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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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Men’s basketball gives up halftime lead, falls 81-72 to Florida

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Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Sophomore guard Jay Jay Chandler scored 15 points for Texas A&M against Florida, all in the first half.

It was a tale of two halves in Gainesville on Tuesday night, as Florida topped Texas A&M men’s basketball 81-72 at the Exactech Arena.
With the victory, Florida moves to a 11-7 season record and a 3-3 conference record, while the Aggies move down to 7-10 overall record and maintain only one conference win.
A&M dominated the opening period and took a 46-33 lead into the locker room after scoring the most first half points of any team this season against the talented Florida defense. However, the Gators came out firing in the second half, shooting 11-of-15 from behind the three-point line to win the game comfortably.
The Aggies started the night with energy on offense after coming off a poor performance against Missouri where they totaled only 43 points. With 8:19 to go in the first half, the Aggies were winning 31-21 and looked like a completely different team offensively.
Although, with 2:30 remaining in the game, Florida hit back-to-back three-pointers, and A&M saw the script flip.
“I thought they were more aggressive, but I thought we tried to play one-on-one too much,” A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said of Florida’s second half. “They forced us to dribble and we didn’t use the pass as much as we did the first half. I thought the first half we did a good job of attacking that pressure. Second half, we got to playing too much one-on-one.”
The Aggies went from shooting 55 percent from the field and seven-of-11 from deep in the first half to just 40 percent from the field and two-of-11 from behind the arc in the second half. That, combined with 16 turnovers and being outscored 48-26 in the second half, saw A&M fall to 1-5 in conference play.
Florida senior guard KeVaughn Allen and freshman guard Noah Locke stole the show in the second half, ending the game with 31 points and a career-high 27 points, respectively. Before tonight, Florida had not produced a 20-point scorer all season. Freshman guard Andrew Nembhard was also key to the Gator’s comeback with his 11 assists.
A&M junior guard Wendell Mitchell, who completed a career-high 25 points, had a strong first half, scoring 17 points and went five-of-five from behind the three-point line. MItchell’s last three of the first half came on a deep buzzer beater.
Sophomore guard Jay Jay Chandler ended the game with 15 points for A&M, making all five of his shots in the first half. Fellow sophomore guard T.J. Starks totaled 10 points, six assists and two rebounds, while junior forward Josh Nebo provided eight points and nine assists off the bench.
“I thought our team got better today and that was good for us to see,” Kennedy said. “None of our players have ever played here before so we’ve got a lot of inexperience and I thought–coming in here for the first time–we did a good job.”
The Aggies’ next action will come on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 1 p.m. as they take on Kansas State in the Big 12-SEC Challenge for the first of a three-game homestand.

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