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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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When it rains, it pours

Aggies lose big in Rocky Top, tournament hopes dwindle
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Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)

Outhustled, outplayed and possibly out of the tournament.

The Aggies entered the matchup having dropped their last three games, including losses to Alabama and bottom-feeding Arkansas and Vanderbilt. Their last win came against, guess who, Tennessee at home on Feb. 10.

This time around, Tennessee got its get back, 86-51.

After the first win over the Volunteers, things were looking up for coach Buzz Williams and his squad. But the poor losses to the Razorbacks and Commodores dropped the Aggies to 2-4 in Quad 3 games this year.

Junior G Wade Taylor III scored the Aggies’ first nine points of the game, but A&M — like they have most of the season — struggled to shoot the ball in the first half. In spite of the shooting woes, A&M found itself hanging around in the first half.

Junior G Jace Carter hit back-to-back 3s to tie the game at 24 apiece with 4:36 left in the first half. However, the Volunteers closed the half on a 13-3 run after a buzzer-beating 3 by graduate G Santiago Vescovi.

Things didn’t get much better for the Aggies to open the second half. Tennessee took its 10-point lead and turned it into a 17-point lead into the under-16 timeout.

The Volunteers didn’t let off the gas, as they then took a 22-point lead into the under-8 timeout. The hole the Aggies found themselves wasn’t just too deep, it kept getting deeper.

Live by the 3, DIE by the 3

Last time out versus the Volunteers, the Aggies shot 11 of 28 from 3 — an unusual 39%. Tonight, the Aggies shot 22 3-pointers in the first half, while only making five of them. They ended the night shooting 7-34 from 3.

It’s no secret that this A&M squad struggles with shooting the ball. It ranks dead last in the SEC and ranks 347th out of 351 teams in the nation in 3-point percentage. Yet, the Aggies rank 79th in the nation in totals 3s attempted as a team at 627.

Sure, the offense is predicated on offensive rebounds and second-chance points. Problems arise when the Aggies are unable to dominate these battles or capitalize on their opportunities.

Tonight, the offensive-board battle was tied 10-10, with the Volunteers winning the second chance points battle, 9-8. Tennessee is clearly the better team, but with A&M’s shooting problems, if it can’t do what it does best, tonight’s result is what happens.

A&M possibly played themselves out of the tournament

ESPN Analyst Joe Lunardi had A&M as the first team out of the tournament entering tonight.

The loss tonight to Tennessee is hard to hold against the Aggies as it came on the road, same with the loss away to Alabama. However, the bad losses to Vandy and Arkansas really hurt A&M’s chances of receiving an automatic bid to the Big Dance.

As mentioned, those two losses to the Commodores and Crimson Tide dropped A&M’s Quad-3 record. Looking at A&M’s Quad-1, 2 and 4 record, it looks like a tournament team — easily.

Hindsight is 20/20, but things could look a lot different if the Aggies took care of business against their inferior opponents. But their Quad-3 record may be the reason it misses out on the tournament, barring a miraculous run in the SEC Tournament.

Scoring depth has been a problem all season — and it showed tonight

Texas A&M had three scorers in double digits tonight. The issue was its two main scorers only had 11 each, and it only had six players show up on the scoresheet.

Graduate G Tyrece Radford struggled shooting tonight. He shot just 25% from the field, including 22% from 3. Taylor didn’t fare much better with the same field goal percentage and a 30% 3-point percentage.

Carter was the team’s next highest scorer with 10, with senior F Henry Coleman III right behind him with 9. Having six guys with all your points can be manageable, but if your top-2 scorers only combine for 22, you need more than four other players to show up.

Scoring depth has been a serious issue for the Aggies the whole season. As the year has dragged on and legs start to get tired, the teams that separate themselves from the pack can defer to multiple guys on any given night.

With the regular season coming to a close, the Aggies will need unsung heroes to step up if they want to avoid continuing this losing streak.

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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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