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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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Senior day spoilers

Aggies close regular season with 26-point victory
Junior+G+Manny+Obaseki+%2835%29+defends+against+Mississippi+State+freshman+Josh+Hubbard+%2813%29+during+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+game+against+Mississippi+State+on+Wednesday%2C+March+6%2C+2024%2C+at+Reed+Arena.+%28CJ+Smith%2FThe+Battalion%29
Photo by CJ Smith
Junior G Manny Obaseki (35) defends against Mississippi State freshman Josh Hubbard (13) during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at Reed Arena. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

Looking for a third-straight win, the Texas A&M men’s basketball team dominated Ole Miss from start to finish on Saturday, March 9.

A&M entered today’s matchup following a much needed win over Mississippi State. The Aggies’ March Madness hopes looked alive and well after an upset win versus Tennessee on Feb. 10, but a five-game losing streak erased the automatic bid chance A&M had.

The Aggies jumped out to an early 23-5 lead over the Rebels off the back of junior G Manny Obaseki, but the Rebels clawed their way back into the game with a 7-0 run.

It looked as if the Aggies would relinquish their big lead after the Rebels went on a 9-1 run to bring the score to 28-22. However, junior and graduate Gs Wade Taylor III and Tyrece Radford came to life during a 14-7 A&M run to end the half.

The Aggies then took their biggest lead of the game to start the second half, 57-37, after Radford drained a 3 off an offensive rebound by sophomore F Solomon Washington.

Ole Miss tried to find its way back, but the Aggies continued their dominance on the offensive end with offensive rebounds and second chance points to end the game 86-60 in favor of A&M.

A&M’s stars need to continue to shine bright

Taylor and Radford have starred for the Aggies all season, today wasn’t much different as the duo finished with 19 points a piece. In games this season when both score over 14, the Aggies are now 9-2.

Both shot lights out in the victory. Taylor finished his day shooting 50% from the field while making five of his nine 3 pointers. He also had five rebounds while having a game-high seven assists.

Radford made 53.3% of his shot attempts and made 60% of his 3s. He recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds and became the fifth player in school history to score 400 points in three consecutive seasons.

It seems redundant to say that A&M needs Taylor and Radford to continue playing well, but the Aggies fell off the bubble in recent weeks. They need their star duo to play well in the SEC Tournament if they want to give themselves a chance at making the Big Dance.

A much needed third scoring option

Obaseki was a huge part of A&M’s first half lead over the Rebels as he had 15 points on 71% shooting while going 3-4 from 3. He finished the game with a game-high 25 points.

Today’s game marked his fourth-straight game with double digit points. He scored 11 in the loss to South Carolina, and 12 and 17 points in the wins over Georgia and Mississippi State, respectively.

Obaseki wasn’t a big part of A&M’s rotation to start the year. He had his best game of the season with 21 points in the loss to Memphis in early December, but played just 85 minutes through the first 12 conference games, including one minute showings in the Aggies’ home losses to Ole Miss and Arkansas.

He played 90 minutes the past four games and finished today’s matchup with 20 minutes.

The Aggie offense needed someone not named Taylor or Radford to score the ball. Heading into the conference tournament, Obaseki will need to continue finding ways to score if A&M wants to make its case for March Madness.

Back to the basics

A&M entered today’s matchup as the nation’s leader in offensive rebounds. Despite uncharacteristically good shooting, the Aggies’ dominant win can be attributed to what they do best — offensive boards and second chance points.

The Aggies dominated the rebound margin. They had 50 total rebounds and almost had as many offensive rebounds as Ole Miss had total rebounds with 18 to 21, respectively.

Washington and Radford led the team with five offensive rebounds each while senior F Andersson Garcia, the SEC’s leader in offensive rebounds per game, finished with four.

A&M also scored 20 of its points off second chance opportunities, and while it turned the ball over three more times than Ole Miss, the Aggies scored 7 more points off turnovers.

If A&M wants to make a deep run in the SEC Tournament — and even win it — it will need to continue to go back to the basics. If the shooting can be just mediocre, the Aggies might make some noise to kick off March.

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About the Contributor
Eli Meschko
Eli Meschko, Sports Writer
Eli Meschko is a journalism senior from Boerne, Texas, and is minoring in communication and sports management. Eli has covered football, men's basketball, baseball, softball, hockey and track & field. Eli also writes for Dave Campbell's Texas Football as an intern. After graduation, Eli plans on pursuing a career in sports media or public relations.
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