Photo by Jackie Ysaquirre, TexAgs
Texas A&M Basketball

Starks buzzer beater lifts Texas A&M over Alabama, 81-80

January 12, 2019
6,402

T.J. Starks made only one 3-point goal, but that’s all he needed to lift Texas A&M to an 81-80 Southeastern Conference basketball victory over Alabama on Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Starks banked in the game-winner from the ring wing and over the outstretched right hand of Alabama’s John Petty just before the buzzer. 

The Aggies (7-7, 1-2) trailed by as many as 12 points early in the second half. In previous SEC losses to Arkansas and Kentucky, the Aggies wilted late in the game. This time they made the necessary big plays and got a little luck to turn back the Tide (10-5, 1-2).

A&M trailed 79-76 with just 11.5 seconds remaining after Alabama’s Dazon Ingram hit a pair of free throws.

Starks tried to forge a tie seconds later, but his 3-point fell short. Savion Flagg grabbed the rebound on the baseline and was fouled by Riley Norris on a put-back.

Flagg made both free throws to keep the Aggies’ upset hopes intact. Those hopes were in jeopardy as Kira Lewis went to the free throw line with 3.4 seconds left.

As the game clock was quickly winding down, he [Starks] angled toward the 3-point arc and launched his sixth 3-point attempt of the game just before time expired.

But Lewis missed the first foul shot. After he made the second, Flagg tossed the in-bounds pass to the mercurial Starks, who sped down the sideline in front of the Aggies bench.

As the game clock was quickly winding down, he angled toward the 3-point arc and launched his sixth 3-point attempt of the game just before time expired.

The officials reviewed the play, but video tape confirmed Starks shot before the buzzer sounded.

Starks finished with 12 points, but he was by no means a lone star for the Aggies. Josh Nebo came off the bench to dominate inside with a career-high 21 points and seven rebounds. Wendell Mitchell added 18 points and Flagg had 16.

Alabama was led by Petty with 22 points, while Donta Hall and Lewis each had 14 and Tevin Mack had 10.

The Aggies outscored Alabama 48-30 in the paint, hit 73.3 percent at the free throw line (22 of 30) and committed a mere 3 turnovers.

The Aggies trailed 43-32 at halftime, but dominated the second half.

A&M struggled with its shooting in the first half. That changed significantly in the second half as the Aggies hit 50 percent (16 of 32) from the field. Also key, Alabama was limited to three 3-point goals in the second half after knocking down seven treys in the first half.

The Aggies took their first lead, 63-62, on a pair of John Walker free throws with 7:36 showing.

From there, neither team managed more than a two-point lead until Ingram’s two free throws put the Tide ahead, 79-76. with just over 11 seconds to go.

At that point it appeared A&M would come up short again. But the Aggies and Starks had other ideas.

 
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