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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies conquer first of three Tigers

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Photo by Robert O’Brien

Graduate G Dexter Dennis (0) celebrates after scoring during Texas A&M’s game against Auburn at Reed Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2022.

In a gym with no dogs, the 12th Man witnessed one of the biggest dogfights of the season.
In its last three home games, Reed Arena has averaged an attendance of 12,741. What sounded like a packed house was about 2,000 fans less than the average. With that, the streak of three straight home games with over 12,000 fans came to an end.
Fortunately, one streak lived on tonight for the Aggies.
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, Texas A&M traveled to Neville Arena and traveled back victorious with a 79-63 win under its belt and snapping Auburn’s 28-game home win streak. On Feb. 7, the Tigers had a chance to end the Aggies’ current 7-game home win streak to an end.
This resulted in a failure for the blue and orange.
Despite multiple runs by Auburn, A&M escaped with an 83-78 victory for the second straight time this season. This would bring the two’s all-time series record to 15-6 and A&M’s conference record to 9-2 for the season.
The Aggies started their second “mirror” game from behind as guard Wendell Green Jr. drove in and completed an uncontested lay-up for the Tigers and guard Allen Flanigan followed with a fastbreak dunk that began at the start of the 3-point line.
A&M followed its first turkey of the game with three consecutive scores as Wade Taylor IV cashed in the first of his four 3-pointers of the night, Julius Marble followed him with a reverse lay-up and Dexter Dennis with a pump fake, pull-up jumper from mid-range area to cap off the run.
Following Taylor’s 3-point shot, the Aggies would go on to shoot 0 for 6 from behind the arc. That is when the Tigers took advantage of the scoring drought by the home team. A run that was initiated by a Johni Broome layup, would lead to 12 more points and a 12 point lead with six minutes to remain in the first half.
In need of a momentum shift, A&M coach Buzz Williams called a freshman forward to the plate. This momentum didn’t come from a dunk, a 3-point shot or even a steal. Following a turnover from Taylor, Solomon Washington would block a shot that would lead to a scuffle and handful of frustrated Tigers.
Washington, with a 72% free throw percentage from the charity stripe, would be gifted two free throws and sink them both. The “5 Star Stoppa” would immediately raise his hands and ignite the 12th Man.
“Coach Buzz does a good job of getting us ready for when our number is called,” Washington said.
From this point until the end of the half, the Aggies had control of the game.
Marble crashed the boards following a missed jump shot and finished with another reverse lay-up. Taylor would draw an offensive foul from Green and give A&M the ball back with three minutes left in the half down 7 points.
A hop-step finish from Dennis, lay-up from Marble and a crossover pull-up 3-pointer from Taylor would tie the score at 34 and lift the spirits once again inside of Reed Arena.
The crowd cheered and screamed loud enough to hear back in Neville Arena. The noise became too loud for the Tigers to bear as Broome, who was dominant for most of the first half, threw the ball into the stands and returned the ball back to the Aggies.
At the end of the first half, the Aggies led the Tigers 37-36. Taylor led the Aggies in points and assists with 11 and 4, respectively. Dennis led the maroon and white in rebounds with four defensively and one on the offensive end.
In order to maintain its lead, A&M must strategize a plan to calm Broome and Flanigan; who both had 10 points and split 11 rebounds amongst the two.
One of the two was held to just 2 points in the second half and the other watched the majority of the half on the sideline due to foul trouble.
Marble came out of the locker room with a plan to set the tempo. After a layup off an assist from Taylor, the Michigan State transfer took a charge on the defensive end to return the ball back to the Aggies.
After getting in early foul trouble, A&M found itself replaying the same mistakes it made in the first half.
Auburn would soon go on another 12-2 run to regain the lead and force the Aggies to overcome another deficit.
After Broome acquired his 14th point of the night, Andersson Garcia stepped on the court with a goal to flip the switch. The Mississippi State transfer forced two straight fouls on Broome and sent him straight to the bench in foul trouble.
“[Andersson Garcia] is ranked the eighth most efficient player in our league,” Williams said. “He’s the only one in the top 40 to come off the bench.”
Two minutes later, Washington would do the same and gift Broome with his fourth personal foul.
Punches were thrown back and forth between the Tigers and Aggies as the second half featured 10 lead changes. Two players in particular, Green and Taylor, traded a combined 18 points in the final seven minutes of the game.
“[Green] is such a good player,” Williams said.
However, with 25 seconds to play, Green missed a deep 3-point shot to regain the lead. This resulted in an airball and a quick foul in favor of the Aggies, who sank both free throws along with 22 others for the second half.
A&M had two players finish with over 20 points as Taylor finished with 22 points, seven assists and two steals and Marble with 20 points and seven rebounds.
“[Wade] is our leader,” Marble said. “He’s a huge factor in getting us going.”
The Aggies advanced to a 17-7 overall record, 9-2 in conference play and solidifying second place from the Volunteers with seven games left in the regular season.
A&M will travel to Baton Rouge, La., to compete in their third “mirror” game of the season against LSU on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 7:30 p.m.

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