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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Aggies fall 77-63 to Baylor in Waco

Baylor University handed the Texas A&M men’s basketball team their largest margin of defeat this season in a 77-63 rout of the Aggies at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas Tuesday.
The Bears (8-1) extended their winning streak over the Aggies (6-2) to six games in the Battle of the Brazos series. The last time the Aggies lost to the Bears by more than ten points dates back to the 2002 season when Baylor defeated A&M 97-45.
“Baylor was tougher than us and deserved to win, obviously,” Kennedy said. “They physically whipped us. We’ve got to fight. I’ve got to do a better job of preparing our big guys to fight more. We physically got whipped and just didn’t fight. That’s something we were concerned about at the beginning of the year, but, you know, you’re coming into Baylor, and playing Baylor, and [Johnathan] Motley and Rico Gathers, who are both very good players, and I’ve got a lot of respect for them, but I didn’t anticipate they would dominate us like they did.”
The Aggies jumped out to a quick start in the game, capitalizing on the Bears two turnovers and 1 of 7 shooting from the field in the opening minutes of play, with a three-pointer from senior guard Alex Caruso and junior guard Danuel House.
Junior forward Antwan Space added a bank shot, assisted by Caruso, at the 13:41 mark and then two free throws at the 12:39 mark to extend the A&M lead to 14-6.
Baylor answered the challenge with 12-0 run, electrifying the Ferrell Center in favor of the home team and putting the Bears up 18-14 with 9:29 remaining in the opening frame.
Texas A&M effectively ended Baylor’s momentum with 7:35 remaining in the half when freshman guard Alex Robinson pushed the ball up the court in transition to junior forward Jalen Jones who then found House streaking down the court for an easy dunk. The two point play gave back the lead to the A&M, 19-18.
After exchanging buckets, the Bears began to reestablish a lead with a little over four minutes remaining, using a 13-4 run to close out the first half. A three-pointer from sophomore forward Davonte Fitzgerald kept the Baylor charge in check during this stretch, but ultimately senior guard Kenny Chery’s layup as time expired in the first half capped off the run for the Bears, who headed into their tunnel with a 36-29 lead.
Baylor rolled their momentum into the second half, opening on a 17-5 run through the first eight minutes of play and extending its lead to 53-35. The Bears methodically extended the Aggie defense, exploiting them for easy buckets underneath the basket, and keeping the Aggies uncomfortable when they were on offense, using a 1-3-1 defensive zone that forced six A&M turnovers during the stretch.
The Aggies couldn’t seem to shake their fun, and the Bears established a 20-point cushion by the 10:13 mark which carried them to their 14-point victory. The Bears defense, which ranked ninth in the nation in points allowed per game heading into the night, forced 17 total A&M turnovers, 10 of which came in the second half.
Five Bears scored in double-figures with redshirt freshman forward Johnathan Motley leading the team with 22 points 9 of 14 shooting from the field. Motley also contributed nine rebounds. Junior forward Rico Gathers added a double-double for the Bears with 13 points and 10 rebounds on the night.
Two Aggies reached the double-digit mark in scoring, though both accumulated all of their points in the second half. Freshman guard Alex Robinson scored 11 points, one shy of his career-high, as he shot 4 of 7 from the field. Robinson added two rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Senior forward Kourtney Roberson matched Robinson with 11 points.
The Aggies failed to capture one offensive rebound in the losing effort and became the first Southeastern Conference team in nineteen years to do so. The Bears, on the other hand, secured 15 offensive rebounds in addition to 21 defensive boards.
“[I’m] really embarrassed about how we competed around the basket,” Kennedy said. “You’ve got to give Baylor a lot of credit. Johnathan Motley and Rico Gathers really set the tone on the offensive end and on the defensive end in the paint. When you don’t get an offensive rebound, you’ve got to give Baylor a lot of credit. Their defense and their interior game was really good.”
Texas A&M returns to the confines of Reed Arena for their next contest this Saturday at 4 p.m. The Aggies will look to get back on track as they host Youngstown State.

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