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Texas A&M Basketball

Skid reaches eight games as top-ranked Auburn overwhelms Texas A&M

February 12, 2022

Press conference video courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics.

The task Texas A&M faced on Saturday was too tall.

So was Auburn’s Walker Kessler.

Mismatched inside and missing outside, the Aggies (15-10, 4-8) sustained their eight consecutive Southeastern Conference basketball loss as the 7-foot-1 Kessler keyed a 75-58 blowout for No. 1 Auburn (23-2, 11-1).

The Aggies (15-10, 4-8) struggled in the paint against Kessler, 6-foot-11 Dylan Cardwell and 6-foot-10 Jabari Smith. A&M converted only 12-of-32 attempted layups.

Kessler and guard Alan Flanigan, who had 16 points, led a group of four Tigers in double figures.

Henry Coleman III posted a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds to lead A&M. Quenton Jackson was the Aggies leading scorer with 11 points. Wade Taylor IV and Tyrece Radford also had 10.

But that foursome converted only 12-of-42 shots against the Auburn defense.

Walker Kessler had 12 blocks en route to a triple-double.

“It was pretty difficult,” Coleman said. “They were very physical. It was just kind of hard to block their shot or get around the rim.”

Kicking the basketball out to the perimeter wasn’t much of an option, either. The Aggies missed their first 14 shots from 3-point range. They finished just 3-of-22 (13.6 percent) from beyond the arc.

It was their most futile showing behind the line since converting just 1-of-22 in a 64-58 loss to Kentucky, the first defeat in A&M’s losing streak.

Still, coach Buzz Williams saw enough to be encouraged at least to some degree.

“I thought we did a lot of good things today, particularly at the start,” Williams said. "I thought our presence on the glass was really good. We played to the game plan in many respects. We didn’t convert at the rim the way that we need to, obviously.

“In rotation, we didn’t make catch shoot shots at the rate that we needed to. The live ball turnovers continue to hurt us. We were better at that in the second half than we were in the first half. We did do some good things, just not good enough to win today.”

The Aggies did show some progress in the first half. They had 14 offensive rebounds and limited Auburn to just three.

However, A&M shot just 17.9 percent from the field and was 0-for-10 from 3-point range in the first half. The outcome was essentially settled at halftime.

"There were some shots, particularly in the first half, that maybe you would say, ‘Should we have shot it?’” Williams said. “We were a little out of sorts on three or four possessions. You have to shoot predictable shots. A blocked shot against them typically turns to transition. An ill-advised shot turns to transition.”

The Aggies trailed just 10-9 after Taylor scored a rare layup with 10:35 left in the half. But A&M managed just a Javonte Brown put-back over the next seven minutes.

By then, Auburn was cruising with a 28-11 lead. The Tigers held a 33-18 advantage at halftime.

Auburn outscored the Aggies 9-2 to start the second half. The margin eventually grew to 25 points and never dipped below 15.

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Skid reaches eight games as top-ranked Auburn overwhelms Texas A&M

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