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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

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
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Junior Mary Stoiana reacts during Texas A&M’s match against Oklahoma at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional at Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, May 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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No. 13 Texas A&M women’s tennis met Virginia in the quarterfinal of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 17 at the Greenwood Tennis Center...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

A&M gets back on track in blowout win against HCU

Sophomore+F+Solomon+Washington+%2813%29+laughs+at+the+HCU+team+after+a+techincal+foul+on+Friday%2C+Dec.+22%2C+2023+at+Reed+Arena.+%28Ishika+Samant%2FThe+Battalion%29
Photo by Ishika Samant

Sophomore F Solomon Washington (13) laughs at the HCU team after a techincal foul on Friday, Dec. 22, 2023 at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

After a gut-wrenching loss to the No. 4 Houston Cougars on Saturday, Dec. 16, the Texas A&M men’s basketball team returned to Reed Arena, looking to bounce back against the Houston Christian Huskies.
Despite shooting a subpar 39.3% in the first half, the Aggies were able to finish the half with a commanding 40-21 lead over the Huskies. A&M attacked the paint, leading to 12 personal fouls from the Huskies in the first half alone.
The Maroon and White kept their momentum going in the second half, and the team’s defense led them to a 79-52 blowout win over the Huskies.
Senior guard Hayden Hefner led the way for A&M, as he exploded for a career-high 24 points.
Junior G Jace Carter also put together a great performance of his own, recording his first double-double in an Aggie uniform with 10 points and a season-high 12 rebounds.
The win gives the Aggies a perfect 11-0 all-time record against the Huskies, and this was the third-largest margin of victory for A&M over HCU, with the highest being 47 during the 1975-76 season.
The Aggies have a defense that’s flying under the radar
For the most part, A&M has played very good defense so far this season that has gone unnoticed by some.
The Aggies have held opponents to 70 or less in three of their 12 games played so far this season, and a big reason why is their ability to dominate the boards.
Carter was not the only Aggie to record double-digit rebounds against HCU, as senior forward Andersson Garcia tallied a monstrous 19 rebounds of his own. Garcia is currently tied for the fifth-most rebounds in the SEC this season with 81, with senior F Henry Coleman not far behind at 91.
Another area the Maroon and White have excelled at on defense is forcing turnovers. The Aggies have forced 16.3 turnovers per game in 2023, an increase of 3.1 from last season.
Although A&M has been playing great in these regards, they have struggled to guard the 3-point line this year. Teams have made 155 of 455 total 3-pointers this season against the Aggies, which is a solid .341 percentage. If A&M can focus on shutting down the 3 ball, the sky’s the limit for the team defensively.
Hayden Hefner is the X-Factor
If the Aggies want to lay claim to a national championship come March, Hefner playing at a high level will be a reason why.
Hefner has the third-most points for A&M this season at 91, with only Taylor and Coleman having more. The senior sharpshooter is the team’s most efficient 3-point shooter, and talent like that is badly needed on an Aggies team still seeking more consistency on the offensive end.
Games like tonight against the Huskies that proved his value to the squad.
With Taylor having a dismal shooting night where he only made two of eight baskets, Hefner led the charge and pushed A&M to a win, nailing three 3-pointers in the win.
“Believe in yourself,” Hefner said. “Believing every shot you put up has a good chance to go in. There’s a reason they go in.”
Even with key players missing, A&M has taken care of business
This season for the Aggies has been far from perfect; however, one thing the team has done a good job with is beating the teams they’re supposed to, especially as they wrap up non-conference play.
The Maroon and White’s four losses so far in 2023 have been to teams that are currently ranked in the top 25 of the AP Poll.
In addition, the Aggies only lost one of these games by double digits, which was on the road against the Virginia Cavaliers. While it would have been great for the team’s resume to take one of these games, it’s a good sign that the Aggies have beaten who they’re expected to.
All of their wins this season may be against unranked teams, but they have dominated most of these games, as five of their eight wins have come by double-digit margins. It’s never good to be the victim of an upset, and the Aggies have done a good job avoiding this.
The team is missing key players such as senior F Julius Marble and graduate G Tyrece Radford. The results of some of their losses could have been very different if they were at full strength, especially considering losses like Houston and FAU came down to the wire.
With conference play approaching, the Aggies must focus on getting healthy, and it could be the difference between them having an unsuccessful March and hoisting the tournament trophy.

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