with 3:54 left in the game.

But, the Dores tied the game and Manjon hit a corner 3 with 1:04 left for the 19th lead change of the game to give Vanderbilt a 72-69 lead. After graduate G Tyrece Radford hit two free throws, the Aggies got a stop and Radford was fouled again with 13.2 seconds left.

Radford sank both free throws to give A&M a 1-point lead, but similar to the Arkansas game, Manjon hit a buzzer-beater to give Vandy its second conference win of the season.

Aggies lost the offensive glass and turnover battle for the first time in a while

The Aggies actually shot the ball well tonight. They shot 51.1% from the field, hit 44.4% of their 3-pointers and hit all 17 free throws. But it wasn’t enough.

The Commodores limited the Aggies on the offensive glass, and beat them, 12-8, on it. Although A&M shot the ball well — like it had the past few games — it didn’t matter, as it also lost the turnover battle, 12-5.

Both are extremely rare for coach Buzz Williams’ squad, but for a team that is ranked 277th in offensive possessions in the nation, losing both at the same time caused tonight’s result. Although it may just be an insane miscue, if the Aggies are out hustled and continue to be careless with the ball, things will get rough with their upcoming slate of games.

Ven-Allen Lubin had the game of his career

The Aggies shot themselves in the foot, but the Commodores had an unsung hero tonight.

Usually it’s Manjon leading the charge for Vanderbilt, but tonight sophomore F Ven-Allen Lubin had the best game of his college career so far. Coming into the game, Lubin was the team’s third-leading scorer at 10.2 points per game, making 48.8% of his shots.

Tonight he scored a team-high 25 points on 69.2% shooting from the field, 6 over his career high of 19. He also grabbed five rebounds on the night.

Usually the Aggies are pretty solid defensively in the paint, but they had no answer for Lubin tonight. It’s okay if a team’s star has a good game, but if A&M lets a third or fourth option have a good game, it’ll be tough to win games against better teams.

A quiet, but loud performance by Wade Taylor IV

Taylor ended the night with 18 points, a team-high, but it was a very quiet 18.

He started off the first half slow, as he only had 6 points to end the half. As Taylor has done all season, he picked it up in the second half, but had four fouls late. Williams was forced to sub him out on defensive possessions, and if there wasn’t a stoppage in play, Taylor wasn’t on the court for the Aggies.

Taylor also had four turnovers on the night and hit his first 3 of the game with 7:21 left in the second half. Radford’s return to form has allowed Taylor to have a better shot selection, but the Aggies need the Preseason SEC Player of the Year candidate to get off to a hot start if they want to avoid bad losses heading into the end of conference play.

At least free throws were good

Texas A&M entered the matchup ranked 257th in the country in team free throw percentage at 69.37%. Tonight, the Aggies hit all 17 of their free throws, although in the end, it didn’t matter.

As mentioned, turnovers and losing the offensive glass battle ultimately hurt the Aggies. But, the silver lining is if they can fix both of those and make their free throws, this team will put itself in a good position for the rest of the season.

The Aggies will look to bounce back as they travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to faceoff with No. 15 Alabama this Saturday, Feb. 17.

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About the Contributor
Eli Meschko
Eli Meschko, Sports Writer
Eli Meschko is a journalism senior from Boerne, Texas, and is minoring in communication and sports management. Eli has covered football, men's basketball, baseball, softball, hockey and track & field. Eli also writes for Dave Campbell's Texas Football as an intern. After graduation, Eli plans on pursuing a career in sports media or public relations.
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