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

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Texas A&M upsets No. 1 Auburn, dances into SEC Semifinals

Fifth-year+guard+Quenton+Jackson+%283%29+jumps+to+dunk+on+the+Mississippi+State+basket+in+Reed+Arena+on+Saturday%2C+Mar.+5%2C+2022.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Fifth-year guard Quenton Jackson (3) jumps to dunk on the Mississippi State basket in Reed Arena on Saturday, Mar. 5, 2022.

Texas A&M loves upsetting No.1 teams.

On Friday, March 11, No. 8 Texas A&M men’s basketball survived and advanced, sending the No. 1 conference opponent, Auburn, home from the SEC Tournament.

The win for the Aggies was their first top-5 win in 40 years and their second in program history.

“Give A&M credit,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “They played inspired. We got beat by a really good team.”

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Early, the Aggies claimed an 8-3 lead, making a statement that they aren’t going to let up easily.

Auburn freshman forward and projected first round draft pick Jabari Smith carried Auburn to start, scoring all seven points. Knowing Auburn is a 32.3% 3-point shooting team, the Aggies’ defense allowed the Tigers to shoot behind the arc.

Auburn continued to hammer the 3-point shot, only sinking 15% in the first half. Despite being extremely undersized compared to Auburn, the Aggies’ won their one-on-one battles. Freshman forward Henry Coleman III led with 12 points at the half.

The Aggies left the court at halftime, and the score read 37-21. However, in Aggie fashion, they weren’t done yet.

In the second half, starting guards graduate Quenton Jackson and freshman Manny Obaseki began to fall into foul trouble. Coleman and junior guard Tyrece “Boots” Radford stepped up and took over. Radford fueled the fire, shooting 5-for-5 from behind the arc.

“We look for a dog-fight,” Radford said. “We don’t expect nothing to be easy.”

The Aggies did not let their fire burn out and grasped their biggest lead of the game, 53-33. 

However, Auburn kept Aggie fans on the edge of their seats, cutting A&M’s lead to nine. To follow, Auburn sophomore guard Wendell Green Jr. sank four 3-pointers.

With two minutes to go, Jackson showed off his vertical, slamming a dunk and blocking a crucial Auburn lay-up. Jackson finished with five clutch free-throws and sent the Tigers home, 67-62.

“True confidence comes from your work,” Jackson said. “When I step up to the line, I have 100% confidence that I will hit those free-throws.”

The Aggies advanced to the Semifinals of the SEC Tournament and will take on Arkansas on Saturday, March 12 at 12 p.m. The Aggies NCAA March Madness Tournament hopes are still unknown.

“I don’t know where you would rank us from a talent perspective in the SEC, but it would be in the bottom half,” coach Buzz Williams said. “I just don’t know that you can evaluate the heart and character in our fight.”

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