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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

No. 18 A&M loses to No. 4 Alabama; Aggies look forward to NCAA Tournament

Photo by Photo by Ishika Samant

Sophomore G Wade Taylor IV (4) shoots a three pointer during a game vs. Alabama on March 12, 2023 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Tennessee.

On Sunday, March 12, the No. 18 Texas A&M basketball team fell short, once again, in the SEC Tournament final. This time, to a No. 4 Alabama roster loaded with talent at every position on the court.
From the opening tipoff, Alabama hit its shots and sparked a fire in the Crimson-colored stands that encompassed the court.
“It was a different atmosphere,” sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV said.
In their last matchup on March 4, the Aggies held their opponent to only 15 rebounds in the game. This time, they allowed 21 offensive rebounds which came with an abundance of them coming from single possessions.
“I think the thing that hurt us today was their offensive rebounds,” Williams said. “In conference play, we didn’t give up as many offensive rebounds as we did today. They put some much stress on you with their pace, with their talent and when they’re able to get an extra shot after extra shot.”
These offensive rebounds led to 14 second-chance points and multiple open looks from behind the arc. In the last matchup, Alabama failed to connect on its open looks and only made 7 of its 36 attempts. Today, they fell one 3-pointer short in the first half and finished with 12.
Taylor said the team will take what they learned in the loss today and carry it with them through the remainder of the season.
“We didn’t do a good job on the glass today,” Taylor said. “Our defensive rotations, things like that. Taking the way Alabama played and using that to our advantage when we see a team like that in the tournament.”
As for their offensive performance, the Aggies shot a tournament-low 29.7% from the field and had multiple scoreless minutes, including a 10-minute dry spell without a single bucket to end the first half.
“[Alabama] played good defense,” Taylor said. “We couldn’t get to the rim like we normally do. I don’t think it was the game [that was] much different. We just couldn’t execute the things we needed to do.”
Unfortunately, the Aggies’ also had to cross paths against freshman forward Brandon Miller, who was named SEC Player of the Year and SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player.
The 2023 NBA lottery pick connected on four 3-pointers and tallied 23 points and 12 rebounds.
“His length, his size, his skill, can really shoot and he’s a mismatch nightmare,” Williams said. “Who is going to guard him because he can pass, dribble and shoot? He’s a positionless player that has size and he has that same versatility on the other end.”
“I think depending on person to person it may take a short time, it may take a long amount of time,” senior guard Dexter Dennis said. “I think in preparation for Selection Sunday we will have to put this loss behind us and start thinking about the future and what’s next for us as a program.”
Despite the loss, Taylor finished on the All-Tournament team along with three Alabama players, two Missouri players and one Missouri player.
“It’s a blessing,” Taylor said. “I want to thank my coaches and teammates for putting me in a position to show my talents and be the best I can be for this team.”
Following the tournament, the Selection Committee released the NCAA Tournament bracket and the respective rankings of each team. A&M was listed as a No. 7 seed and will play against No. 10 seed Penn State in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday, March 16.
Dennis said the team must put the loss behind them so they can focus on their matchup with their Big 10 opponent.
“Our coach preaches to us every day about being resilient through the ups and downs,” Dennis said. “We’ve had a lot of them these last 65 days. I’m excited about what the future holds. We’ve been through a lot.”

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