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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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Kid from Queens shakes Reed

Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior guard Hassan Diarra passes the ball to his teammate after being knocked to the floor.

One final shot is all it took for the Aggies to take home the win. 

Texas A&M men’s basketball secured its second win of the season against Abilene Christian with an 81-80 victory on Friday, Nov. 12. 

Assistant coach Devin Johnson concluded his time as interim head coach with a 2-0 record after the victory against ACU. This was the final time head coach Buzz Williams had to sit out due to his suspension; he will return to the locker room for A&M’s next matchup against A&M-Corpus Christi on Sunday, Nov. 14. 

“For us to get this test in November is huge for us,” Johnson said. “Now, when [Williams] comes back and we have this same test in January, February or March, now we know how to handle it.”

A&M took control early in the first half with a fast-paced offense and lockdown defense. Freshman center Javonte Brown hustled to get the Aggies’ first bucket of the game with a putback lay-up and picked up two offensive rebounds, three total, in the first four minutes of the game. 

5th year forward Quenton Jackson showcased his vertical when freshman guard Wade Taylor drove down the court on a two-on-one fast break situation that resulted in an alley-oop finish to give A&M its third lead of the night. Following the dunk, junior guard Andre Gordon sparked a 5-0 run with a three in the corner, a block on the defensive end and a pass that set up a lay-up for sophomore guard Hassan Diarra — a native of Queens, N.Y. — to give the maroon and white a 17-12 lead. 

The Aggies finished the first half with seven fast break points, four steals and four blocks, giving them a 28-20 lead into the second half. 

The maroon and white had a less fortunate second half which consisted of multiple turnovers and a massive run for the Wildcats. 

After a monster block from Jackson, ACU went on a 10-0 run that gave the visitors a 43-41 lead midway through the second. The lack of communication on defense was one of the main reasons for the Wildcats’ run in the second, Johnson said. 

“We have to communicate on the court,” Johnson said. “We always teach: you have to talk, touch, switch and grab, and we weren’t doing any of those things.”

Sophomore forward Henry Coleman III put a stop to the Wildcats’ run after back-to-back points in the paint. Gordon continued this offensive success with a one-on-one isolation, which ended with a lay-up down the left side of the paint. Jackson exhibited his handles as he shook ACU senior guard Reggie Miller and topped it off with a three-pointer in the final two minutes of the game. Two free throws from A&M junior guard Tyrece Radford tied the score at 61 and sent the game into overtime.

After consecutive scores from Radford, the Aggies had a safe seven-point lead with less than a minute to go in overtime. However, ACU continued to battle with a 7-0 run of its own, scoring a three in the final seconds from senior guard Mahki Morris which sent the game into double overtime. 

Down two points with five seconds left on the clock, the Aggies had one final move with the ball in their hands. 

Diarra caught the inbound pass, pulled from the top of the key and secured the win for the Aggies.

Diarra said it felt great to hit the game-winner, something he hasn’t experienced in a long time. 

“I got the ball, and I just started counting,” Diarra said. “I got a little bit of room, pump-faked and shot it, and I knew it was going in right when I released it.”

Gordon finished the night as the leading scorer with 17 points, four assists and three rebounds. Radford was next, with 15 points, and Diarra finished the game with nine points, one assist and a defensive rebound.

The Aggies next host A&M-Corpus Christi, who is coming off a 102-64 victory against Texas Lutheran, on Sunday, Nov. 14, at Reed Arena. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.

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