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

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M men’s basketball tops Arkansas in exciting SEC home opener

Fifth+year+guard+Quenton+Jackson+%283%29+jumps+for+a+layup+on+the+Arkansas+goal+in+the+Aggies+game+against+the+Razorbacks+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+8%2C+2022.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Fifth year guard Quenton Jackson (3) jumps for a layup on the Arkansas goal in the Aggies’ game against the Razorbacks on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022.

Despite a collection of unknowns headed into the 2020-21 season, Texas A&M is showing it is ready for the Southeastern Conference.
On Saturday, Jan. 8, A&M secured its second SEC win, advancing its record to 13-2.
Right off the tip, Arkansas came out with SEC-caliber aggressiveness and an 8-2 start, then quickly upped its lead to 13-5. However, the Aggies were prepared. Freshman standout guard Wade Taylor IV sank a 3-pointer and began to close the score gap for the Aggies.
“We did not play well the first six minutes of the game, but I do think the energy and the spirit with which we competed was excellent,” coach Buzz Williams said.
The Razorbacks dominated the boards in the first half with 23 rebounds compared to the maroon and white’s 17 rebounds. The Aggies then began to find their rhythm, only trailing by five points with eight minutes remaining in the first half.
Once again, the bench players heavily contributed to the point total. Graduate guard Quenton Jackson stole and put up a lay-up to cut the Aggies’ deficit to three, which led to a roar at Reed Arena. Sophomore guard Marcus Williams tied the game up 29-all with a 3-point shot, and the Aggies took their first lead with a free throw from Jackson.
Starting sophomore forward Henry Coleman III dominated on both sides of the ball, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds. With two minutes remaining, Arkansas struggled to gain momentum while Marcus Williams thrilled the crowd with a layup off a fast break. The maroon and white led 37-35 at half time.
“I knew [the fans] would be behind us,” Jackson said. “When we were in warm-ups, I saw people walking up in the nosebleeds. I knew it would be a good one.”
Junior guards Andre Gordon and Tyrece Radford started off the second half with a bang, each downing a shot from behind the 3-point line. The energy of Reed Arena continued to build for the Aggies, and another 3-pointer from Taylor raised the score to 56-41. The Aggies scored 16 points unanswered.
“The game presents different things, and you never know what it’s going to present,” Buzz Williams said.
To up the score to 65-48, a steal from Gordon sent Radford on a fast-break, who launched the ball to Jackson and finished with a jumper, electrifying the 12th Man crowd. The Razorbacks began to fight back nearing the end of the half, closing the score gap to 70-62, A&M.
A&M struggled to finish the game, resulting in a late comeback effort for Arkansas. Jackson sank a 3-pointer with 34 seconds remaining, and sophomore guard Hassan Diara expanded the Aggies’ lead with two clutch free throws.
“Hassan [Diara] did not play as many minutes as all of us wanted him to play, but when he was thrown in there, he did what he was supposed to do,” Jackson said. “The little things matter. It’s not about how much you play, it’s about the impact you have on the floor.”
A&M finalized the matchup 86-81.
Gordon said the crowd contributed to the win and encouraged fans to come support.
“The more the merrier,” Gordon said. “We need [the fans] to pull up. It’s good to have a crowd like that. It helps us out with motivation and momentum.”

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