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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Varsity’s horns remain intact after Reed Arena matchup

Photo by Photo by Ishika Samant

Junior Jordan Nixon shoots the ball.

No. 17 Texas A&M hosted a historic rival in No. 15 Texas at Reed Arena, suffering its first loss of the season at the hands of the Longhorns.
Over the two teams’ last six meetings, A&M has lost five. The Aggies fall to 8-1 after a 76-60 loss at home; Texas improves to 6-1.
“If you would have told me we would have been 8-1, I would have been the happiest person in the world,” A&M coach Gary Blair said. “But it’s hard to be happy when you lose to a team on your court. Doesn’t matter what the rankings are; you’re supposed to be the favorites.”
The Aggies started hot in the opening quarter, earning a quick 11-3 lead over Texas. Graduate guard Destiny Pitts had three 3-pointers halfway through the first quarter. The Longhorns fought back, going on an 11-0 run. A buzzer-beating three by freshman guard Rori Harmon put the Longhorns ahead 20-13 at the end of the quarter.
Junior guard Jordan Nixon, who was held scoreless to begin the game, scored seven points for the Aggies in a back-and-forth second quarter. Both teams took turns going on multiple-possession runs, but neither team managed to gain much ground, with the halftime score reading 36-26 in the Longhorns’ favor.
Graduate guard Kayla Wells and junior center Sydnee Roby, who both had quiet first halves for A&M, showed up for the Aggies in the third quarter. Wells had nine points and Roby had eight, with the latter scoring eight-straight points, drawing four fouls and putting two Longhorns into foul trouble.
Despite this, Texas junior guard Aliyah Matharu kept the Longhorns in control, scoring eight points in the third quarter, including two 3-pointers. Texas, up 54-46, maintained its lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“When we’re trying to get back into the games,” Wells said, “We can’t trade baskets with people because it’s still going to be an even margin.”
On the cusp of suffering their first loss, the Aggies needed to go on a run in the fourth quarter, but instead Texas went on an early 9-2 run that killed any A&M momentum. Matharu continued her dominance, scoring nine points in the fourth quarter. Harmon matched this total, hitting seven of her eight free-throw attempts in the final quarter.
The guards led the way for Texas in a rowdy environment on the road. Matharu finished with a game-high 26 points, and Harmon had 18 points with a game-high nine assists off the bench.
For the Aggies, Roby was the lone player with a positive plus-minus, scoring a season-high 16 points in just 19 minutes of action. Two other Aggies, Pitts and Wells, scored in double digits, but both found themselves in foul trouble in the second half.
The Aggies’ struggles stemmed from their turnovers and 3-point shooting. A&M had 19 turnovers that led to Texas scoring 32 points off turnovers. The Longhorns only turned the ball over seven times, none of which resulted in quick buckets for the Aggies. In addition, the Aggies shot only 29% behind the arc despite being known as a strong 3-point shooting team.
“We continued to shoot threes instead of finding other ways to score,” Blair said. “Like a midrange game, getting to the foul line, we shot zero free throws in the first half. That’s the key part right there.”
The Aggies’ next game will take place on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. when they host Texas Southern.
“Our students, we had 1,400 of them at the game,” Blair said. “I’m so proud. Maybe they’ll start coming back on their own to see what this team is all about.”
Editor’s note: Junior guard Jordan Nixon is an opinion writer for The Battalion.

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