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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 drops road match to No. 4 Mississippi State, 71-61

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Photo by: Morgan Engel

Senior guard Curtyce Knox led the Aggies with 20 points in their 71-61 loss to Mississippi State. It marked the third time this season she has scored at least 20 points. 

Texas A&M started hot against Mississippi State Sunday, but soon fizzled and was unable to recover despite a furious second half surge. The Aggies’ (15-6, 5-3 SEC) streakiness combined with a solid finish from No. 4 Mississippi State (21-1, 7-1 SEC) led to the Bulldogs’ 71-61 victory at Humphrey Coliseum Sunday afternoon.

A&M was unstoppable to begin the fourth quarter, scoring the first seven points of the frame as the Bulldogs started 0-of-5 from the field. Using a 10-0 run dating back to the third quarter, the Aggies were able to pull within 55-50 with 6:31 remaining in the game.

That, however, was as close as the Aggies would get.

The Bulldogs made their final four shots from the field and were 7-of-8 from the free throw line in the final two minutes of the game.

Curtyce Knox scored a game-high 20 points, adding seven assists for A&M. Knox did not have a strong supporting cast throughout the majority of the game, however, as State neutralized her options and forced the assist-machine to take the majority A&M’s scoring upon herself.

All-American Victoria Vivians led the Bulldogs with 18 points, adding five rebounds. The duo of the versatile Vivians and 6-foot-7 center Teaira McCowan – who had 10 points – controlled the post on both ends of the court, giving State a hefty advantage in the paint.

A&M battled back-and-forth in the third quarter to keep State’s lead marginal, and was still in reach following the third period as the Bulldogs led 55-43.

Vivians knocked down a three for State to open the second half, but Knox scored four quick points for A&M to get the Aggies within 44-33 with 7:44 in the third quarter.

State continued to showcase its dominance, following the fast points with a drawn out 6-0 run to push its lead back to 50-33 at the 5:11 mark of the third period – its largest of the game. The Aggies went three minutes between scoring during that span.

After Knox scored the first seven points of the period for A&M, her teammates finally came to the rescue, and the Aggies closed the quarter with seven scattered points from Danni Williams, Anriel Howard and Khaalia Hillsman.

The first half had contrasting quarters for each team, as A&M had a strong start, but cooled in the final ten minutes due to foul trouble and limited production down low. State had nine assists on nine made shots in the second quarter, as the Bulldogs held a 41-29 lead at the break.

Vivians and McCowan stepped up big for State in the second quarter, combining to score 19 of the Bulldogs 26 second quarter points. On the other end, the State defense was solid, limiting A&M to just nine points in the period on 3-of-11 (27 percent) shooting.

Knox made a jumper to extend the Aggies’ lead back to seven at 22-15 with 9:16 in the second quarter. The Bulldogs embarked on an 11-0 run, however, giving State the lead back at 26-22 with 5:25 left in quarter – one they would never relinquish.

The first quarter was filled with several runs, leading to A&M holding a 20-15 advantage after the first ten minutes of play. The Aggies were 64 percent from the field to the Bulldogs’ 35 percent, but seven A&M turnovers kept it from taking full advantage from the shooting differences.

After a sluggish start from both teams, A&M took the first lead 2-0 on a layup by Hillsman with 8:41 to go in the first quarter. State’s defense began to strangle the Aggies’ paint play, however, forcing four turnovers and the Bulldogs converted on the other end to take a 7-2 lead at the 6:32 mark of the opening period.

The Aggies started to click, using a 10-0 run to take a 12-7 lead with 3:02 left in the quarter. State went ice cold, missing seven straight shots and had nearly four minutes pass between made baskets.

State closed their deficit to 14-12 after two consecutive made buckets, but back-to-back threes by Knox and Williams gave A&M their largest lead of the quarter at 20-13 with 13 seconds remaining. Morgan William made a jumper from the middle of the paint just before the buzzer though, cutting State’s deficit to five at the end of the quarter.

A&M returns to action this Thursday when they host Florida (11-10, 2-6 SEC) at 7:00 p.m.

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