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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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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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‘Our focus is now on what we can control’

Junior+guard+Tyrece+Radford+%2823%29+dribbles+down+the+court+in+Reed+Arena+on+Tuesday%2C+March+15%2C+2022.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior guard Tyrece Radford (23) dribbles down the court in Reed Arena on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

Texas A&M men’s basketball’s dance continues — on a different platform.
On Sunday, March 13, A&M was selected for the National Invitation Tournament, or NIT, a postseason tournament which consists of four regions, eight teams in each, and represents some of the best teams in the nation who weren’t selected to play in the NCAA March Madness tournament.
A&M coach Buzz Williams said he was confused about the NCAA Selection Committee’s decision to not select the Aggies for the tournament and just “simply wanted an explanation why.”
“I wanted this understanding so I could have an explanation for our players, their parents and coaches and be accountable in my relationship to each of them,” Williams said. “Regardless of the opinion of anyone, that is the least that I can do. Our focus is now on what we can control.”
The first three rounds of the NIT are played at the higher seed’s home court before the semifinals, where the four teams left standing will travel to New York City and play at Madison Square Garden, the home court of the professional NBA team the New York Knicks.
On Tuesday, March 15, A&M hosted Alcorn State University for Round 1 of the NIT at Reed Arena, and after a slow start in the first half, the Aggies proved to fans in attendance why they should have been one of the schools selected for March Madness.
Alcorn State finished the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular-season in first place; however, the Braves lost to Texas Southern University in the SWAC Championship Game 87-62.
The Braves entered Round 1 with senior point guard Justin Thomas, who led the SWAC tournament in points and steals and was also rewarded with All-SWAC second team for the regular season. Also, Alcorn State coach Landon Bussie was the 2021-22 SWAC Coach of the Year. This was his first season as a head coach, spending the past six years as an assistant coach for Prairie View A&M.
The game remained scoreless for the first four minutes of the game until the Aggies’ sophomore forward Henry Coleman III rose virtuously for the first bucket and finished on the opposing player.
The rest of the first half did not reflect the Aggies’ performance in the SEC Tournament last week.
They shot 38.5% from the field and only connected on three of their 12 3-pointers in the first half. Offensive rebounds were the Aggies’ strong suit during the season; however, they were outrebounded in the first half 22-12 and allowed eight second-chance points off them.
“I aborted the normal halftime routine you were probably supposed to do,” Williams said. “I told them the truth. I was more a part of the problem than any of our guys were. I apologized to them in a sincere way, and I told them I will do better and we need to do better in the second half of this game.”
Freshman guard Wade Taylor IV and graduate guard Quenton Jackson both led the Aggies in points in the first half with five. Junior Tyrece “Boots” Radford led the first half in both rebounds and steals with seven and two, respectively.
After shaking off the first half emotions, A&M came out the first half on an 8-1 run to give itself a comfortable 37-30 lead. The maroon and white turned it around the second time on the court, shooting 44.4% from the field, perfect from the charity stripe and outrebounded the Braves 23-16.
Radford finished the night with a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds in the 74-62 win against Alcorn St.
Williams said he was pleased with his team’s effort on the court, even after an emotional weekend.
“I am proud and disappointed,” Williams said. “My wife has taught me that you can have two emotions at the same time, you just have to learn to deal with both of them.”
No. 1-seed A&M will face No. 5 Oregon in the second round of the tournament at Reed Arena. Tip-off begins on Saturday, March 19 at a time that is soon to be determined.

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