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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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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies take a sip of success

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Photo by Kaili Gaston

Sophomore G Wade Taylor IV (4) looks for an open shot against Georgia during the Texas A&M’s game at Reed Arena on Saturday, Feb. 04, 2023.

Texas A&M basketball finished its road trip to the state of Mississippi neither too hot nor too cold, but lukewarm — as it finished 1-1 with a defeat against Mississippi State and a victory against Ole Miss.
With just one conference game left until the SEC tournament, the Aggies found themselves in a position that fans of the basketball program have not witnessed in 43 years.
A 14-win conference season.
A&M has yet to win 14 conference games during the regular season since joining the SEC in 2012. It wasn’t until 1980, when the Aggies were members of the Southwest Conference, that they last met this figure.
The Aggies’ 14th SEC win of the season did not come as easily as some thought, as they were lined up against an Ole Miss team on Tuesday, Feb. 28, which sits third to last in the conference.
Similar to its loss against Mississippi State on Saturday, Feb. 25, A&M started off cold from the field in the first six minutes of the game. This could have been due to the absence of graduate guard Dexter Dennis, who has averaged 11.1 points per game in the last seven matchups.
Dennis did not suit up for this conference matchup on the road due to a sprained left knee from his last matchup against the Bulldogs. Despite playing through the injury in Starkville, Miss., it was too much to bear in Oxford, Miss., and senior guard Andre Gordon started in his place.
In the first six minutes, the Aggies only shot 25% from the field on only 12 shot attempts. This led to an uncomfortable 20-9 road deficit that would be hard to overcome.
It wasn’t until junior guard Hayden Hefner took the court that the maroon and white offense caught fire. The Nederland native scored 4 of the first 13 points on a run that would tie the game and evidently regain the lead thanks to consecutive buckets from freshman forward Solomon Washington.
Sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV, who has averaged 21.7 points in the last six games, was quiet for the majority of the half offensively up until the four-minute mark. A fast break three from the top of the key and a full-court assist to Julius Marble would give the Aggies their largest lead of the game at 31-26.
However, the Dallas native was not done yet.
Williams would draw up a play coming out of a timeout that would set up Taylor with his second consecutive 3-pointer from the right wing and send the maroon and white into the locker room up 6 points.
The Aggies finished the last 12 minutes shooting 52% from the field and connected on three shots from behind the arc.
Unfortunately for A&M, the Rebels had their own shooter, who was lights out from deep the entire game.
After connecting on three 3-pointers alone in the first half, junior guard Matthew Murrell kept Ole Miss alive in the second with five more.
Fortunately, A&M’s relentless defense and its ability to draw offensive rebounds saved them once again. After a made 3-pointer from Murrell, junior forward Andersson Garcia picked off a pass from freshman guard TJ Caldwell and finished the defensive effort with a strong, fastbreak dunk.
After a made lay-up from junior forward Jaemyn Brakefield, the Aggies couldn’t afford to miss another shot. Following a missed lay-up from Taylor, Garcia tipped up an offensive rebound that the maroon and white would potentially grab to secure two free throws and potentially seal the game with a Washington steal.
A&M escaped the Sandy and John Black Pavilion with a 69–61 win and secured a second-place SEC finish with one game left to play. In order for the Aggies to finish first, they would need No. 2 Alabama to drop a game at home against Auburn on Wednesday, March 1, and beat them on its home court in College Station.
A&M will host Alabama on Saturday, March 4, at 11 a.m. in Reed Arena, with a chance to end the regular season as SEC regular season champions and claim the No. 1 seed entering the SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tenn., on March 8.

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