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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 rightful sendoff

Aggies take down the Bulldogs in Senior Night home finale
Photo by CJ Smith
Senior G Tyrece Radford (23) lays the ball up during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

With 16:57 left, it looked Like Texas A&M men’s basketball would be easily on its way to winning its second-straight game, as the Aggies grabbed a 23-point lead with a graduate G Tyrece Radford and-1.

However, Mississippi State had other plans.

The Bulldogs went on a 33-13 run over the next 12:55 minutes, cutting the once-comfortable A&M lead to just 3 with 2:21 left, with the potential to catastrophically end any chance the Maroon and White had at postseason play.

“The house was on fire,” Radford said. “Like, ‘What’s going on? How do we put this out?’ Because when the team is coming down just scoring, and we’re not scoring, it’s an emergency. We’ve got to find out how to put that fire out.”

Junior G Manny Obaseki gave the Aggies a momentary two-possession lead the following possession, but the Bulldogs cut it back to 3 with a quick dump-off dunk to senior forward Cameron Matthews.

With the clock winding down the next possession, junior G Wade Taylor IV — who was 3-7 from beyond the arc — put up a 3 that clanked off the front iron. However, sophomore F Solomon Washington grabbed his third and most important board for the Aggies, getting the ball back to Taylor who then hit a runner off the backboard to push the lead to 5.

“I get yelled at when I don’t go rebound,” Washington said. “So, I didn’t want to get yelled at and coach Buzz was looking at me with that little stare. So yeah, I had to grab that one.”

Then freshman Bulldogs G Josh Hubbard brought the ball to the top of the key, pulled up and missed, with Washington grabbing another board to all but seal the Aggies’ victory on Senior Night.

A&M ends its home schedule, and Tyrece Radford’s last game at home, on a high note

It’s hard to match what the Aggies did at home last season, only giving up one home loss in an upset to Wofford with wins over Tennessee, Auburn and Alabama to cap off a historic season.

Despite the dropoff this year with home losses to Memphis, LSU and Arkansas, A&M finished off its last game at Reed Arena on a high note against the Bulldogs. With the win, the Maroon and White finish the year with big wins over Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida and now Mississippi State at home.

Arguably for Aggies fans, this win means more in regards to getting one player a final victory in College Station in Radford.

After Buzz Williams left Virginia Tech for A&M, Radford, who followed Williams, has been a staple in the Aggies’ starting lineup, averaging over 30 minutes a game since arriving in College Station.

The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native has provided A&M with veteran experience and tough guard play, hence the nickname, “Boots.” Poetically, the win over the Bulldogs was Radford’s 100th game as an Aggie.

No matter what happens the rest of the season, Radford has been a consistent figure that has helped lead A&M to an NIT final and an NCAA tournament berth. Aggie fans will have to get used to not seeing him in Reed Arena come next year.

[My final home game] was amazing. I’m still kind of soaking it in, thinking that it’s really my last game here. All of the feelings haven’t hit me yet.”

— Tyrece Radford

Unlikely heroes stepped up and were big for the Aggies

All season, the list of names on A&M’s offensive scouting report has been short: Radford and Taylor.

This has led to multiple feast or famine situations for the Aggies all year, as when the backcourt duo is clicking, they can be a nigh-unstoppable force. But when they’re off, it can spell doom.

Against the Bulldogs, Obaseki and Washington provided big minutes and big buckets for the Aggies, taking weight off of the star’s shoulders.

Obaseki, who started just his second game this season, led all A&M scorers with 17, only his second time hitting double digits in conference play.

Washington on the other hand was a force both scoring and on the glass, racking up 15 points to go along with nine rebounds.

With the most crucial stretch of games the Aggies have faced up ahead, they need all the help they can get from everyone involved. If A&M can get two more consistent scorers to compliment Radford and Taylor, the Maroon and White could end up making things interesting.

There’s still life — just barely

The conversation between A&M and the NCAA tournament may seem ludicrous to some, but it’s not completely out of question with the win over Mississippi State.

The Aggies, now at 17-13, still have a front-loaded resume with Quad-1 wins over teams like Iowa State, Kentucky and Tennessee. Now, A&M has another win over a projected tournament team after taking down the Bulldogs.

The win over Mississippi State is a Quad-2 win, giving the Maroon and White 10 Quad-1 and 2 victories. The Aggies get another opportunity to grab another quality win this weekend on the road against Ole Miss before the SEC tournament.

For A&M, it seems like the magic number is 20. Finishing the season 5-0, with multiple Quad-2 and potential Quad-1 wins, would put the Maroon and White at 20-13 with one of the better resumes in the country, excluding the collection of ugly Quad-3 losses that are the reason A&M is not being considered in the tournament right now.

It’s a long shot, but for Aggie fans, there’s still hope yet. It’s March. Anything can happen.

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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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