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

Senior INF Rylen Wiggins (2) high fives Senior INF Trinity Cannon (6) before Texas A&Ms game against UTSA on Feb. 25, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
Storm the Beach
February 29, 2024
Senior INF Rylen Wiggins (2) high fives Senior INF Trinity Cannon (6) before Texas A&Ms game against UTSA on Feb. 25, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
Storm the Beach
February 29, 2024

Rocky toppled

A&M crushes No. 6 Tennessee with stunning 85-69 victory

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  • Yell Leader Jake Carter and a fan share thoughts during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Students welcoming Tennessee to Reed Arena during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Tip off in Reed Arena during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggies forward Wildens Leveque (10) during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggies forward Wildens Leveque (10) grabs a ground-ball during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggies forward Solomon Washington (13) follows Tennessee Volunteers guard Jordan Gainey (2) during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Tennessee Volunteers guard Dalton Knecht (3) during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Tennessee Volunteers guard Dalton Knecht (3) dribbles the ball toward the basket during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggies forward Solomon Washington (13) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggies guard Tyrece Radford (23) shoots a layup during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggie’s Tyrece Radford (23) looking to pass the ball during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggie’s Wade Taylor IV (4) taking an elbow to the neck in a defensive drive during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Tennessee Volunteers guard Jordan Gainey (2) tries to shoot the ball during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggie’s Jace Carter(0) driving to the net to dunk during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggie’s Jace Carter (0) dunks the ball during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggie’s Jace Carter (0) hanging from the net after dunking during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggies guard Jace Carter (0) hangs on the basket after dunking the ball during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggies forward Solomon Washington (13) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Fans react during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggie’s Head Coach Buzz Williams calling for a timeout during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Tennessee Volunteers head coach Rick Barnes questions a call during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggies guard Wade Taylor IV (4) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggie’s Tyrece Radford (23) being picked up by Jace Carter (0) and Solomon Washington (13) during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggie’s Solomon Washington (13) and Wade Taylor IV (4) celebrate Jace Carter (0) post dunk during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

  • Texas A&M Aggie’s Wildens Leveque (10) and Henry Coleman III (15) embrace after a win during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

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On Saturday night, coach Buzz Williams and the Texas A&M men’s basketball team decided to make a statement.

After taking care of business against the Missouri Tigers with a 79-60 win on Tuesday evening, the Aggies went right back to dominating their opponent, knocking off the No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers with a final score of 85-69.

A&M displayed some of its best shooting all season in the first half, dropping 42 points while shooting at a clip of 44% from the field, including 8 of their first 16 3-point attempts finding the bottom of the net. 

Tennessee, who is currently averaging 80.0 points per game, shot an uncharacteristic 10 for 30 in this half, and landed only three of 13 total attempts from beyond the arc. The Aggies also led the Volunteers in total rebounds, assists, steals and bench points to give the Maroon and White a commanding 42-28 lead at the break.

Like their last game against the Tigers, the Aggies did not let their foot off the gas pedal in the second half. Star senior guard Dalton Knecht missed both free throws for the Volunteers after drawing a foul to start, and the Aggies kept the pressure on from there. 

The team continued to play very physical basketball, drawing 11 personal fouls from Tennessee and holding to just 69 points in the half. With around two minutes left to play, graduate student guard Tyrece Radford found sophomore forward Solomon Washington for an alley-oop to all but put the game away for the Maroon and White, giving A&M their biggest win of the season so far.

The Volunteers never once held the lead this game, and this marks the second time this season that the Aggies have laid claim to victory against the No. 6 ranked team, with the first win coming against the Kentucky Wildcats back on Jan. 13. It is also the largest margin of victory the Aggies have had against a top-ten opponent under Williams.

“Offensively, we made some unique adjustments that we have never done. Same, defensively,” Williams said.

The Aggies are hitting their stride at the perfect time

It was about a month ago when A&M fell to Arkansas at Bud Walton Arena 78-77, despite junior guard Wade Taylor exploding for a career-high 41 points. Things truly began to look  bleak for Williams and the Aggies regarding their 2023-24 campaign.

Then, they decided to up the ante.

Since then, A&M has won five of its last six contests, putting them at a 15-8 record and a 6-4 conference record.

The team has been playing with more intensity, and it’s shown with games like this one. The victory over the Volunteers marks their second-straight win by double digits, something they hadn’t yet done in conference play this season.

“We have been in the gym, putting up shots … We had a lot of assists. We were sharing the ball, and that helped the ball go in,” Taylor said.

Tyrece Radford’s play as of late is just what the Aggies ordered

One of the biggest reasons A&M has found their recent success is Radford.

Radford dealt with injuries and had some subpar performances for A&M earlier in the season, but in the last three games he is averaging 25.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. This marks his third-straight game with at least 20 points a field goal percentage above 50%.

“I just continue to try to be aggressive,” Radford said. “We were not trying to force unpredictable shots.”

Before the Aggies began their current tear, one of the biggest issues the team faced was a consistent second option behind Wade Taylor. Now, the team has seemingly found that in Radford, and they’ve found it right in the nick of time with the NCAA tournament starting next month.

The Great Wall of Maroon

Just two games ago, this same Volunteers team put up 103 points against the No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats on the road. They then followed that performance up with an 88-68 victory over the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge. Coming into this matchup, Tennessee had scored at least 75 points in six of their previous seven games. 

A&M, however, had something to say about its recent offensive tear.

The Volunteers scored just 69 points in this one, which is now the second-lowest point total they’ve had in SEC play this season. as they shot 37.3% from the field and 25.0% from three. In addition, Tennessee was outrebounded by A&M 40 to 33.

Stifling defense has been the biggest reason the Aggies have been able to find success during this recent stretch of games. The team has allowed less than 70 points in their last five victories, and it’s played a huge factor into their current hot streak.

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