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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 Oregon State in first match of Holiday Hoops

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Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior F Henry Coleman III (15) is knocked to the ground after jumping to shoot a layup during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon State at Reed Arena on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022.

Coaches and players alike leaped from their chairs. Shimmery maroon pom-poms glimmer in the stadium lights as the Aggie Dance Team cheered. The crowd, partially empty due to rigorous final exam schedules, echo as they yell and stomp in excitement. Sophomore guard Manny Obaseki swings from the bright orange rim. A steal from sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV thrown up court to junior forward Julius Marble allowed Obaseki to take to the air with a dunk to increase the score and force a timeout from the Beavers.
On Sunday, Dec. 11, Texas A&M men’s basketball had its first game of the Holiday Hoops lineup against the Oregon State Beavers in a battle of tempo that culminated in a 72-54 victory for the Aggies. The game saw the return of junior guard Hayden Hefner and junior guard Khalen Robinson to the court after missing previous games due to injury.
From the jump ball to the halftime whistle, the Aggies and the Beavers put on a show, contrasting their two different offensive playing styles. A&M, with its quick tempo play, wasted no time moving down the court to put 11 points on the board in five minutes. Oregon State, however, quickly found fault in its slow-tempo offense only stacking 3 points in the first three and a half minutes.
The early first half also placed a spotlight on the roll of turnovers, arguably one of Oregon States’ biggest weaknesses with 15 in its last game against the University of Southern California. On the other hand, one of A&M’s biggest strengths is its ability to force turnovers, averaging 18 forced turnovers a game. In the first half with the Aggies, the Beavers had seven turnovers compared to the Aggies’ nine, but the orange and black gave up 11 points off those turnovers while A&M only gave up 9.
The maroon and white controlled the glass with 18 rebounds in the first half, capitalizing on the Beavers’ 44% field goal record in the first half. However, despite an aggressive game on defense, the Aggie offense struggled to find their footing with a 37.5% record from the field and 33.3% completion from the 3-point line. Additionally, A&M was given opportunities from the free throw line with seven personal fouls by Oregon State, but only making five of the nine. Obaseki had a chance for a 3-point play off a foul on a 2-point shot in the paint, but missed the free throw attempt to leave the score at 13-10.
With 11 minutes left in the half, junior forward Henry Coleman III raced his way down the court and went up for a dunk only to be blocked against the glass by freshman guard Justin Rochelin and put the momentum back into the hands of the Beavers, saved only by a steal from Obaseki.
The Aggies started off hot, but lost their momentum to the Beavers’ undemanding game play as time ticked off, allowing for the black and orange to sink an 8-0 point run to tie the game at 22-22 before continuing their pursuit to a 30-26 lead at halftime. Oregon State freshman guard Jordan Pope and senior forward Dzmitry Ryuny tied as point leaders at halftime with 10 points each, marking Ryuny’s fourth time hitting double digits.
As the second half started, back-to-back 3-point shots and two free throws from senior guard Tyrece Radford added 8 points to the board, took the lead and gave the Aggies their tempo back. Five minutes deep into the second half, A&M rolled with a 18-5 run, making six of seven from the field and three out of four 3-point shots. With 10 minutes left in the game, the dunk from Obaseki and a 3-pointer from Radford pushed to A&M lead to 56-40, its largest lead of the night, as the Aggies continued to dominate in the paint and on the glass with rebounds and forcing shots through contact.
“I think that when we’re hooked up on defense, we’re one of the best in the country,” Graduate guard Dexter Dennis said. “We try to do that as much as we can, and the coaches get all the credit. Coach has been doing a good job of making sure we’re getting better every day, improving our weaknesses as a team and as individuals.”
With five minutes left, Oregon State hashed its ninth foul to make it one-and-one for A&M with the Beavers still needing to overcome a 13-point deficit. As the clock winded out its final seconds and the final horn was blown, A&M locked in its 18-point win over Oregon State. Dennis led the Fightin’ Farmers’ offense with 16 points and Taylor totaled six assists, while Radford and Marble piloted the defense, both with seven rebounds.
“The guys really bought in to the adjustments coach made when they laid down the plan for each player,” Marble said. “We were all focused in and that’s what you saw tonight. It goes back to the coaches. The adjustments we made have taken us out of long rotations and closeouts, going from one spot on the court and trying to contain the ball.”
The Aggies move to 6-3 with the win over the Beavers. Despite avoiding unnecessary mistakes, only tallying four team fouls, the disparity between the first and second half marron and white performances highlighted A&M’s need for consistency as SEC play looms just around the corner.
Holiday Hoops takes a break as the Aggies return to play in Memphis, Tenn. at FedEx Forum on the road against Memphis on Saturday, Dec. 17, with tip-off set for 6 p.m.

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