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

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

After Aggies clinch SEC regular season title, postseason tournaments await

Photo by Photo by: Morgan Engel

Senior Danuel House was very emotional after winning his last game at Reed Arena.

The emotion expressed by senior Danuel House after his final game at Reed Arena said all that was needed.

After a season full of ups and downs and full of adversity, history had been made.

The No. 20 Texas A&M basketball team accomplished something Saturday that hadn’t been done in thirty years — the distinguished title of conference champions.

“I’m just lost for words,” senior Jalen Jones said after the Vanderbilt game. “It’s just overwhelming right now, all the adversity we faced during conference and all the hard work that we put in during the summer. I look back to when we were overseas, how we were able to bond together, figure out each other’s roles when we were over there. It just all gelled together at the right time and to win the conference championship feels great right now and we’ve got to continue to build on this and get other championships as well.”

The last team that held the honor of conference champions was the 1985-1986 Aggie team that was led in scoring by Don Marbury, father of NBA All-star Stephon Marbury, and coached by longtime Aggie basketball head coach Shelby Metcalf, who patrolled the sidelines for 27 seasons from 1963-1990. The Aggies posted a 20-12 record with a 12-4 conference record in 1986 to clinch the Southwest Conference (SWC) regular season title.

Unlike the team thirty years ago that was led in most statistical categories by seniors and juniors, this Aggie bunch has gotten production from freshmen to seniors alike. The freshmen trio of Tyler Davis, DJ Hogg and Admon Gilder has contributed greatly to this team’s success with Davis starting and Hogg and Gilder being the first options for head coach Billy Kennedy off the bench.

The seniors have shown tremendous leadership for an Aggie team that, for the most part, has never experienced success in this manner. Transfers like House, Jones and point guard Anthony Collins, who advanced to the Round of 32 with the University of South Florida in 2012, provided stability during a tough stretch where A&M lost four straight SEC games. Kennedy spoke to the character of the seniors and freshmen after the Vanderbilt victory.

“It doesn’t happen by accident, you have to go through some stuff sometimes and if you have good character and toughness, you can get through it,” Kennedy said. “I thought it was a credit to those seniors, setting the tone. Our freshmen, they’re not scared. They’ve won state championships and they’ve been good for us all year.”

As of today, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has the Aggies as a No. 5 seed in the East Region taking on 12-seed Valparaiso. Since the Aggies will hold the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament by virtue of winning the SEC regular season title, A&M will only have to win three games to win the title.

If the Aggies take care of the winner of Arkansas-Florida in the quarterfinals, they will likely have to face either an LSU team that has beaten them in Baton Rouge, a Kentucky team that the Aggies needed overtime to dispatch of or a South Carolina team that gave A&M its lone home loss of the season.

Bringing the SEC tournament title to Aggieland will be no easy task, but these Aggies have formed a bond with each other that has translated to the basketball court. Everyone seems to have a defined role and understands the collective goal of winning over individual accolades.

“I think everybody had some energy in there and they didn’t want us to go out without a bang and then not only that, they could be champs too,” House said. “They saw that as beneficial for us and them.”
Unfortunately for the Marbury-led A&M team, the Aggies lost in the SWC title game 67-63 to Texas Tech. Now that thirty years have passed, let’s see if the 2015-16 Aggies can separate themselves from their conference title counterparts and cut down the nets again in Nashville.

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