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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M defeats No. 2 Alabama in Senior Night showdown

Photo by Photo by Ishika Samant

Senior G Tyrece Radford (23) shoots a layup during a game vs. Alabama on March 4, 2023.

Ten. The pom-poms of the Aggie Dance Team shimmer in the arena lights.
Nine. Signs wave in the crowds.
Eight. The stands shake with the force of the 12th Man.
Seven. Students began pushing their way toward the barriers of the court.
Six. Hands bounce in the air as the arena speakers blare “All I do is Win.”
Five. Alabama has the ball and makes a move down the court.
Four. Foul.
Three. Senior guard Tyrece Radford steps up to the line, two shots — good.
Two. The ball is back in the hands of the Crimson Tide.
One. It’s too late.
The buzzer rings out in harmony with the yells of both Aggie fans and players: Texas A&M had defeated No. 2 Alabama.
On Saturday, March 4, the maroon and white faced the Tide at home in Reed Arena for Senior Night. After Auburn’s overtime loss on March 1, the match between A&M and Alabama no longer decided the fate of the number one spot in the SEC, but that did not keep either team from playing their hardest.
“In truth, I think our guys were receptive to the plans of the coaches, but I think our guys were wanting to win for one another,” coach Buzz Williams said. “I think they wanted to win to cap off a 9-0 home record in conference play. I think they were wanting to win their 15th conference win in 100 years.”
After getting the jump ball to start the game, Alabama’s first two attempts to the basket ended with an out-of-bounds pass to put the ball in A&M’s hands. The Aggies took advantage of the opportunity to put the first points on the board with a shot from sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV and a 3-pointer from graduate guard Dexter Dennis to cement a 5-0 run.
Freshman guard Jaden Bradley made a 3-pointer to put the Tide in the game, but as the fouls and turnovers racked up, the maroon and white put their foot on the gas. Bradley made a drive towards the basket but a wild pass put the ball in Radford and, ultimately, junior forward Henry Coleman III for a dunk to put the Aggies up 9-3.
In a strange turn of events, Alabama freshman forward Noah Clowney lost his shoe on the court and was unable to move cross-court, however not even that could halt A&M’s offensive and defensive momentum. By halftime, the Aggies led 32-22 with their largest lead of the half being up 15 points. Despite holding the Tide back in the first half, the defensive stats did not reflect A&M’s time with the lead. Both teams were tied in defensive rebounds, with 16, and Alabama out-numbering A&M in offensive rebounds with nine and four, respectively.
Where the difference showed is the 12 Tide turnovers compared to the Aggies’ seven.
“They’ve [Alabama] been down at halftime for the last three games,” Taylor said. “I knew they was gonna come out with a good punch. So, we just wanted to go out with the same mentality and the same energy.”
The second half saw the battle of wills, as the Tide fought for a comeback and the Aggies fought to hold on to their lead. And hold on they did. Taylor earned his third foul early in the second half but it did not prevent his aggressiveness in the paint and from the arc. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Taylor and Radford put A&M ahead more, but Alabama did not back down, back-to-back 3-pointers of their own to bring the game within 2.
The maroon and white managed to pull away but the Tide rushed in right after them, tying the game up at 45-45. From there, the Tide and the aggies traded back-and-forth blows with neither able to pull away with four minutes left despite leading efforts by freshman forward Brandon Miller and Taylor for their teams.
“I know we needed to get a bucket and continue to just play our game,” Taylor said. “Bradon is a phenomenal player and he had a wonderful game tonight. [It’s] just a little friendly competition making the game very competitive, as it was. I just know that he would score and I would score but I just know that our team would get a stop and we’d be fine.”
With two minutes left in the game, Miller fouled on and initiated a parade of fouls by the Tide that allowed A&M to run away with the lead. Alabama could not get out of its own way with a turnover or foul almost every time the ball was in its hands for the last minute of play. As the last seconds ticked off the clock, a dunk from Tide sophomore center Charles Bediako was not enough. The Aggies took the win, 67-61.
A&M’s ability to create and take advantage of opportunities got them the win, with 27 of the 67 points coming from the charity stripe and 13 points off turnovers. Taylor and Radford led the Aggies on offense with 28 and 21, respectively. Miller was the front-runner on offense for Alabama with 19 points. With 43 total rebounds, Alabama beat A&M against the glass but was neck-and-neck on steals only one less than the Aggies’ seven.
The matchup ends the regular season for the maroon and white as they finish 23-8 overall and 15-3 in conference. Their post-season begins with the SEC Tournament on March 8-12 where A&M will play its first game on Friday, March 10 against a to-be-announced opponent. Following the SEC Tournament, the Aggies will set their sights on the NCAA Tournament but for now, Taylor said the only thing on his, and the team’s, mind is the “SEC Tournament, that’s it.”

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