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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 secures final SEC win ahead of tournament

Fifth-year+guard+Quenton+Jackson+%283%29+shoots+a+free+throw+in+Reed+Arena+on+Saturday%2C+Mar.+5%2C+2022.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Fifth-year guard Quenton Jackson (3) shoots a free throw in Reed Arena on Saturday, Mar. 5, 2022.

Texas A&M men’s basketball has faced it all.
Entering this season, this group was a collection of experienced Aggies on the 2020-21 roster, transfers with talent to prove and young freshmen looking to fit into coach Buzz Williams’ culture.
In 33 games, the Aggies have experienced exciting wins over ranked opponents, an eight-game losing streak and, arguably, faced the best talent the SEC has ever seen.
On Saturday, March 5, the Aggies checked their final matchup at Reed Arena off their to-do list. The 67-64 win over Mississippi State moved them up to 9-9 in SEC play.
As graduate guard Quenton Jackson took his final steps on the court that built him over the last three years, he added a flashy performance to be remembered.
“I think the evolution of Q[uenton Jackson] as a person and as a player have been on the same trajectory over the last three years,” Williams said. “I absolutely adore his spirit. I’m thankful for his loyalty and will be for the rest of my life.”
Jackson led the team in scoring, for the 15th time this season, with 18 points. However, his talents go beyond his ability to find the basket. The graduate leads the team with 51 steals this season, four coming from Saturday’s regular-season finale.
Jackson’s standout performance, along with commanding defense all around, caused the Aggies to lead by 11 at the half.
In addition to Jackson, it was also a special night for graduate forward Jalen Johnson, junior forward Everett Vaughn and senior guard Zach Walker, who reminisced on their time as Aggies on Senior Night.
In the second half, Mississippi State continued to chip away at A&M’s lead, but the Aggies weren’t going down without a fight. Their previous experience folding to pressure prepared them for moments like this.
“I think we fell into a lapse of the old us,” Jackson said. “We just had to keep our foot on the pedal, and we knew we needed to turn it on. We rallied at the end and figured it out.”
Throughout the season, Jackson has found a way to stand out with impressive dunks, adding another on Saturday to his list of throwdowns.
The Aggies held a 19-point lead with 16 minutes to go that was eventually cut to three to end the game. A&M was able to close it out, finishing as the No. 9 seed heading into the SEC Tournament.
“Of course, we would have loved a blowout, but I like the close games,” Jackson said. “[They] keep things competitive and keep people honest.”
Despite the lengthy roller coaster of SEC play Williams and his players have been riding on, it is time for them to unbuckle their seatbelts, step off and look back at all they have overcome.
However, the Aggies can’t stop and look for long as the SEC Tournament approaches on Wednesday, March 9.
“I think [teams should fear us],” sophomore forward Hayden Hefner said. “We’re definitely one of the harder-playing teams. Whenever we’re all clicking and playing hard, there’s not really much you can do to stop us.”
The Aggies are scheduled to take on Florida on Thursday, March 10 in the second round of the tournament. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m. CST.

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