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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 outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Aggies roll Tide on road

Shooting+ahead%2C+graduate+Quenton+Jackson%26%23160%3B%283%29%26%23160%3Bshoots+a+basket%26%23160%3Bin+Reed+Arena+on+Tuesday%2C+Feb.+22%2C+2022+against+Georgia.
Photo by Photo by Ishika Samant

Shooting ahead, graduate Quenton Jackson (3) shoots a basket in Reed Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022 against Georgia.

Welcome to March, Bama.
On Wednesday, March 3, Texas A&M men’s basketball traveled to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face off against the No. 25 Alabama Crimson Tide. The matchup was the Aggies’ second-straight test on the road, following a 76-66 victory at Ole Miss on Feb. 26.
The first half of the game was a shootout in every sense of the word. The squads traded buckets back and forth with the repetition of a table tennis match. When a jumper from graduate guard Quenton Jackson gave the Aggies a brief 17-12 cushion, back-to-back baskets from Alabama junior guard Jaden Shackelford and senior forward James Rojas tied the score at 17 in under a minute.
With just under six minutes remaining in the first half, the score was locked at 30. The Tide began to attack the paint, and layups from freshman guard J.D. Davidson and sophomore forward Juwan Gary sparked a 10-4 run for Alabama. In the waning seconds of the period, A&M junior guard Tyrece Radford responded with a slick 3-pointer from the left wing to cut the Tide’s lead in half. Alabama held a 40-37 advantage at the break.
Following the game, Radford described the Aggies’ mentality at the half, saying that the team knew how close it was in a position to win and needed to keep its foot on the gas.
“At halftime, we wanted to just keep it going,” Radford said. “In my head, I’m thinking, ‘This is like a tournament game,’ because of the intensity behind it. Buckets were getting scored back-to-back, and we needed to keep our composure, stay calm and take what they gave us.”
In the second half, A&M did just that. Jackson and Radford combined for eight-straight points to start the half before Alabama had found the net. The Tide found their footing with a mid-range jumper, but an animated dunk from A&M’s sophomore forward Henry Coleman stifled any sort of crimson momentum.
As the second half progressed, the Aggies continued to find open looks on offense. The Aggies stretched their lead as the time ticked away, and the rebuttals from Alabama’s offense became less consistent.
With a 69-61 lead, Radford tipped an errant Alabama pass and threw down a two-handed jam on the other end. Alabama’s next two possessions resulted in missed shots, and Radford knocked down a pair of 3s to give A&M a commanding 77-61 advantage.
The Aggies continued to apply pressure on the exhausted Alabama squad until the final buzzer. The match ended with a pair of free throws from Jackson to put the bow on an 87-71 victory for the maroon and white.
Despite the temptation to see tonight’s outing as too-little-too-late in regard to a March Madness bid, A&M coach Buzz Williams said he was elated by his team’s growth throughout the season and its performance against one of the most talented teams in the conference.
“[This season] has been a lot of fun,” Williams said. “It has been very memorable, and what is transpiring is changing the lives of our guys for the better. I understand the results, but this is a metamorphosis for our program and these guy’s lives. I am grateful to be a part of it.”
The maroon and white offense fired on all cylinders in Tuscaloosa. The Aggies’ 87 point-game is their second highest output in conference play. The team shot a lethal 33-of-58 from the field and 7-16 from beyond the arc. Free throws — an area that has haunted the Aggies this season — were also not an issue, as the team shot 14-of-15 from the charity stripe.
The Aggies benefited from impressive outings from some of their most prolific scorers. Jackson — who has led all A&M scorers this season with 14.4 points per game — led the offense once again, tallying 28 points. Radford and Coleman also carried significant weight on the offensive side of the ball, scoring 22 and 18, respectively.
Jackson struggled to find the words to express the feeling of reaping the benefits that he has sowed all season.
“It is really emotional when you put in so much work and effort and you aren’t rewarded for it,” Jackson said. “Finally seeing the rewards of our efforts is — I’m not gonna lie — it’s hard to speak about.”
The victory lifted A&M to 19-11 overall and 8-9 in conference play, while Alabama moved to 19-11, 9-8 in SEC play.
On Saturday, March 5, the Aggies will close out the regular season with a Senior Night matchup against Mississippi State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Reed Arena in College Station.

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