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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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The curse of Bud Walton Arena strikes again

Taylor’s 41 points not enough as Razorbacks hit last-second shot
Graduate+G+Tyrece+Radford+%2823%29+sits+on+the+floor+during+Texas+A%26amp%3BMs+game+against+Kentucky+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+13%2C+2024+at+Reed+Arena.+%28Ishka+Samant%2FThe+Battalion%29
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The Aggies came into the matchup 1-2 in SEC play, with their lone victory being an overtime upset over the then No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats. On the flip side, Arkansas came into the game 0-3 in SEC play — including losses to Auburn, Georgia and a 90-68 thumping versus Florida.

Last season, Texas A&M had the last laugh over Arkansas — defeating it 67-61 in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals, also outlasting the Razorbacks 62-56 at home. However, A&M was unable to beat Arkansas in Fayetteville — a trend that the Aggies are very familiar with. 

The Maroon and White are 1-15 in the past 35 seasons on Arkansas’ home court. The lone 87-80 win came on Feb. 23, 2019. Almost five years later on Jan. 16, 2024, the Aggies were unable to claim victory yet again — losing on a last-second shot.

The Maroon and White’s comeback attempt came up short. Junior guard Wade Taylor scored 41, but the Aggies couldn’t fully erase the first-half deficit.

Wade Taylor — a human microwave

Taylor came into the matchup ranked third in scoring in the SEC and led the Aggies in scoring with an average of 18.2 points per game. However, Taylor had also struggled with his efficiency, shooting just 36% from the field and 28% from 3 throughout the season.

Although he led the Aggies with 12 first-half points, he made just 1-6 3s and shot 4-11 from the field.

Taylor then erupted in the second half and finished the game with 41 points, a career-high, including an acrobatic 3-point shot to put the Aggies up 1 with 7.6 seconds left. However, it wasn’t enough as junior Razorback G Tramon Mark hit a last-second shot to put Arkansas up 1, sealing the Aggies’ fate.

The Ags missed Henry Coleman

Senior forward Henry Coleman III was announced out with an undisclosed injury shortly before tip-off, and his presence — or lack thereof — was felt.  Coming into the matchup, he was one of four SEC players averaging at least 10 points and eight rebounds a game. 

Although Coleman only had four points in the overtime win against Kentucky, his leadership and impact off the ball was severely missed. In his place, senior F Andersson Garcia and sophomore forward Solomon Washington were forced to step into bigger roles.

Garcia finished the game a perfect 5-5 from the field and also had a game-high 12 rebounds. Washington finished with five points and four rebounds, but ran into foul trouble in the second half. Coleman not only provides scoring and rebounding for A&M, but the Aggies have more depth at the forward position with him in the lineup.

Despite shooting woes, offensive rebounding kept the game within reach at halftime

The Aggies came into the matchup ranked last in 3-point and shooting percentage in the SEC. However, the shooting woes still continued against an Arkansas defense that ranked dead last in defending in the conference.

A&M struggled in the first half shooting the ball. The Maroon and White shot just 30% from the field and went 1-15 from the 3, with the first 3 made with 1:07 left in the first half. 

Part of the reason A&M stayed relatively close at half was the turnover and offensive rebounding differential. The Aggies outrebounded the Razorbacks 10-1 on the offensive glass and had just one turnover to Arkansas’ four at half.

Despite such poor shooting from A&M, the halftime score was only 46-32 in favor of Arkansas. The offensive rebounding and second-chance points allowed the Aggies to come back in the second half, but the shooting issues continued for the Aggies, as they ended the game shooting 21% from 3 and 32% from the field.

If the Aggies want to have success in conference play, they have to take advantage of the few struggling defensive teams they play. They did it last week against Kentucky, but couldn’t match it against the Razorbacks.

Tyrece Radford is key to the A&M victory

Taylor is a fantastic guard and scorer, but his efficiency issues in the first two SEC games showed how much the Aggies missed Radford.

The graduate guard showed up big time, as he put up 28 points and nine rebounds on 50% from the field in the upset win. This time around, Radford struggled shooting the rock. 

Radford only scored six points in 37 minutes on the court. He ended the game shooting 2-15 from the field and failed to make a 3 in his five attempts. Taylor can’t do it all, and Radford’s offensive performance is the key to A&M winning and losing close games.

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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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