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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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Aggies drop second straight game, struggle at home against Vanderbilt

Sophomore+center+Tyler+Davis+scored+a+team-high+18+points+the+last+time+A%26amp%3BM+played+Vanderbilt.
Photo by: Morgan Engel

Sophomore center Tyler Davis scored a team-high 18 points the last time A&M played Vanderbilt.

At Monday’s press conference ahead of Texas A&M’s matchup against Vanderbilt, A&M head coach Billy Kennedy stressed the need for his team to defend Vanderbilt’s ability from behind the arc.
Tuesday night, A&M (11-10, 3-6 SEC) struggled mightily defending from three-point range and a loss followed as the Aggies fell 68-54 at Reed Arena, dropping their second game in a row and preventing themselves from a third-straight SEC victory.
Vanderbilt (11-11, 4-5 SEC) didn’t just create trouble for the Aggies around the perimeter, the Commodores dominated in almost every facet of the game. They outgained Texas A&M in points in the paint, points off turnovers, second chance, fast break and bench points.
Five players scored in double-figures for the Commodores with Luke Kornet and Matthew Fisher-Davis leading the way with 12 each.
Kornet also led the team with four assists and shot 5-for-8 from the field which included two threes. The 7-foot-1 senior posed problems with his ability to shoot from anywhere on the court. His head coach, Bryce Drew, had plenty of praise for him after the game, specifically his leadership ability.
“He’s really tall,” Drew said with a smile. “You see how tall he is on TV, but when you stand next to him, he’s really tall. He’s really unselfish and all about the team. That sets a tone for everyone else in that locker room. Having someone like Luke spoils you.”
Not only did the Commodores play well offensively, they held A&M defensively to 54 points which is a season low. Every starter for A&M shot below 50 percent except for Tyler Davis who went 8-for-9 and led the Aggies in scoring with 18.
Vanderbilt started the first half strong going on a 13-5 run and went on to lead 36-23 at the intermission. They finished the game shooting 48 percent from the field compared to A&M’s 40.
“I really thought we were prepared with the game plan,” Kennedy said after the game. “But they looked like a machine in the first half. When we can’t score, it makes it hard defensively. We’re young and beat up. We have to push through those things. It’s a grind. You play three games in seven days, you have to be tough enough.”
With just under nine minutes to play, Vanderbilt extended its lead to 22 which deflated the arena, and all indications pointed towards a win.
The maroon and white attempted a furious comeback late as they have done on multiple occasions this season. After a three-point play by Trocha-Morelos, Gilder was able to nail a three after a stolen inbounds pass, and Caleb Smith scored on the next possession which capped off a 14-0 run cutting Vanderbilt’s lead to 55-47 with 4:57 remaining.
Joe Toye and Riley LaChance then hit back-to-back threes for Vanderbilt which deflated the comeback attempt and practically sealed the victory.
The win gives Vanderbilt its third win in the last four games and moves them to being one win away from a .500 record in the SEC.
“I think we’ve definitely made a good turn recently,” Kornet said during the postgame press conference. “We’ve been playing well, and even in the couple games before this that we lost, I felt like we made a good step, and we just couldn’t really finish those games out. I think we’re definitely heading in the right direction.”
The loss practically destroys the Aggies’ slim chance at an NCAA Tournament bid. The team now sits at 3-6 in SEC play and at the bottom of the SEC table.
The Aggies will continue SEC play Saturday as they head to Baton Rouge to face LSU. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Maravich Assembly Center. The game can be seen on ESPNU and heard on the Texas A&M Sports Network.

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