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Texas A&M Basketball

Texas A&M turns attention to Alcorn State in first round of NIT

March 15, 2022

In dealing with the disappointment of being committed from the NCAA Tournament field, Texas A&M can take two approaches tonight in the first round of the NIT.

The Aggies (23-12) can opt to take the night off. Or they can take their frustrations out of Alcorn State (17-16).

A&M plays host to Alcorn at Reed Arena in an 8 p.m. clash.

During an impressive run to the Southeastern Conference Tournament final last week, A&M forward Henry Coleman III vowed the Aggies would react accordingly if relegated to the consolation NIT.

“It would be a blessing for us to be in that (NCAA) tournament,” Coleman said after the Aggies fell to Tennessee. “But I think even if we’re not, we’re going to handle it the right way.”

That’s easy to say when a spot in the NCAA field was still possible. How the Aggies respond to that disappointment is uncertain.

Corinne Moody, TexAgs
The NIT presents another chance for Quenton Jackson to play at Reed Arena.

But A&M responded well to an eight-game losing streak. They’ve won eight of their last ten games, including SEC Tournament victories over Florida, Auburn and Arkansas.

Coleman and guards Quenton Jackson and Tyrece Radford led the way in that run. Coleman and Jackson averaged 15 points in the SEC Tournament. Radford averaged 14.

That trio again will be key for the Aggies to make another run in the NIT.

Of course, the first step would be defeating Alcorn, the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular-season champion.

The Braves went 14-4 in SWAC play to win the regular-season conference championship. However, they fell to Texas Southern, 87-62, in the conference tournament. That loss resulted in Alcorn landing in the NIT.

The Braves are led by guard Justin Thomas, who averages 10.9 points. Also, forward Keondre Montgomery averages 9.8 points and center Darrious Agnew averages 9.0 points and 4.0 rebounds.

Alcorn’s most impressive victory was a 75-72 at Texas Southern on Feb. 28. In that win, Thomas and Agnew each scored 12 points, and Montgomery had 11.

Five other Alcorn players average more than six points per game, so the Braves don’t have to rely too heavily on their top trio.

Still, A&M figures to advance if they take the NIT seriously.

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