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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

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M cruise to victory over South Carolina

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior F Henry Coleman III (15) jumps for the ACU basket after forcing a turnover during Texas A&M’s game against ACU at Reed Arena on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.

Texas A&M men’s basketball’s 2023 conference slate couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. Thus far, the Aggies were undefeated. Under Buzz Williams, A&M has been a streaky program. Just last year the Aggies had both an eight-game winning streak and eight-game losing streak. For A&M to take the next step as a program, it will have to avoid long losing streaks. Avoiding such streaks involves being consistent. Saturday’s game on Jan. 14 against South Carolina offered the maroon and white another opportunity to demonstrate such consistency.
From tip off, A&M took control of the game by quickly building an 18-5 lead. Early on, most of the Aggies’ offense came from inside the paint. As the half went on A&M started to mix in some shots from the 3-point line as well.
An 18-2 run swell the Aggies lead to 30-7 with around 8 minutes left in the first half. As good as the maroon and white’s offense was, it was their defense that gave the Gamecocks the biggest problems.
South Carolina struggled to get much of anything going offensively. A&M’s defense did a great job of stifling drives and forcing South Carolina into taking difficult shots from the perimeter. Efficient offense from A&M coupled with its defense led to the game getting out of hand very quickly. It got to a point in the second half where the Aggies seemed to make every shot they took no matter how contested. The maroon and white could do no wrong on either end of the floor.
At halftime A&M led 50-18. Statistically, A&M shot over 50% from the field and made six of its 13 3-point attempts. Every player with over 10 minutes of play time had a plus/minus of at least 20. Graduate guard Dexter Dennis and junior forward Julius Marble were the leaders in points with 11 and 13, respectively. A&M also managed to force eight South Carolina turnovers.
For South Carolina, it was tough out there in the first half. The team shot 29% from the field and 18% from the 3-point line. No player for South Carolina had more than 4 points. Going into the second half, South Carolina was starting from square run and hoping for a miraculous collapse from A&M.
In the second half, the collapse was nowhere to be seen. South Carolina found more success offensively against A&M’s defense, but still hemorrhaged points on the defensive end.
The game gave the Aggies the opportunity to give more minutes to bench players, and impressively still managed to outscore the Gamecocks 44-35. In the end, the maroon and white took home the 94-53 victory to extend their current win streak to six games and stay perfect in the SEC. Sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV led the way in scoring with 20 points on an efficient 80% from the field. Taylor ended up being one of five Aggies to reach double figures.
While South Carolina was far more efficient in the second half, its field goal and 3-point percentage remained under 40 and 30% percent, respectively. Freshman guard Zachary Davis was South Carolina’s leading scorer with 13 points. 10 of Davis’ points came in the second half.
For the season, the maroon and white are 12-5, 4-0 in the SEC. One of the biggest factors in their current win streak is the Aggies’ strong defense. For the maroon and white to remain at the top of the SEC and ultimately reach the NCAA tournament, they will have to continue to play high level defense.
A&M coach Buzz Williams credited the staff and players for doing a great job of preparing for SEC offenses two weeks into conference play.
“I think our staff has done a really good job in the first two weeks of SEC play of taking the core of what we do defensively and then what’s specific to the opponent,” Williams said. “What tweaks do we need to make? Devin Johnson is our defensive coordinator and he’s been superb in those adjustments. I also think our guys should get some credit because those adjustments in real time, when it’s not the core of what you do, in order to win in this league, you have to be on point. I think our guys have been able to be consistent in their practice reps and those adjustments and those reps combined have really helped.”
Up next for the Aggies is a home matchup against Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 18. Tipoff at Reed Arena is set for 6 p.m.

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