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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Aggies escape Commodores

Photo by Photo by Jonathan Taffet

Senior G Andre Gordon (20) celebrates a defensive stop during Texas A&M’s game against Vanderbilt on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023.

Players and fans gathered inside Reed Arena to support the 200,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer every year with a game of basketball.
On Jan. 28, the Texas A&M basketball team draped on all-white uniforms with pink outlines and lettering to show respect for the thousands of women and men who are battling, defeated or died from cancer.
To carry along the nationwide tradition, A&M coach Buzz Williams and Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse and their staff wore sneakers on the sideline to show support for those fighting.
Most in Reed Arena could say they knew someone or they themselves have been affected by cancer. One athlete, in particular, had the chance to play for a friend who was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer just last October.
Senior guard Tyrece Radford said he was surprised with a special jersey from his staff to honor his friend and Virginia Tech academic advisor, Alise Svihla, and planned on signing it and sending it to her as a gift.
“It meant a lot to wear this jersey tonight,” Radford said. “I got a text from Luke and Josh, on our staff, to come up to the office and they surprised me with the jersey. It meant a lot to me.”
The Virginia Tech transfer said he was able to communicate with her before the game.
“I knew she was watching me,” Radford said. “She texted me before the game and said, ‘Good luck and do what you normally do,’ so that meant a lot.”
And Radford kept his promise.
After a defensive stop to start the game, Radford pulled up the first shot on the offensive end and tallied the first 3 points for the maroon and white.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, the Commodores were able to punch back with not just one but six 3-pointers of their own in the first half. Four of them came from junior forward Myles Stute.
“As an evaluator, he’s the best shooter in the league,” Williams said.
The Aggies continued to leave their men open to shoot and the Commodores let them pay throughout the first half, hitting above 45% of their shots, including 50% of their 3-pointers.
The lights-out shooting from the black and gold gave them their largest lead of the night at 29-20.
In need of a momentum shift, Radford ended the first half the same way he started it.
With two seconds left in the half, Radford would pull up from deep behind-the-arc and splash a 3-pointer that would shake the stands and give A&M enough momentum to head into the locker room.
“The fans were locked in, we needed that,” Radford said.
Stute, who averages 44.1% from 3-point land, came out the second half as hot as he started the one before to regain a substantial 8-point lead for Vanderbilt.
However, basketball is a game of runs and the Aggies would go on four consecutive runs that all started with a Radford point.
After a made free throw from the Baton Rouge native, A&M would go on a 9-2 run that would cut the deficit to 2 before junior forward Andersson Garcia would make a lay-up to tie it.
“I think [Garcia] is coming off the best week he’s had,” Williams said. “He’s been a needle-mover whether the box score shows it or not.”
The second consecutive run, despite not lasting long, would give the Aggies their first lead of the game since the halfway mark of the first half. A made lay-up from Radford would lead to a run that was followed by a layup from senior guard Andre Gordon, two free-throws from sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV and a 3-point lead.
After the third run that lasted only three minutes but gave A&M a 13-point lead, many fans believed that was the nail in the coffin. However, Vanderbilt would fight back starting with a 3-pointer from senior guard Jordan Wright.
This led to a 15-1 run that would silence the arena and regain a pulse back in the Commodores. Following the theme of the second half, one last run would determine the result and send one team back with its chin stapled to its chest.
“We always talk about [it] in the locker room and ask ‘What’s next? What’s your mentality? You have to be ready for the next moment,’” junior forward Henry Coleman III said.
And the Aggies were ready.
Starting off with a Radford free throw, A&M went on 7-0 run that featured five shots from the charity stripe and a Garcia layup. This brought the final deathblow for Vanderbilt as the buzzer sounded and the final score flashed 72-66.
“That was a really entertaining game,” Stackhouse said. “It came down to execution in the late game.”
Coleman finished as the lead scorer with 18 points and tallied six rebounds as well. Garcia finished as the leading glass cleaner with eight rebounds, six of them coming off the offensive end.
“Garcia was probably the MVP of the game,” Stackhouse said. “Gave them a lot of second chances.”
A&M will travel to Fayetteville, Ark. on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. to battle against the Arkansas Razorbacks and look to obtain its eighth conference win of the season.

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