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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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Late surge not enough as A&M drops second straight

Photo by By Lawrence Smelser

Freshman center Tyler Davis wrestles for the balll.

The Aggies now face something they have not faced all season long – a losing streak.

In another top 25 showdown at Reed Arena, No. 25 South Carolina, led by some blistering three-point shooting, held off the No. 8 Aggies’ late surge for an 81-78 win on Saturday. It is the first home loss for A&M this season and is now its third straight conference loss.

“We got beat by a very good basketball team,” A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. “They came in aggressive…we had a hard time guarding them.”

A&M and South Carolina went a combined 15-for-24 from beyond the arc and exchanged blows repeatedly. There were 14 lead changes in the half alone and neither team could build a lead larger than eight points.

A&M (18-5, 7-3 SEC) opened the game on an 8-0 run, but the Gamecocks would blast off with a 24-8 run to take the lead. However, at the half, a slew of three-pointers by both would result in a 41-40 Aggie lead at the intermission. 

Of the 78 points put up by A&M, 46 of them were from the tandem of Alex Caruso, Danuel House and Jalen Jones, who shot a combined 15-for-26 from the field. Beyond them, however, the Aggie offense struggled with no one else reaching double figures. The team shot 49 percent from the floor, but in the end, the Gamecocks made the big shots when they mattered.

The usually sure-handed Aggies struggled to protect the ball, committing 17 turnovers in the game which led to 19 South Carolina points. The Gamecocks (20-3, 7-3 SEC) also outrebounded the Aggies by a 32 to 30 margin. 

The two teams picked up where they left off in the second half. When one would take the lead, the other would come storming back. Neither team built a lead greater than five in the second half until the end. 

A&M trailed 79-70 with 2:24 left to play. Determination led A&M to pull within two at 80-78 after an and-one by Caruso sent Reed Arena into mayhem. The crowd would affect free throws from the Gamecocks and after missing one of two, A&M had a chance for the tie down 81-78 with 20 seconds left.
 House pulled up for a deep three with six second left but it spiraled in-and-out. On the ensuing inbound, SC would turn the ball over giving the Aggies one last chance at the tie. The inbound pass from Caruso was snuffed out by the Gamecocks and the game ended without A&M even attempting a shot.
 “They have a real good team…for us to come in and do what we did…this was a high level game,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said. “That was two real good teams going at each other.”
 A&M head coach Billy Kennedy addressed the final play after the game.
 “We were trying to run Danuel [House] and D.J. [Hogg] off of a screen, Kennedy said. “I don’t know what happened on the deflection.”
The Gamecocks were led by Sindarius Thornwell with 25 points and added in five rebounds and nine assists. Michael Carrera was lethal from three, going 5-for-5 from the arc and totaling 19 points on the afternoon. As a team, South Carolina shot 52 percent from the floor and 57 percent from three-point range.
The loss is the Aggies second in a row and moves them into a tie for second place in the SEC, with South Carolina now owning a head-to-head advantage. The Aggies hit the road this week for two games, starting on Wednesday night against Alabama.

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