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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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Nothing in life is free

Aggies fall to Ole Miss in second game of home stint
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  • Mississippi forward Moussa Cisse (33) dunks the ball during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Students read the paper during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M guard Tyrece Radford (23) dribbles the ball up the court during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Mississippi guard TJ Caldwell (2) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Mississippi guard Brandon Murray (0) catches a rebound during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Mississippi guard Allen Flanigan (7) fights for the rebound against Texas A&M forward Solomon Washington (13) during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M guard Hayden Hefner (2) grabs the ball during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Mississippi guard Brandon Murray (0) shoots a layup during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Mississippi forward Moussa Cisse (33) catches a rebound during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M guard Tyrece Radford (23) and Texas A&M forward Andersson Garcia (11) try to grab the rebound during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M forward Wildens Leveque (10) tries to catch the rebound during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Mississippi forward Jacob Gazzo (24) looks to pass the ball during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M forward Solomon Washington (13) claps during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M head coach Buzz Williams yells during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Mississippi forward Moussa Cisse (33) questions a call during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M forward Henry Coleman III (15) grabs a rebound during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M guard Jace Carter (0) tries to catch a loose ball during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M head coach Buzz Williams during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M guard Tyrece Radford (23) shoots a free throw during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M forward Solomon Washington (13) walks out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

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Nothing is given in the SEC, so taking advantage of a home-court advantage is paramount.

Texas A&M men’s basketball seemed to be in hot water in the second half, going down as much as 11 with 15:33 left. However, the Aggies clawed back, and with 9:11 left, regained the lead off of a 3 from junior guard Jace Carter.

Unfortunately for the Maroon and White, the Rebels’ backcourt was unfazed, and with 22 seconds left, junior G Jaylen Murray drilled a dagger 3, giving Ole Miss the final lead of the night.

Graduate G Tyrece Radford’s game-tying 3 airballed in the closing seconds, and in front of a packed Reed Arena, pinked out for BTHO Breast Cancer, A&M couldn’t control the Rebels, losing 71-68.

Free throws finally beat the Aggies

The charity stripe — despite the name — has not been very giving to A&M in the last few games. Despite this, the Aggies have managed to squeak by on not-so-great free-throw shooting.

This time, however, poor shooting from the line finally bit the Maroon and White.

Against the Rebels, A&M shot 54.4% from the line, going 12-22. No Aggie shot better than 75%, and junior G Wade Taylor shot just 62.5%.

No one is expecting the Aggies to be perfect from the line, but shooting around 50% from the part of the court that is labeled as “free”, is not a recipe for success. In fact, it’s a recipe for failure.

Simply put, the margin of error in this conference does not allow you to beat good teams like Ole Miss shooting poorly from any part of the court, whether that be from 3, from 2, or from the free-throw line.

The Maroon and White were respectable in the first two categories, but the last one did them in. It will continue to do so unless the Aggies can bump up their free-throw shooting.

A&M out-rebounding the Rebels despite their size is a welcome sign for Aggie fans

To call Ole Miss a big basketball team is a disrespect to the Rebels.

The smallest player on Ole Miss’ roster that sees major minutes is 5 ’11 junior G Jaylen Murray, but everyone else has at least a 6 or a 7 in front of their height. This includes 7 ‘5 senior forward Jamarion Sharp, a two-time Conference USA Defensive Player of the year, leading the country in blocks per game the last two years.

This could have been one that the Aggies chalked up to a biological disadvantage and called it a day. In the first half, it seemed like they might, as A&M was tied at nine with the Rebels in offensive rebounds.

However, the Maroon and White went on to out-offensive rebound Ole Miss 18-13, with Carter bringing down five.

The Aggies out-rebounded the Rebels 42-34 in all, and for Aggie fans, this is a welcome sign. With most of A&M’s offense coming from offensive rebounds and second-chance points — in which the Aggies had 19 — if anyone had found the recipe to stopping it, it was going to be the Rebels and their size.

With possessions coming at a premium, and with how A&M has shot the ball this year, anything significantly less than its nation-leading 18.68 offensive rebounds a game could be dangerous for the offense.

The Aggies won’t see many teams bigger than Ole Miss, so proving themselves on the glass against them should be a sigh of relief for Aggie fans. The only people that can seem to stop the Maroon and White from out-offensive rebounding them is themselves.

The next stretch of games are must wins

There are no gimmes in conference play, but if there were any, it would be A&M’s next few.

The Aggies final game of their home stint, Florida, will be challenging, but A&M gets an entire week to prepare with no mid-week game this week.

The Maroon and White then go to Missouri, whom the Aggies have already beat. They then get Tennessee, which will be one of A&M’s biggest games this season, but get the luxury of playing at home. Then the Aggies go to Vanderbilt, the worst team in the conference.

This next stretch of games offers multiple resume-building opportunities, but also gives the Aggies a chance to take care of business in some winnable games. If A&M wants to keep its projected seeding in the NCAA tournament, they have to take care of business and take advantage of some tough, but favorable, games.

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About the Contributor
Hunter Mitchell, Associate Sports Editor
Hunter Mitchell is a sport management senior minoring in journalism. Hunter has covered football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, volleyball, softball, hockey, cross country, track and field, along with swim and dive. Hunter's favorite sport is college basketball, and he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association. Hunter also hosts weekly episodes of the Home Turf sports podcast.
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