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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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Overtime 3-pointer keeps tournament dreams alive

Sophomore+forward+Henry+Coleman+III+%2815%29+dunks+on+the+Mississippi+State+basket+in+Reed+Arena+on+Saturday%2C+Mar.+5%2C+2022.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Sophomore forward Henry Coleman III (15) dunks on the Mississippi State basket in Reed Arena on Saturday, Mar. 5, 2022.

Welcome to March.

It’s that time of year again. March Madness is approaching, game winning shots are synced to Titanic’s theme music and teams with almost no tournament shot a month ago are making things happen.

On Thursday, March 10, Texas A&M’s own Titanic music moment secured its continuation in the SEC Tournament.

In the final seconds of overtime, sophomore guard Hassan Diara pounded the final nail in the coffin. His 3-pointer from downtown sent the Florida Gators home and destroyed their chances of tournament play.

“The play was called for me,” Diarra said. “Coach [Buzz Williams] knew they would take Henry [Coleman] and leave me open on the shakeup.”

At the start, the Aggies came out with an 11-4 run. They shot 86% from the field during this time, and the outcome looked in their favor.

A 3-pointer from junior guard Tyrece Radford started the Aggies 13-1 run. Sophomore forward Coleman made his presence known on the court, finishing with 22 points and five steals, all while limiting Florida’s powerful senior forward Colin Castleton.

The Aggies led 33-25 at the half, but the matchup was far from over.

To start the second half, the Aggies began to fall into foul trouble. Yet, their aggressive defense persisted. Florida could not quite seem to hang onto the ball, and A&M caused 18 turnovers and 15 steals.

On offense, graduate guard Quenton Jackson totaled 14 points and reminded fans that it was not a true Aggie game without a flashy dunk from the guard.

 

With a minute and a half to play, the Aggie’s leading scorer, Jackson, fouled out, marking his first time fouling out in his Division I career. With a comeback in mind, Florida took matters into its own hands.

The Aggies let the lead slip away and on a 9-2 run, the Gators tied it up and sent the SEC Tournament matchup to overtime.

“I think our whole season [it’s been to not quit],” Coleman said. “Coach [Buzz Williams] talks all the time about responding to adversity. You try to keep how you’re going to respond in the back of your mind at all times.”

Williams said the game is just one of the tests the team has faced this season.

“From an emotional standpoint, we’ve been on a rollercoaster since mid-January,” coach Williams said. “That’s what I talked to them about between regulation and OT; it’s just another rep.”
With 40 seconds left in overtime and down by two, Radford sank both of his free throws and tied the game. The dagger came at the hands of Diara, who, with one second left, shot a 3-pointer from downtown, winning the game.
The Aggies survived and now advance to Round 3 of the SEC Tournament, where they will take on No. 1 ranked Auburn, who previously beat them 75-58 earlier in the season. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m. in Tampa, Fla.

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