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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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Aggies’ season comes to a close in second round of NIT

Freshman point guard Alex Robinson splits two defenders as he drives into the paint.
Cody Franklin

Freshman point guard Alex Robinson splits two defenders as he drives into the paint.

It was another career-high scoring performance for Aggie freshman Alex Robinson, but this time, it wasn’t enough to hold off the high-flying Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, who knocked off Texas A&M 84-72 in the second round of the NIT.

Robinson ran the show in the first 20 minutes with seven points, four rebounds and four assists. This included a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer at the half from NBA range. After a career-high 15 points in the first round win over Montana, Robinson tallied 21 Monday.

Defense was lacking on the Aggies side, which began to fold in the second half, when the Bulldogs shot 17-for-27 from the field, including 7-for-11 from outside the arc. Junior Alex Hamilton led them with 25 points as the Bulldogs scored more points than any other A&M opponent all season.

With 7:42 left, the Aggies found themselves within six. Bulldog freshman Jacobi Boykins made sure there wasn’t a comeback, knocking down consecutive 3-pointers at 7:26 and 6:13. A Hamilton dunk on the next possession capped the 8-0 run, putting Louisiana Tech on top of A&M 68-54. From that point on, the Aggies never got inside single digits.

A&M (21-12) kept it close at the beginning, and the Robinson buzzer beater sent the Aggies into halftime with a one-point deficit at 35-34. Head coach Billy Kennedy elected not to start Robinson to open the second half, and in turn, Louisiana Tech took advantage.

To start the second half, the Bulldogs (27-8) temporarily created cushion when Kenneth “Speedy” Smith hit consecutive 3-pointers in the opening minutes. Smith finished 4-for-4 from 3-point land, and ended behind Hamilton in scoring with 16.

“Louisiana Tech was really good, and I was really impressed with their guard play,” A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said. “Speedy Smith was probably, besides Kentucky, for his team maybe the best point guard we’ve played against this year, [especially] when he’s making threes like that and taking control of the game.”

But the Aggies older leaders were reluctant to let another one slip away. Jordan Green and Jalen Jones quickly responded with consecutive 3-point plays. Kourtney Roberson and Green, who scored 10 and 14, respectively, saw their last games in a Texas A&M jersey.

“Jordan Green and Kourtney, I think they maxed out on their abilities, and they gave us what they could give us,” Kennedy said. “We’ve got to be able to build off this, and there are a lot of good things coming. I really like the guys we have coming back.”

The Aggies will look to future seniors Danuel House, Alex Caruso and Jalen Jones to fill the void of the two lost starters, along with a top five recruiting class.

“We are in great position,” Kennedy said. “Like I said, we are a tournament team, and I will go on record and say now that we will be a tournament team next year. We really look forward to next year. Our schedule is beefed up to play a top 10, top 15 type schedule, and we embrace that.”

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  • Junior guard Alex Caruso drives to the basket in hopes to get his team back into the game.

  • Junior forward Jalen Jones tries to draw contact while taking his man to the hole.

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