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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

Late push not enough for Aggie men’s basketball team

The stage in Fayetteville, Arkansas, proved too grand for the Texas A&M men’s basketball team Tuesday night as a raucous crowd greeted it in an 81-75 loss Tuesday to No. 18 Arkansas (23-5, 12-3).
Despite 28 points from junior guard Danuel House, a 24-point first-half deficit was too much for the Aggies, who drew within a bucket with just more than a minute remaining.
The matchup had been pinpointed as a potential launch pad for A&M into a higher seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament in March, but the hostility of the Razorback crowd coupled with their team’s relentless up-tempo style of play thrashed the Aggies from the tip.
The Razorback full court defense routinely placed the Aggies (19-8, 10-5) in awkward situations, evident by center Kourtney Roberson having to bring the ball up the floor at times. The Aggies concluded the half with 16 turnovers and failed to establish any sense of comfort on the offensive end.
Head coach Billy Kennedy described his team as shell-shocked heading into the half.
“I really thought the first five minutes they were dominant,” Kennedy said. “There wasn’t a whole lot we could do. You just got to give Arkansas a lot of credit. They made shots. [Bobby] Portis played an incredible game and we were kind of stunned.”
However, the Aggies came out of the half looking more like the Aggies of old, spreading the ball around on offense and finding open looks to aid in reducing the scoring deficit. Leading the charge was House, who hit a pair of corner threes in the first five minutes of the second half.
Texas A&M continued its push with a 10-0 run starting at the 7:24 mark that featured an Alex Caruso 3-pointer from the corner and a wide-open backdoor pass by Caruso to a cutting House. With four minutes remaining A&M found itself within six, 71-65.
The Aggie heroics persisted. House nailed a 3-pointer with 2:16 remaining, and following an Arkansas turnover, took the ball to the hole on a transition layup, drawing hard contact and a foul. A&M was within two with 1:30 remaining, 74-72.
But tonight was ultimately not A&M’s night. Despite rallying on 42.6 field goal percentage, including their own mark of 56.3 percent from the three point line, they could not convert meaningful buckets in the final minute of play. Arkansas secured their victory with free throws and extended their winning streak to seven games.
“I thought the second half we played with better pace,” Kennedy said. “We took care of the ball and had our chances down the stretch, but needed a few more breaks to beat a very good Arkansas team.”
With the loss, the Aggies dropped to fourth in the SEC, a half game behind third place Ole Miss and two games behind second place Arkansas.
The Aggies also will have to suspend their quest for their 20th win until this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. when they return to the friendly confines of Reed Arena for a rematch with the University of Auburn.

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