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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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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

A&M’s efforts not enough to upset No. 1 Tennessee

When the No. 1 team in the country comes to town, there’s always the possibility of catapulting into the national spotlight and salvaging a season that many felt was lost.
That’s what Texas A&M basketball looked to do Saturday night at Reed Arena as the Aggies welcomed No. 1 Tennessee. Despite coming within two points of tying the game, A&M fell to Tennessee 93-76 in the end.
While the Aggies have struggled to find their rhythm this season, there have been glimpses of potential, including a marquee victory over Kansas State last Saturday during the SEC-BIG 12 Challenge.
With 12 minutes left in the game, A&M came within five points of the Vols, prompting a Tennessee time out. Once A&M came out of the timeout, sophomore guard Brandon Mahan cut the Volunteers lead to two with a corner shot that ignited not only the team, but Reed Arena.
But UT’s high-powered offense would not allow the Aggies to get any closer. After A&M came within a basket, the Vols pulled away.
A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said while A&M was able to get within striking distance of Tennessee, the Vols ability to create separation on offense ultimately took a toll on the Aggies.
“I felt we wore them down a little bit and that’s when we made that run,” Kennedy said. “Defensively is where we were hit hard, and we couldn’t guard.”
Kennedy said despite the 17-point loss, he felt like the Aggies played some of the best basketball they have this season.
“I thought offensively, they were by far the best offensive Aggies that we’ve played,” Kennedy said. “I thought our guys competed and fought hard.”
On the other side of the ball, the Volunteers were 40-of-62 from the field, shooting 64.5 percent. Kennedy said while the Aggies gave their best efforts, it was hard to contain the Vols, especially when four of the starting five had double digit games.
“Unfortunately for us, we played the number one team in the country that played like the number one team in the country,” Kennedy said.
Sophomore guard Savion Flagg said the Volunteer lineup was one of the hardest to guard due to their versatility.
“You really can’t help off anyone when they were shooting as well as they were,” Flagg said. “You couldn’t double Grant [Williams] because he is kicking out and making a play, so it was hard to key in on one guy.”
Mahan was one of the biggest contributors off the bench for A&M. Despite playing 17 minutes, Mahan went 4-for-4 from three-point range for 12 points.
The Aggies will hit the road to take on Ole Miss Wednesday night. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

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