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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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A&M men’s basketball comes from behind to take down Missouri

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Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore forward Henry Coleman III (15) led Texas A&M in scoring against Missouri with 18 points.

By the skin of their teeth, the Aggies kept their conference record spotless.
On Saturday, Jan. 15, Texas A&M men’s basketball traveled to Columbia, Mo., to take on Missouri in its fourth conference matchup of the season. The Aggies were looking to start the season 4-0 in conference play for the first time since the 2015-16 campaign.
The first nine minutes of play were nightmarish for the maroon and white. Turnovers and missed shots plagued the A&M offense, and a pair of 3-pointers from Missouri junior guard DaJuan Gordon fueled a 12-0 Missouri run to start the contest. A&M’s offense woke up near the 11-minute mark of the first half, and back-to-back layups from sophomore guard Marcus Williams and sophomore forward Henry Coleman III kept the early deficit manageable.
The final stanza of the first half saw both offenses slugging it out. Junior guard Tyrece Radford knocked down a pair of 3-point jumpers to give the A&M offense juice, but Missouri rebutted with five straight points from junior guard Jarron Coleman and a dunk from freshman forward Trevon Brazile.
With 20 seconds left in the first half, Coleman rattled home a layup to bring the Aggies within 10 to close out the first period. Missouri went to the locker room with a 34-24 advantage.
Following the game, Coleman said the Aggies had to match Missouri’s aggression in the paint to fight for layups and rebounds down low.
“It was a pretty physical game,” Coleman said. “There was a lot of bumping here and there, but that’s how you have to play some games. You have to put your big-boy shoes on and do some dirty work.”
The hot hands from the first half carried over into the second, as both teams seemed to have no issue putting the ball in the basket. Radford and Coleman started things off with back-to-back layups, and junior Andre Gordon splashed from beyond the arc to give the Aggies a spark.
Missouri answered the surge with an authoritative dunk by junior forward Kobe Brown and 2-point jumpers by Brazile and senior guard Javon Pickett. A&M took a timeout with 10:12 remaining, and the Tigers still led 51-41.
A&M came out of the timeout with a 7-0 run to get back into the thick of it. A Williams layup, a Radford jumper and a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Hassan Diarra brought the Aggies within three. A free throw and a layup from junior guard Amari Davis kept the Tigers comfortable momentarily, but a shootout was officially underway.
A minute later in the half, Williams bucketed a pair of free throws to bring A&M within one point. A turnover by Brown gave A&M possession, and Williams finished a layup to make the tally 57-56, and the Aggies had their first lead of the afternoon.
With the score locked at 61, Radford drove in for an unassisted layup to give the Aggies a two-point cushion. A clutch rebound from junior guard Aaron Cash gave A&M possession, and Andre Gordon knocked down a pair of free throws to extend the margin to four. With six seconds left, Missouri’s Jarron Coleman splashed a 3-pointer to bring the Tigers within one, but Diarra knocked down two ice cold free throws to extend the lead back to three. A&M sealed the 67-64 victory despite a last-minute attempt from the Tigers.
Late-game drama has been a recurring theme for the maroon and white this season. The Aggies overcame a double-digit deficit to take down Notre Dame in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational and won nail-biters against Arkansas and Georgia after surrendering large leads of their own.
A&M coach Buzz Williams said the team has the personnel on and off the floor to put the Aggies in the position to win during the waning moments of games.
“How are we going to respond? What’s required of us to respond on the offensive and defensive end?” Buzz Williams asked during the postgame press conference. “Categorically, you can look at the staff and the players and what they did to close the margin.”
Henry Coleman led A&M in points with 18, while Andre Gordon and Cash split the lead in rebounds with six each. Marcus Williams took home the crown in assists with six, and graduate student guard Quenton Jackson recorded a season-high five steals. The Aggies were largely carried by their starters on offense, as their 18 points from the bench were a low for conference play.
Diarra made several big shots for the maroon and white down the stretch, including the 3-pointer that fueled a late scoring run and the two free throws that kept A&M in a position to close out the game late.
While free throws have not been one of A&M’s strengths in the opening half of the season, Diarra said his continuous work at the charity stripe has prepared him for big moments late in games.
“I just work on free throws every day, work on my game every day,” Diarra said. “When the big moment comes, the work always comes out.”
Buzz Williams also sang Diarra’s praises, saying he is one of the players that the team looks to in clutch moments.
“I trust him with my life,” Buzz Williams said. “I thought he was a big part of the tide changing. … He just has the winner DNA gene.”
The victory moves the Aggies to 15-2 overall and 4-0 in SEC play, while the Tigers skid to 7-9 and 1-3 in SEC play.
Next up, the Aggies will host No. 18 Kentucky at Reed Arena in College Station on Thursday, Jan. 19. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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