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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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Buzz Williams’ 300th career-win advances A&M to Round 3 of NIT

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March is known for upsets and top-seeded teams being dethroned. However, No. 1 Texas A&M is alive and well in the National Invitational Tournament. 

Even with A&M’s exclusion from March Madness, the Aggies have made a splash. On Saturday, March 19, A&M held off No. 5 Oregon in the NIT and advanced to the quarterfinals.

It was also a big day for coach Buzz Williams, as the win was his 300th as a head coach

“It means a lot,” Williams said. “The thing that I look back on is the chair that I sit in. I have to be responsible. I also have to represent our institution, our players and their families. I am living a dream bigger than any I ever had.”

The Round 2 battle began in the Aggies’ favor. Sophomore guard Hassan Diara fired a wide open 3-pointer to advance the score to 18-12.

The Ducks began to fall into a slump. At one point, the Aggies led by 13, but free throws placed Oregon back in the game. At the half, the Aggies led 37-28, shooting 53% from the field and 37.5% behind the arc. 

The spread-out attack proved to work. Buckets came from nine different Aggies in the first half, with graduate guard Quenton Jackson leading the bunch with 13 points. 

Despite the overwhelming height of Oregon’s forwards, 59% of A&M’s points came from the paint. A&M forwards sophomore Henry Coleman III, senior Ethan Henderson, freshman Javonte Brown and junior Aaron Cash defended Oregon’s 7-foot forwards well, holding them to only 24 points in the paint while the Aggies scored almost double, 42.

“We knew coming in that they were big,” Jackson said. “We put a big emphasis on boxing out. I think we did a poor job, but that was the emphasis: Get on the bigs and limit their second-chance points.”

In the second half, Oregon kept within a comfortable range. The back-and-forth affair went on for the first nine minutes until A&M demanded control. 

 

 

With momentum on their side, the fans in attendance at Reed Arena were heard. Fans rose to their feet when sophomore forward Hayden Hefner displayed an electric and-1 play to advance A&M’s lead to 14. 

To conclude the matchup, 11 different Aggies put points on the board, securing the 75-60 win at Reed Arena.

“[Our excitement is] through the roof, but we can’t get too high,” Jackson said. “We’ll celebrate it for a minute, but then we’ll lock back in. Work ain’t done.”

The Aggies will take on Wake Forest on Wednesday, March 22 for Round 3 of the NIT at Reed Arena. Tipoff will be announced at a later time.

“I think it’s a blessing … being able to play in front of these fans … especially after everything we’ve been through,” freshman guard Manny Obaseki said.

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  • Fifth-year guard Quenton Jackson (3) jumps to dunk on the Oregon basket in Reed Arena on Saturday, Mar. 19, 2022.

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