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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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Men’s basketball’s defense, paint presence against Ole Miss extends win streak

Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore forward Henry Coleman III (15) jumps to score on the Ole Miss Rebels in Reed Arena on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022.

Texas A&M men’s basketball is climbing and putting other Southeastern Conference teams on notice after taking down Ole Miss to maintain its win streak. 

The now 14-2, 3-0 SEC, Aggies are on a seven-game win streak and the program’s best start to a season since 2015-2016. Sophomore forward Henry Coleman III led the team with 18 points as junior guard Tyrece Radford scored a dozen points, logged six rebounds and had one steal and assist apiece. 

Coach Buzz Williams said the energy in the second half is what allowed A&M to find separation, along with physicality inside on defense from everyone on the floor.

“I thought our energy in the second half was noticeably different than the first half,” Williams said. “I thought that was the difference in the game. I didn’t think our guards did a very good job rebounding the ball, and I thought in the second half we were much more engaged, played with a lot more energy. Everybody did.”

Both teams came out strong and played close and hard to the first break in action five minutes into the first half. A&M led 10-6 with all five buckets coming in the paint, with Coleman as the focal point. 

The Rebels came out of the timeout on an 8-0 run to take the lead as the Aggies got a bit sloppy taking care of the ball. However, the two sides got even with each other with the ten-minute mark upcoming, and Coleman scored a couple more buckets to get up to a game-leading 12 points while shooting a perfect 6-for-6. The Aggies still had all 18 of their points scored in the paint and were shooting 73% from the field while Ole Miss was shooting 33%.

With just over five minutes to go in the opening half, Radford hit a deep 3-pointer from the wing as the shot clock expired to put A&M up by six. It was just the first 3 of the night for the maroon-and-white and was the team’s only make from deep-range in the first half. 

“I think it was just not rushing it even though when the shot clock runs down it puts more pressure on you,” Radford said. “I think I did a good job with just staying calm and handling the situation right.”

Ole Miss responded with a run to make it a two-point game before graduate guard Quenton Jackson drew a foul and hit both free throws to take a 33-29 lead into halftime. Coleman still led all scorers with 14 points and had five rebounds. 

Coleman said he feels like the team as a whole learns well on the fly in games like these and that everyone learns from each other and feeds off one another. 

“I think that we’re a hungry team,” Coleman said. “We’re a team that’s still young. I think we’re all learning as a team how to be the best version of Texas A&M, and I think that’s something that we’ll hopefully be able to learn quickly. In every game, we learn something new.” 

The score stayed close through the first few minutes of the second half as A&M remained ahead by a handful of possessions. Radford emerged on offense to get up to double digits in scoring as the Aggies stayed above 60% from the floor. The maroon and white eventually got up to a nine-point lead, the highest of the night. 

“I thought we started the second half better, but as we were getting closer to the first media timeout, I think we had three of our six turnovers right there, were almost back-to-back,” Williams said. “Then I thought from that point forward, from an offensive standpoint, we executed at a much higher rate and didn’t turn it over, which helped the lead.”

That lead grew up to 16 with 8:44 left as Ole Miss couldn’t find a rhythm on offense, shooting just over 30%. It only had 40 points to A&M’s 56, and the Rebels would end the night well below their season average of 70 points per game. 

A&M stayed strong inside on offense to keep pacing Ole Miss in the latter part of the second half. The Aggies also got better from 3-point range after lacking in the first half, hitting four 3s in the second half. The Aggies led 67-49 with under two minutes to go.

A&M let the clock bleed out to take home its 14th win of the year, third conference win and seventh-straight win by a final score of 67-51. Ole Miss falls to 9-6, 1-2 SEC. 

Missouri will host A&M this Saturday, Jan. 15 at 2:30 p.m. on SEC Network. A&M, the all-time series leader at 21-19, will look to avenge last year’s 68-52 loss at home. The Aggies were winners of the last two matchups in Columbia, Mo.  

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  • Junior guard Tyrece Radford (23) evades an Ole Miss defender in the Aggies’ game against the Rebels on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022.

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