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Buzz Williams
Flagg & Miller
Texas A&M Basketball

Aggies bounce back in hard fought win at Kansas State, 68-61

January 30, 2021

A dramatic reversal may spur Texas A&M to move forward.

The Aggies on Saturday reversed a trend of crunch time struggles with big plays down the stretch to post a 68-61 basketball victory over Kansas State in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge in Manhattan, Kansas.

Senior Savion Flagg converted a game-tying three-point play with 1:39 remaining. The Aggies followed with 10 more consecutive free throws to halt a three-game losing streak and post A&M’s first-ever win at Bramlage Coliseum.

The Aggies actually converted their last 18 free throws and overall shot a season-best 84.6 percent (22 of 26) at the free-throw line.

“That just speaks to the work we’ve been putting in in practice,” said sophomore forward Emanuel Miller. “We haven’t been getting to the foul line as much in conference play. It’s great to get back to our style of play.”

“The last two minutes we came up big. Coach Buzz was dialed in. Coach Jamie (McNeilly). The bench was dialed in. You could just see the intensity from the whole program and how bad we wanted to win this game.”

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Savion Flagg was clutch in the win, tying it at 55 with a three-point play with under two minutes left. 

Of course, the Aggies also wanted badly to beat LSU last Tuesday night. Instead, they failed to score for almost the last nine minutes and fell 78-66.

This time they surged with the game on the line.

The Aggies trailed 58-55 with less than two minutes left. They were nearing the end of a chaotic possession prompting coach Buzz Williams to call timeout with 10 seconds remaining on the shot clock.

“I didn’t necessarily want to call that timeout because my gut said that was going to be a one-possession game down the stretch,” Williams said. “But I didn’t like how that possession had begun.”

Williams dialed up a play to get the ball to Flagg, who was first to look for guard Jay Jay Chandler.

“The play was more me to catch the ball at the elbow and hit Jay Jay on a quick fade,” Flagg said. “They played it really well defensively and they denied him on the fade.”

“So, I turned and faced. I drove the ball, Eman (Miller) had a great seal that allowed me to get my man in the air and get the three-point play.”

After hitting a mid-lane jumper and drawing a foul on Kansas State forward Antonio Gordon, Flagg added the free throw to forge a tie.

“There’s a lot of options on that play,” Williams said. “Sav went through the first two reads. Then his decision-making was great. I thought the execution of the play for the first time of all the times that we’ve practiced it, obviously, was ginormous.”

From there, the Aggies clamped down with an effective press that forced three turnovers and forced the Wildcats so out of sync they made just one more basket.

Meanwhile, A&M launched a parade to the free-throw line.  

Quenton Jackson hit two freebies for a 60-58 A&M lead. Andre Gordon followed with four in a row.

Kansas State freshman Nijel Pack, who had 26 points, drilled a 3-pointer to keep the Wildcats in contention, 64-61, with 31 seconds to go.

But Jackson followed with two foul shots. After Pack misfired on a 3-pointer, Andre Gordon converted two more free throws to close out the scoring.

The Aggies hit almost all the metrics they need to post a victory. They committed only nine turnovers. They held a 35-30 rebounding advantage. That included nine offensive boards that resulted in seven second-chance points. And, of course, they were able to get to the foul line.

“There were multiple opportunities when things were not going our way. They continued to stand their ground. That’s what gave us a chance.”
- Head coach Buzz Williams

About the only thing they did not do well is shoot layups and guard Pack. The Aggies hit only 8 of 21 layups. Pack made that many 3-pointers.

The Aggies answered with Flagg and Chandler both scoring 14 points. Miller had 12 and Andre Gordon had 10. Even oft-struggling forward Kevin Marfo had 4 points — two on a banked-in jump shot — and six rebounds.

“I thought there were a lot of individual plays where you saw guys being the best version of who they can be,” Williams said. “I think that’s contagious. I think when things we not going perfectly we stood our ground and were able to execute and continue to carry on to the next play.”

The period in which things were not going perfectly was at the close of the first half.

Kansas State trailed 21-11 in the first half, but closed with a 12-3 run to pull within 24-23 at the break.

The lead frequently changed in the second half. Kansas State took its final lead, 58-55, on a baseline floater by Pack with 2:12 remaining.

However, the Aggies dominated afterward, beginning with Flagg’s three-point play.

“January hasn’t been the easiest of months for those guys,” Williams said. “For them to be able to close the month out in the fashion that they did…”

“There were multiple opportunities when things were not going our way. They continued to stand their ground. That’s what gave us a chance.”

Discussion from...

Aggies bounce back in hard fought win at Kansas State, 68-61

3,231 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 3 yr ago by sharpdressedman
war hymn aggie
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good to see that our senior players are finally starting to exert themselves.

It's gonna be a long year but it would bode well for the outlook of the team gong forward if Flagg & Q could lead this team down the stretch like Nebo & Mitchell did last season.
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Great article on a great game!
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