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

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) reacts in the dugout after Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 24, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
United they fall
June 24, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Winner-take-all
June 23, 2024

‘Nobody feels sorry for you, me or any of us’

Freshman%26%23160%3BWade+Taylor%26%23160%3Bmakes+a+layup.
Photo by Photo by Ishika Samant

Freshman Wade Taylor makes a layup.

There are three words that no head coach wants to hear three years into their coaching contract — losing conference record.
Unfortunately, on Feb. 1, that territory was grasped by coach Buzz Williams and his players.
No. 22 Tennessee defeated A&M on the road, handing the Aggies their fifth straight SEC loss and a 4-5 record in the SEC.
The Aggies approached this matchup as a must-win game, yet came up short to the talented Tennessee Volunteers, trailing for the entirety of the game.
“After every game, we know what we did that caused us to lose,” freshman guard Wade Taylor IV said. “Turning the ball over and not rebounding, that’s gonna hurt us every time.” Tennessee quickly took it upon itself to give the Aggies a rude awakening of what was to come. Tennessee freshman guard Zakai Zeigler crossed up A&M fifth-year guard Quenton Jackson, causing him to sit down, and finished with a 3-pointer that sent the score to 17-6.
Additionally, the Aggies struggled offensively in the first half, seeing six turnovers, making 61% of their layups and shooting 26% from behind the arc.
“You have to play with higher discipline and you have to play with a higher toughness level.” Williams said. “You have to do it from start to finish.”
Before heading into the half, Taylor decided to make an impact of his own, going on a 5-0 run with 49 seconds remaining. The freshman’s 14-point performance in the first half energized his teammates and kept the Aggies alive.
Right out of the locker room, Tennessee upped the score with a 6-0 run, continuing to dominate the paint. The Aggies lacked size compared to the Volunteers, which Tennessee used to its advantage.
However, the maroon and white persisted and kept the battle within range. With reminders from Williams that it was a must-win game, junior guard Andre Gordon sank a jumper to make it a one-point game with eight minutes left to go. Despite that, the Volunteers were not going down easily and sank back-to-back 3-pointers, contributing to their 16-2 run.
“We know why the game went the way it went,” junior guard Tyrece “Boots” Radford said. “When teams go on runs, we have to throw a jab or two back.”
With two minutes remaining, the Volunteers continued to dominate and closed with a 90-80 win in Knoxville, Tenn.
Overall, a couple of the Aggies’ percentages improved, including their recently-low free-throw percentage. On the one hand, A&M shot 84% from the line, which was a huge contribution to the proximity of the score. On the other hand, the Aggies gave the Volunteers 10 live balls, which translated to 15 points against them.
“Nobody feels sorry for you, me or any of us,” Williams said. “That won’t work against a team who is good enough to play in the Final Four. That won’t work at home — no matter who we play. We have to do better.”
The Aggies will return to College Station to take on Missouri for the second time this season. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5.

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