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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Kentucky takes down Texas A&M, wins SEC regular-season title

Kentucky+freshman+guard%26%23160%3BDeAaron+Fox%26%23160%3Bfinished+the+game+with+19+points.
Photo by Photo by: C. Morgan Engel

Kentucky freshman guard De’Aaron Fox finished the game with 19 points.

After trailing 19-4 in the opening five minutes, the No. 9 Kentucky Wildcats overcame the deficit, and downed Texas A&M 71-63 Saturday to win the SEC regular-season title outright.
The Wildcats now have 48 SEC titles and five in the last eight years under head coach John Calipari.
A&M (16-14, 8-10 SEC) started hot out of the gates and held Kentucky scoreless through the first 4:41 of the game, creating a 15-point lead, but by halftime it disappeared. The Aggies managed to get inside and create free-throw opportunities, but struggled mightily from the stripe — going 12-for-25.
“Our guys were ready,” A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said of the team’s fast start. “They did what we asked them to do. Defensively, we tried to take the pick and roll away in the middle of the floor. Offensively we went inside, moving the ball side to side. But you have to give Kentucky credit for never breaking. I thought if we had made some free throws in the second half to put a little pressure on them, we would have been in this game.”
Kentucky’s (26-5, 16-2) leading scorer and projected lottery pick Malik Monk, who averages 21 points per game, struggled mightily and went 2-of-10 from the field scoring six points. Freshman De’ Aaron Fox picked up the slack for his fellow point guard and scored a team-high 19 points.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari said after the game that the team can’t put too much pressure on its leading scorer and that he was proud of Fox’s effort to step in.
“De’Aaron (Fox) was ridiculous, both the energy that he showed, his defensive plays, his drives and the three-point plays,” Calipari said. “He has given this team such a lift. But what is happening, there is only few thing we can do. We can’t start six, we can only start five, and I have great kids.”
Fox, a Houston native who attended Cypress Lakes High School 77 miles from College Station, said most of his friends attend A&M and that he was happy to put on a good performance for them.
“It was fun to be able to play in front of family and friends,” said Fox. “I knew most of the students out here tonight. It doesn’t necessarily motivate me because the last few games I’ve been playing in front of friends and I’ve been playing my best basketball. It’s just fun to do it front of them.”
Edrice Adebayo also helped provide a spark for the Wildcats.The 6-foot-10, 260 lb. power forward scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Despite scoring 19 points in the first eight minutes of the contest, the maroon and white’s offense sputtered and scored only nine points for the remainder of the first half allowing Kentucky to comeback and take a 32-28 lead at the intermission.
Admon Gilder led the way in scoring for the Aggies with 22 points, five rebounds and a steal. The sophomore has now scored 20 points five times this season.
In possibly his last regular season game with the Aggies, freshman Robert Williams scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds which secured him his 11th double-double this season.
In the second half Kentucky never relinquished its lead but allowed A&M to stay within striking distance. Gilder helped the Aggies cut the lead to four with six minutes left in the fourth quarter but Kentucky didn’t let up.
With 2:11 remaining Fox secured the victory when he drove through the lane and made a layup putting the Wildcats up 63-53.
Calipari, now 6-2 against the Aggies, emphasized how important the game for seeding purposes in the NCAA Tournament.
“This is for your seed, this is all about your seed, and this is not about just this game,” Calipari said. “The better your seed is, the better chance for advancing, and what you want is to force them to give you the seed you deserve, and to do that you have got to win games.”
The result secured the Aggies the No. 10 seed in the 2017 SEC Tournament. They will play at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Their opponent is yet to be determined.
Tyler Davis said the Aggies are confident in their ability heading into the tournament and that they will have a simple mindset.
“Just take it one game at a time,” Davis said. “It doesn’t matter who we are playing. The next game is the most important.”

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  • Freshman forward Robert Williams was on the receiving end of multiple alley-oops against the Wildcats. 

    Photo by Photo by: C. Morgan Engel
  • Head Coach John Calipari is 6-2 all-time against the Aggies. 

    Photo by Photo by: C. Morgan Engel
  • Junior center Tonny Trocha-Morelos fades over the Wildcat defender. 

    Photo by Photo by: C. Morgan Engel
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