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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 Battalion May 4, 2024

A&M falls on the road at Arkansas

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Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior F Henry Coleman III (15) jumps to shoot a layup during Texas A&M’s game against SMU at Reed Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022.

Outside of a blip on the road against Kentucky, Texas A&M men’s basketball had been cruising to the tune of a 7-1 record through the start of its conference season. Next up for A&M was a matchup against the talented Arkansas Razorbacks. Arkansas came into the season with high expectations and an 11-2 start in nonconference play, but has struggled in the SEC with a 4-5 record.
From tipoff, A&M looked out of sync offensively, missing shots the team has made a habit of converting during conference play. What kept A&M in the game was its effort on the defensive end. This led to both teams trading leads throughout the first 10 minutes of the game.
Despite shooting under 40%, the maroon and white still found a way to only trail by 4 points just 11 minutes into the game.
As the half wore on, the Aggies started to find their footing offensively. However, so were the Razorbacks and allowed for their lead to hold at around six points.
Heading towards the end of the half, Arkansas started to build its lead. Arkansas was flying around on both ends and playing like a team with its season on life support. With roughly five minutes left, Arkansas led 31-21.
A quick 5-0 run started by a 3-pointer from senior guard Tyrece Radford calmed the maroon and white down a bit. A 3-point play from sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV continued the Aggies’ spurt and got them to within 4 points of the Razorbacks.
What stood out in the first half was A&M’s ability to get offensive rebounds. With two minutes left to play, A&M had nine offensive rebounds. This was important because those additional offensive possessions helped offset its struggles in the first half.
The half evolved into something of a battle of free-throws between the two teams. After a pair of Taylor free-throws, Arkansas led 37-32.
Arkansas closed out the first half strong, and went into the break with a 42-34 lead over A&M.
Statistically, not one player stood out for the Aggies offensively. All five starters accounted for all 34 points and each player had over five points. The maroon and white struggled from the field, shooting under 35% and under 60% from the free-throw line. On the other hand, Arkansas shot over 55% from the field and 80% from the line. All in all, A&M was fortunate to find itself trailing under 10 points going into the second half.
The second half started off slowly for both teams. The Razorbacks managed to hold onto their 46-37 lead with the Aggies, who continued to struggle both from the field and free-throw line.
A&M started to claw its way back into the game and continued to rely heavily on the defense. A&M held Arkansas scoreless for roughly four minutes and got to within 6 points. Arkansas responded to build its lead back up to 10 points, but another Radford 5-0 run got A&M to within five points. With 12 minutes left, Arkansas led 52-47.
Arkansas continued to put pressure on A&M and built its lead back up to 11 points at 60-49.
As the half continued, the Aggies looked less likely to mount a comeback. Arkansas could do no wrong and held all of the momentum with seven minutes left in the game.
Despite Arkansas’ best efforts, A&M still refused to go away. The Aggies went on a run that culminated in a ferocious dunk from graduate guard Dexter Dennis to get the team to within 4 points with just over four minutes left to go. However, a put-back from freshman forward Jordan Walsh got Arkansas’ lead back to 70-64.
A Taylor 3-pointer off an offensive rebound got the maroon and white to within 5 points of the Razorbacks with 90 seconds left to play.
In the end, Arkansas pulled away in the final minute to pick up the 81-70 victory over A&M. The loss dropped A&M’s overall record to 15-7 and conference record to 7-2. A&M is now third in the SEC conference standings.
By far, the most impressive players for the Razorbacks were twin senior forward/centers Makhi and Makhel Mitchell. Coincidentally, it was also their birthday. The pair combined for 10 blocks. Makhel’s seven blocks were especially impressive as his presence in the paint seemed to affect maroon and white layups throughout the game.
For the Aggies, Taylor, Radford and junior forward Henry Coleman had 18, 17 and 18, respectively. The issue was none of them were particularly efficient from the field. As a team, the maroon and white shot 34% from the field and a dismal 58% from the free-throw line. One of the main issues for the Aggies this season has been their free-throw shooting, and it came back to bite them against the Razorbacks.
A&M coach Buzz Williams said the team’s inability to finish at the rim was one of the main reasons for its loss to Arkansas.
“We shot half of our balls at the rim and that’s really good,” Williams said. “We just did not finish at a high rate. We shot 34% for the game and 37% at the rim. We just didn’t finish at the rim at the rate we have to, but it wasn’t because we weren’t attacking.”
Next up for the Aggies is a return to Reed Arena on Saturday, Feb. 4, to face the Georgia Bulldogs. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

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