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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 make second-half comeback in victory over Vanderbilt

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Photo by Annie Lui

Senior Christian Mekowulu scored a total of 19 points against Vanderbilt. 

On Senior Night, the Texas A&M men’s basketball defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 64-57 on Saturday in Reed Arena.
A&M is now 13-15 overall and 9-7 in SEC play heading into their final two games of the season. The Commodores earn their 17th consecutive loss — 16 of the losses coming from conference opponents — this season and are 9-20 overall.
Vanderbilt came out to a fast start after building a 13-2 lead in the first half. Each one of the Commodore’s starting five scored in the half with freshman forward Aaron Nesmith leading the pack and scoring five of the 13 points.
A&M sophomore guard and forward Savion Flagg stopped the bleeding and got on the board first for the Aggies. Flagg led the Aggies in scoring in the first half with 11 points, the most for either team.
Junior guard Wendell Mitchell followed close behind Flagg and got going offensively after knocking down a three-pointer and scoring seven points himself, while senior forward Christian Mekowulu led the team in rebounds with seven.
The Commodores, however, maintained their lead thanks to freshman forward and center Simisola Shittu scoring 11 points. Vanderbilt led 29-25 going into halftime.
A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said the performance from Mekowulu and Flagg set the tone for the game and was a major reason for their success on the scoreboard.
“Savion [Flagg] progressiveness and our guards trying to get Christain [Mekowulu] touches down low was the big difference in the game,” Kennedy said. “When you only make four threes you realize going inside was big for us.”
Flagg emphasized getting to the basket and creating offense as the contributing factors to his success.
“With TJ [Starks] being out a lot of people had to get in the paint because he did that almost every play whenever he wanted to,” Flagg said. “Just getting in the paint, creating open shots, taking them, and they were going in.”
In the second half, the Aggies built off their momentum that closed the first half. Mekowulu continued to play well, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds for a double-double.
A three-pointer from Flagg gave the Aggies the lead midway through the second. Flagg added on to his scoring total — earning 22 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. Mitchell led the Aggies with three assist and 13 points.
Vanderbilt kept the score close with the help of redshirt junior forward and center Yanni Wetzell and sophomore guard Saben Lee. Wetzell scored 15 points and Lee scored eight after only two in the first half. Shittu finished with a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
The game was close to the end with a 56-55 score in the last three minutes, but with an 8-2 run to close out the game, the Aggies secured the 64-57 win.
The Aggies will face off against South Carolina in Reed Arena on Tuesday, March 5. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.

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