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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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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Aggies fall to Michigan, 99-72 in the Sweet 16

Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Head coach Billy Kennedy

LOS ANGELES — The day before the Aggies were to set to play Michigan, a player screamed out ‘THIS ISN’T CHARLOTTE ANYMORE.’ Which proved to be true as Texas A&M was unable to find a rhythm against the Wolverines losing 99-72 in the Sweet 16.
The same A&M team that beat reigning national champion North Carolina by 21-points, were left in the dust after Michigan rolled by them on their way to a 27-point margin of victory.
A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said ‘March Madness’ is relentless and, despite such a big win four days ago, the NCAA Tournament is fueled by a roller coaster of emotions.
“Well, that’s the nature of this game, the nature of this tournament,” Kennedy said. “You can be high one minute and low the next.”
Kennedy said the Michigan team they faced tonight was not the same one that played two close games against Montana and Houston. 
“Felt like we ran into a buzz saw. I felt like Michigan, the first eight to 10 minutes, played about as well as anybody we played against this year,” Kennedy said. “They looked like that’s how they played in the Big Ten tournament, more so than they played their last two games.”
Michigan head coach John Beilien said despite the fact that his team lead by a large margin the majority of the time, he never was able to relax until the game was over. 
“The 20-point lead, I kept looking, are we winning every four minutes, we weren’t, but we weren’t losing them either,” Beilien said. “So, you can just have games where everything’s just happening your way. You just try to get through the game, and that’s survive. You look at that lead, and it could go south. 
Michigan controlled the tempo of game from the beginning. A&M didn’t make a basket ’til almost the three-minute mark of the game. At that point, Michigan was firing on all cylinders. 
In the first half, A&M turned the ball over 14 times and added four more in the second half. Michigan scored 20 points off of turnovers. Kennedy said A&M’s lack of ability to keep the ball in their hands was a major reason for the lopsided loss. 
“Well, we turned the ball over five times in the first eight minutes, and they had 15 transition points in the first half,” Kennedy said. “That was big. The turnovers hurt us.”
Michigan was shooting 57.1 percent in the first half and 67.9 percent in the second. Every shot, whether it was behind the 3-point line or not was going in for Michigan. Junior guard Admon Gilder said seeing everything go right for the Wolverines was tough to watch.
“It was kind of hard to see because I was just wondering when they were going to miss,” Gilder said. “So, when they were able to hit the three ball so well, it kind of opened up their driving lanes, and they were able to get in the lane.
Despite the large deficit towards the end of the game, A&M continued to play as if it were a one point game. Davis said that mindset was instilled by Kennedy.
“I mean, when you’re playing, you just don’t have a choice but to keep fighting through it and keep grinding,” Davis said. “That’s what Coach did a great job of. He was just telling us we have time and we’ve just got to come together and keep our heads up high and play defense.”
After the loss, sophomore Robert Williams announced his intentions to declare for the NBA Draft. Williams said despite the outcome he was thankful to represent the Aggies.
“It was a blessing. It was fun,” Williams said. “Trials and tribulations [included]. All in all, it was a great, great experience.”

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