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Buzz Williams
Jackson & Hefner
Texas A&M Basketball

Aggies fend off late run to reach 20-win plateau and continue streak

March 5, 2022

Second-chance points are frequently the difference in a basketball victory.

But a less-than-a-second chance proved vital for Texas A&M in a 67-64 Southeastern Conference victory over Mississippi State on Saturday night at Reed Arena.

Clinging to a precarious 63-60 lead, the Aggies appeared to commit a shot clock violation with 26.9 seconds remaining.

That would’ve given the visiting Bulldogs, who had rallied from a 19-point deficit, the basketball with a chance to tie.

Instead, game officials consulted the replay, which revealed that Aggies’ forward Henry Coleman III was fouled by Mississippi State’s D.J. Jefferies with 0.9 seconds remaining on the shot clock.

“It was the right call,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said matter-of-factly.

Corinne Moody, TexAgs
In his final game at Reed Arena, Quenton Jackson led the Aggies in scoring with 18.

Coleman converted the ensuing free throws, and the surging Aggies (20-11, 9-9) went on to close out their fifth victory in six games.

“I kind of already knew he had gotten fouled before the buzzer went off,” senior guard Quenton  Jackson said. “When we was playing, I’m looking at Henry, and I saw him get fouled as the buzzer went off.

“I told him, ‘Hit the free throws.’ Everybody was telling him hit the free throws.”

Coleman finished with 12 points. Jackson led the Aggies with 18, while Tyrece Radford had 11, Wade Taylor IV contributed 10, and Hayden Hefner had nine.

Mississippi State (17-14, 8-10) was led by 6-foot-11 forward Tolu Smith with 18 points, guard Iverson Molinar with 15 and forward Andersson Garcia with 14.

The game was a microcosm of the Aggies’ topsy-turvy season in which they started SEC play 4-0, lost eight straight and finish strong down the stretch to win five of their last six.

They got off to a fast start en route to taking a 44-25 lead less than six minutes into the second half.

Then they hit a slump, which enabled the Bulldogs to whittle away at the lead and pull within three points, 61-58, on Iverson Molinar’s spinning mid-lane jumper with 1:27 to play.

“I think we just fell into a little lapse of the old us, I guess in a sense,” Jackson said. “We just have to keep our foot on the pedal. We knew we had to turn it on. We couldn’t give it away. We rallied at the end. Figured it out.”

They figured it out to make clutch plays down the stretch to finish strong.

Among those clutch plays in the final minutes:

Hefner dished to Coleman for a dunk that proved A&M a 60-54 lead with 2:59 remaining.

Corinne Moody, TexAgs
Henry Coleman III sank two huge free throws late in the contest to help seal the victory.

“It was really just me trying to create,” Hefner said. “I didn’t want to turn the ball over, but I knew I still needed to be aggressive.

“I got it out. I knew they were going to think I was going to shoot it because of how the game had been playing. I knew he was going to bite or just play me aggressive. So getting past knowing the other guy to come and help, I just dumped it off the Henry. I’m glad he finished it.”

Radford converted a swooping layup from the left side for a 63-58 lead with 1:14 left.

After Coleman hit his two clutch free throws, Andre Gordon soon followed with two more to finally turn away the stubborn Bulldogs.

Radford made a length-of-the-court in-bounds pass to Ethan Henderson with 7.9 seconds left, which enabled the Aggies to run out the clock.

Henderson was wide open under the basket but opted to pass the ball out rather than risk a missed shot.

Perhaps he should’ve waited on Jackson, who could’ve added a final spectacular dunk in his last game at Reed Arena.

“I wasn’t going to shoot it. That’s just me. We had already won the game,” Jackson said. “I could’ve dunked it. Like bad. Because I was thinking about it.”

With the victory, the Aggies finished in a five-way tie for fifth place in the SEC standings.

They enter next week’s SEC Tournament as the #8 seed to face #9 Florida on Thursday at 11 a.m.

That’s not bad considering less than a month ago the Aggies were languishing in an eight-game losing streak and were 12th in the SEC.

“When you lose eight in a row, and everybody is saying all the things that was being said, I think that emotionally just whips you,” Williams said. “To then respond over the last three weeks the way that we did and win five out of six …”

It’s as if the Aggies got a second chance.

Discussion from...

Aggies fend off late run to reach 20-win plateau and continue streak

4,239 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 3 mo ago by Charlie 31
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Fantastic turnaround. Extremely impressed with the grit. Despite the losing streak it's all still there in front of them. Gotta beat Florida first.
Goat Man
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Charlie 31
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Great job, Ags. Now, let's BTHO Florida!!!
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