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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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Made for March

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Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Texas A&M head coach Buzz Williams is congraulated by his players during his postgame interview.

Texas A&M has defied all odds, bets, predictions and fought their way into the SEC title game. 

A&M, a team who lost for a straight month, has become the epitome of a “March caliber” basketball team.

On Saturday, March 12, the No. 8 Aggies pulled off another upset over No. 4 Arkansas and shocked the world of college basketball.

One key to Friday’s win over Auburn was striking quickly, and the Aggies did it again against the Razorbacks, up 11-4 to start.

Arkansas senior guard and leading scorer JD Notae fouled for his second time, nine minutes in, and sat for the majority of the half.

The Aggies took advantage of the star guard’s absence, and Arkansas struggled to get into rhythm. At the half, the Razorbacks shot 11% from the arc and 39% from the field.

Despite it being the Aggies’ third game in three days, the Aggies outworked the Razorbacks, diving for every ball and playing suffocating defense. Notae returned to the court; however, sophomore forward Hayden Hefner drew Notae’s third foul before the half, 36-24.

“Twitter may say we should be tired,” coach Buzz Williams said. “The opinion of others may say we should be tired.”

In the second half, Arkansas began to gain momentum, but it didn’t last for long. An electric dunk from graduate guard Quenton Jackson increased the Aggies lead to 11. Jackson dropped 20 points on the SEC foe.

The Razorbacks and Aggies went back-and-forth until A&M’s resilience shined through. Hefner sank a crucial 3-pointer, advancing the Aggies’ lead to 10.

“It’s really just a testament to who we are as a unit from the staff, all the way down to our managers,” Hefner said. “When you have belief in the unification of a team, it’s really hard to break it apart.”

The Aggies were simply playing all-around, complete basketball. Senior forward Ethan Henderson, Hefner and Jackson contributed to the dunking party, each slamming down exciting dunks, and their energy never burned out.

“For us to be able to play three days in a row instead of practice, that’s fun for our guys,” Williams said. “We haven’t talked about being tired at all.”

The Aggies finished the battle strong with smiles on their faces, 82-64, and are headed to the SEC Championship.

A&M will face the winner of the No. 3 Kentucky vs. No. 2 Tennessee game. The Championship will be played on Sunday, March 13 at 12 p.m. The Aggies are now placed as the second team of the “First Four Out” on Joe Lunardi’s ESPN Bracketology.

When asked if he thinks Texas A&M should be in the NCAA Tournament, Jackson said the decision is bigger than him. 

“That’s not up to me,” Jackson said. “I just go out there and play my game.”

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