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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

Senior INF Rylen Wiggins (2) high fives Senior INF Trinity Cannon (6) before Texas A&Ms game against UTSA on Feb. 25, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
Storm the Beach
February 29, 2024
Senior INF Rylen Wiggins (2) high fives Senior INF Trinity Cannon (6) before Texas A&Ms game against UTSA on Feb. 25, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
Storm the Beach
February 29, 2024

Tiger kings

A&M finishes both halves strong to claim sweep of Missouri
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Photo by Ishika Samant
Texas A&M forward Andersson Garcia (11) dunks the ball during Texas A&M’s game against Missouri on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2024, in Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

Texas A&M’s men’s basketball finally closed out a game by a double-digit margin.

The Aggies’ last six games were decided by 6 points or less, including a 1-point win over Florida, a late 3-point loss to Ole Miss and a heartbreaking buzzer beater versus Arkansas. This time around, A&M was able to break the streak.

The Tigers came into the matchup on a nine-game losing streak, with all losses in SEC play. Mizzou was without its leading scorer in graduate guard Sean East II, but the Tigers took a 1-point lead with 7:51 left in the first half. However, the Aggies closed the half on a 16-2 run to take a 38-25 lead into the break.

The Tigers came out of the gates in the second half, making seven-straight field goals to bring the game back within single digits. But, the Aggies regained an 11-point lead with 9:56 left in the game after a 3 by graduate guard Tyrece Radford.

The Tigers tried to claw back, but with 4:04 left, Junior guard Wade Taylor IV drove to the rim and absorbed the contact on a left-handed layup, and converted a 3-point opportunity to extend the lead to 19 points.

A&M didn’t relinquish the lead, as it closed out the game with a 79-60 win to grab its fifth conference victory of the year.

Tyrece Radford’s return to form is the boost the Aggies needed

Coming into the matchup, Radford averaged 12.6 PPG in five games versus Mizzou. This time around, he finished with 22 points on 53% shooting.

This marks Radford’s second-straight game with 20+ points and his third game of conference play with at least 20 points. In every game this year that he has scored in the 20s, the Aggies have yet to lose.

The biggest thing the past two games has been Radford’s efficiency. This is his fifth-straight game scoring double digits, but he was shooting 34% from the field prior to the win over Florida.

Although Missouri is at the bottom of the SEC, Radford’s experience and scoring was and will be needed if the Aggies want a chance at being competitive with No. 6 Tennessee coming to Reed Arena this weekend.

Andersson Garcia — Mr. Do-it-All

The importance of senior forward Andersson Garcia as the sixth man cannot be overstated. He may not light up the box score with points, but his rebounding and defense provides A&M with a spark it desperately needs when it isn’t shooting the ball well — which is seemingly most games.

Garcia came into the game third in the country in rebounds and second in the SEC in offensive rebounds a game. He surpassed his average of 8.5 rebounds per game in the first half with 11 rebounds. He also added five points and three assists.

Garcia closed the game out with 16 rebounds, five assists and 2 blocks — all team-highs. He finished with eight offensive rebounds and his rebound total marked his second-highest rebounding total of the year.

Points in the paint and defense was the deciding factor

Mentioning the Aggies’ poor outside-shooting performance is like a beating drum, it’s consistent and repetitive, but the difference maker for them was finding a way to score in the paint and defense.

A&M found its way to the paint early when the shots weren’t falling, and ended the game with 48 points in the paint to Mizzou’s 26. It also scored 24 points off 12 turnovers while surrendering the ball just seven times.

Being able to get to the paint to score was vital for the Aggies. They shot just 23.5% from 3, which is typical, but ended the night with a 47.6% field goal percentage. With the number of offensive rebounds this team grabs, getting high-percentage buckets can be a big-time boost for A&M heading into a tough final stretch of SEC play.

Henry Coleman III finds his groove

Since missing the Arkansas game due to injury, senior F Henry Coleman III struggled to find his footing in the following games.

He finished with just 2 and 4 points in the wins over LSU and Kentucky, respectively. But, he scored 10 points in the Aggies’ first victory over Mizzou. With just 7 points combined the last two games, Coleman had 8 points on 66.7% shooting and grabbed five rebounds along with an assist in tonight’s win over the Tigers.

Coleman’s newfound role off the bench is more than just scoring, but him getting on the scoresheet for the Aggies can provide much needed bench points against stiffer competition.

 

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