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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

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Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

A&M men’s basketball losing streak continues to 8 games

Photo by Photo by Ishika Samant

Sophomore Henry Coleman catches a rebound

Going on the road in the SEC is never a simple task. Facing the country’s top-ranked team in Auburn in front of a sold-out ESPN College Gameday crowd and environment in the midst of a seven-game losing streak doesn’t make it any easier. On top of that, the Tigers were looking to bounce back from their first loss since November.
The last time Texas A&M defeated a ranked team was Auburn in 2020, and coming into this game the Aggies sported a perfect 5-0 record at Auburn Arena. But each year is different, and Saturday’s game embodied the shifting sands of time as Auburn’s defense and rim protection, along with A&M’s disappointing shooting, paved the way toward downing the maroon and white.
Coach Buzz Williams said there were numerous problems on offense in the paint and beyond, but it was great for the team to be involved in a big-game setting at Auburn’s arena.
“We didn’t convert at the rim the way we needed to; obviously in rotation we didn’t make catch-shoot shots at the rate that we needed to,” Williams said. “[Auburn] was an incredible environment — [playing] a team that’s good enough to win a national championship.”
A&M didn’t score its first bucket for the first four minutes of the game with Auburn’s menacing frontcourt and active guards making it tough to get open shots. The Tigers’ defense played that way all afternoon, and it was hard for the Aggies to have consecutive, quality offensive possessions. Midway through the first half, the maroon and white already had five turnovers and Auburn had blocked eight shots.
Auburn’s 7-foot-1 sophomore center Walker Kessler gave A&M issues and affected its inside presence a ton. He racked up seven blocks himself in just the first half and forced a number of other missed shots in the interior.
However, the Aggies were able to hang around with their offensive rebounding and creating turnovers. Ultimately, their shooting massively lagged, going 7-for-39 from the field and 0-for-10 beyond the arc at the half.
Auburn went on a 13-0 run with around six minutes left to separate and rode that into the locker room to lead 33-18. The curious part of the half is A&M having a 29-20 rebounding advantage and 14 offensive rebounds. These are things that have brought the Aggies success this season, but it doesn’t matter when the shooting performance is going poorly, especially against the best team in the nation.
That deficit grew to 22 points in the first five minutes of the second half, and Auburn’s defense continued to be suffocating with A&M shooting 0-for-5 in that span of time before hitting its first shot. The Aggies also started to fall behind on the boards unlike earlier in the game, which Auburn used in its favor to continue growing the lead with great ball movement to set up alley-oops for the big men and other open shot attempts.
Kessler kept on being a nuisance for A&M and started to have more of an impact on the offensive end with his post game, not to mention his rebounding ability that comes with his towering height.
He was easily the game’s most impactful player with a triple-double — the third in Auburn’s history — of 12 points, 11 rebounds and 12 blocks, the most in a single game in program history. He became the fifth SEC player in history to log at least two triple-doubles in a season.
Sophomore forward Henry Coleman III said the size of the Tigers presented problems for the Aggies, especially in the offensive paint.
“It was pretty difficult [to deal with their size],” Coleman III said. “Both of their bigs are great shot blockers, very physical. It was hard to get around the rim.”
The Tigers continued to salt away the game in the latter portion of the second half, steadily maintaining a fluctuating 15-20 point lead. Their rebounding numbers improved and eventually grew to match A&M‘s while drawing numerous fouls to get to the free-throw line and half any chance of momentum for the Aggies.
The final score read 75-58, with Coleman III scoring 10 points and grabbing 13 rebounds to earn his second straight double-double and third of the season. Graduate guard Quenton Jackson logged a team-leading 11 points, his 10th time leading the Aggies in scoring this year.
Williams said the losing isn’t affecting the team internally in any way, that everyone is on the same page and that people have had good attitudes toward things like changes to the lineup and rotations.
“I think our guys have absorbed [changes] in the right way, nobody has had a bad attitude and there hasn’t been any level of drama,” Williams said. “Our guys were together and connected. We have a lot of work to do, but I was encouraged with the togetherness they played with from start to finish.”
A&M’s next shot at breaking this skid comes on Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. against Florida at Reed Arena. The Gators have won four straight over the maroon and white, with the latest matchup in the 2020 season. The game can be watched on SEC Network.

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