Graduate G Tyrece Radford walks off the court for the final time after Texas A&Ms loss against Houston in the second round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee, on Sunday, March 24, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Graduate G Tyrece Radford walks off the court for the final time after Texas A&M’s loss against Houston in the second round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee, on Sunday, March 24, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Photo by Kyle Heise

Heartbreak in Memphis

Aggies force overtime against Cougars, still fall 100-95

Texas A&M men’s basketball’s game against Houston was a microcosm of its entire season: It was tough, it was physical and it was a fight to the very end. Unfortunately for the Aggies, they could not get vengeance over the Houston Cougars, falling 100-95 in the Round of 32 to bring their season to a close.

From the start, it was a dogfight. That was to the surprise of no one. Both Houston coach Kelvin Sampson and coach Buzz Williams pride themselves on playing intense, physical basketball. Each team went back and forth, trading blows early on.

No team managed to grab a lead larger than 3 until the 9:25 mark in the first half, when senior Cougar guard LJ Cryer finished off his trip to the charity stripe. From then on, Houston was in the driver’s seat.

The Cougar’s lead grew to as much as 7 in the first half, as junior G Wade Taylor IV — who scored 25 in the First Round against Nebraska — grabbed his only point of the half with 1:03 left in the half.

After halftime, A&M was tasked with playing catch-up against the No. 1 scoring defense in the country.  The Aggies were able to cut it a 3-point deficit early, but couldn’t pierce through the Cougar’s defense consistently, and with 1:04 left in the second half, FedExForum was buzzing with Houston fans who could feel their berth to the Sweet 16 at hand.

Then, madness happened. 

The Aggies closed the second half on a 9-2 run, akin to the miraculous comeback over Northern Iowa in 2016. With 1.2 second left, senior forward Andersson Garcia caught the inbounded pass at the top of the key, firing off a 3 that found the bottom of the net, forcing overtime. 

However, despite the ferocious comeback, A&M could not finish things off in overtime, being outscored 14-9, ending its season with a heartbreaker. 

The Maroon and White finish the season 21-15, unable to grab a second win in the NCAA Tournament.


The Aggies got chances to cash in from the free-throw line, but simply couldn’t

A&M, whose offense had been on fire as of late, met a brick wall in the Cougar’s defense. However, they had chances to score from the charity stripe, as the Aggies’ offensive physicality led to 22 free-throw attempts.

The Maroon and White only made 11.

Against a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament, leaving 11 points off the board is a recipe for disaster, and that’s exactly what it was for A&M.

The Aggies got things back on track in the second half, going 14 for 17 from the line, but by that point, it was too late. A&M finished 64.4% from the line, leaving 16 total points at the line.

There are many things to point to as to why the Maroon and White couldn’t fight back against Houston, but a sub-par clip from the free-throw line has been an on-and-off problem that has plagued A&M this season, and it reared its head in the Aggies’ final game of the year.


Houston’s offense — not it’s defense — was what did the Aggies in

The Cougars came into the matchup only allowing 56.7 points per game. So looking at A&M’s final points sitting at 95, most Aggie fans would think they’d be in a pretty good spot to upset Houston.

However, Houston lit the Aggies up on the offensive end, shooting 51.5%. The duo of senior guards Jamal Shead and L.J. Cryer, alongside sophomore G Emanuel Sharp, scored 71 of Houston’s 100. 

From deep, the Cougars shot 32.4% and outpaced the Aggies offensively. 


 Aggie fans will miss Tyrece Radford 

Tough as boot leather. 

This phrase has been used to describe graduate G Tyrece Radford during his time at A&M. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native followed Williams from Virginia Tech to A&M, and has been a staple of the Aggies’ offense ever since. 

Known for his physical play, Radford ends this season averaging 16.1 points per game and, alongside Taylor, was part of one of the most lethal backcourt duos in not just the SEC, but the entire country. 

In the final game of his career in Maroon and White, Radford scored a team high 27 points and 15 boards, and was four assists away from a triple-double. 

A&M will be losing a staple of its team from the past three seasons, but his impact on A&M will be remembered by Aggie fans for years to come. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *