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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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A&M continues its winning ways

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore G Wade Taylor IV (4) moves down the court during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Reed Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2022.

Texas A&M men’s basketball returned to action on Saturday, Feb. 18, following Wednesday night’s emotional victory over Arkansas. Next for A&M was a matchup against a surprisingly improved Missouri Tigers team that has put itself in position to reach the NCAA Tournament. Both teams entered the matchup with records of 19-7.
The previous matchup went the way of the maroon and white in relatively easy fashion earlier on in their conference slate. The only real problem for the Aggies was turnovers in the matchup.
Beating Missouri again at its house would be a difficult task for A&M as they look to continue to solidify its standing in the NCAA tournament and SEC conference standings.
To start the game, the Aggies got out to a 5-0 lead and were playing at a quick pace early on. The issue was A&M’s frenetic pace, leading to sloppy play in favor of Missouri.
Continued turnover issues for the Aggies gave Missouri its first lead at 8-7. As the half wore on, the game slowed a bit, with the game being tied at 11. Both offenses were struggling. For Missouri, its struggles came from the perimeter, while A&M was still committing too many turnovers.
A&M had 10 turnovers through 11 minutes and most of them were self-induced. However, the Aggies did manage to force three Missouri shot clock violations
Graduate guard Dexter Dennis continued to make highlight plays and helped build a 34-23 lead for the maroon and white. The Aggies were starting to look more comfortable dealing with the Tigers’ pressure defense.
Towards the end of the half, Missouri switched to a 1-3-1 zone to give A&M a different look. A deep 3-pointer from sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV at the end of the half gave the maroon and white a 39-25 lead going into the break.
For the maroon and white, stellar play from Taylor and Dennis were the catalyst for its halftime lead. Both had 14 points. The Aggies shot an efficient 50% from the field and 41.7% from the 3-point line.
It was a different story for Missouri, who shot 30% from both the field and 3-point line. The main issue for the Tigers was that the Aggies were doing a great job of chasing them off 3-point shots. Missouri is known for shooting a lot of 3-pointers, and A&M made a point to make it score elsewhere.
A&M carried over its momentum into the second half, using its physicality to control play on both ends. It seemed Missouri’s only hope was to get red-hot from the 3-point line. Otherwise, the Aggies looked poised to sweep both regular season matchups against the Tigers.
Give credit to Missouri, who started to give A&M a taste of its own medicine by attacking both the paint and offensive glass to rack up free throw attempts. The Aggies saw their lead dwindle to 45-35 with 16 minutes left in the game.
A&M responded with a 6-0 run of its own to build its lead back to 51-35 and force the Tigers to call a timeout.
Halfway through the second half, Missouri got within eight points of A&M, 56-48, behind an 8-0 run. The Tigers started to find their footing on offense and the Aggies went cold on the other end. Coach Buzz Williams called a timeout to try to get A&M back on track and close out the game.
Coming out of the timeout, Williams got just the response he wanted in the form of a 3-pointer from senior guard Tyrece Radford. Missouri responded on the other end with a step-back 3-pointer of its own to keep A&M’s lead at 8 points.
Approaching the five minute mark, both teams continued to trade baskets as A&M’s lead hovered around 8 points. The Aggies started to gain back a little bit of momentum, building their lead back to 67-53 with three minutes left.
Despite the Aggies’ sloppy play to close out the game, they were able to close out the Tigers, 69-60.
Saturday’s victory was more of the same for A&M in conference play. The Aggies used their toughness on defense and strong play from their guard trio: Taylor, Radford and Dennis to get the road win.
The maroon and white’s win improved their overall record to 20-7 and 12-2 in the SEC. The Aggies remain in second place in the SEC, with Alabama still holding a one game lead.
Next up for A&M is a home matchup against the No. 10 Tennessee Volunteers on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Tipoff at Reed Arena is set for 6:00 p.m.

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