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Buzz Williams
Jackson & Radford
Texas A&M Basketball

Aggies overcome slow start to beat Alcorn State in NIT opener, 74-62

March 16, 2022
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Disappointment and disinterest seemingly contributed to a slow start for Texas A&M on Tuesday night.

But once the Aggies shook off any negative emotions stemming from Selection Sunday, they easily shook off Alcorn State.

Texas A&M (24-12) broke out of the doldrums of a lackluster first half with a strong second-half performance and claimed a 74-62 basketball victory over Alcorn (17-17) in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament at Reed Arena.

The Aggies will advance to face Oregon, which defeated Utah State, 83-72, at a time to be decided.

“After studying all of this non-stop the last two days and looking at it from every vantage point, it denies logic that we are not in the NCAA Tournament. Despite repeated pleas, I have only been given generalities by those above me, not data-specific evidence, on why we weren’t invited.”
- A&M head coach Buzz Williams

“It was just our energy was low,” senior guard Quenton Jackson explained of the Aggies’ slow start.  
“We had to pick up our energy. That was really it.”

In truth, there was much more to A&M’s slow start. The Aggies were playing their fifth game in six days following a successful four-day run to the finals of the Southeastern Conference postseason tournament.

However, coach Buzz Williams made it clear in an emotional speech that the Aggies were struggling with the disappointment of being omitted from the 68-team NCAA Tournament field.

He gave the team off on Monday and used much of that time to analyze data of several teams that were chosen over A&M for the NCAA Tournament.

“After studying all of this non-stop the last two days and looking at it from every vantage point, it denies logic that we are not in the NCAA Tournament,” Williams said. “Despite repeated pleas, I have only been given generalities by those above me, not data-specific evidence, on why we weren’t invited.

“Without logical reasoning because the decision — while knowing I still have to explain this to our guys and their families — it has caused me to lose all respect and faith in the system and those that are in it.”

That lingering disappointment was surely a factor in the Aggies struggling early and going into halftime tied 27-27.

The Aggies shot just 38.5 percent and were outrebounded 22-12 in the first half.

“I was just as much a part of the problem — or more — than any of our guys were,” Williams said of the lackadaisical first half. “So, I apologized to them in a sincere way. I told them I would do better and that we needed to do better. And we for sure doubled our output and almost scored 50 in the second half, so we were a lot better.”

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Radford posted a 14-point, 14-rebound double-double in the winning effort.

Tyrece Radford, who led A&M with 14 points, was hesitant to use disappointment as an alibi.

“Honestly, it just put a bigger chip on our shoulder,” Radford said. “We can’t BS this tournament. We’re going to continue to play our ball.”

About a minute into the second half, the Aggies finally resembled that team that defeated Florida, Auburn and Arkansas in consecutive days.

Manny Obasaki scored a layup off an assist from Jackson to start a 10-0 run that staked A&M to a 37-30 lead.

The Aggies never lost the lead, though they did not take control until Hayden Hefner, Javonte Brown and Andre Gordon hit six consecutive free throws for a 52-40 lead with 10:06 left.

A&M’s advantage eventually swelled to 65-44 on a conventional three-point play with just over six minutes to play. The Aggies never again were seriously threatened.

Wade Taylor IV and Hassan Diarra both had 12 point points to complement Radford’s output. Jackson had 10.

D.J. Brewton scored 20 points to lead Alcorn State.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Hassan Diarra went a perfect eight-of-eight from the free-throw line.

Though A&M was better in the second half, Williams cautioned their effort would not be sufficient moving forward.

“I did not think that we played great in the first half,” Williams said. “I thought they were really good on the glass. I thought we were just there.

“We were better in the second half, but we were for sure not at any point hitting on all cylinders.

“We’ll take off tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow at some point we find out when we play again. Once we find that out, we’ll try to make a decision in hopes that we can kind of get re-calibrated because we won’t be able to continue to play and play the way we did tonight.”

Discussion from...

Aggies overcome slow start to beat Alcorn State in NIT opener, 74-62

3,084 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 5 mo ago by mullokmotx
Angry Beaver
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AG
Quote:

Disappointment and disinterest seemingly contributed to a slow start for Texas A&M on Tuesday night.


Disappointment and disinterest?!? These guys have played 5 games the past 6 days! And don't forget that three of those teams were ranked in the Top 15 (two of them in the Top 10) and still beat two of them... In a one-and-done tournament environment.
Aggie Joe 93
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Impressive interview from the players.

It's clear Coach Williams let them know how to handle NCAA Tournament questions and they were up to it. They appear "in" on going forward - the best thing they can do for themselves now.

In this respect they are acting with class and professionalism.
Cotton79
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Great comments above.

I'm thinking philosophically here, specifically the quote:
Quote:

"A smooth sea never made for a skillful sailor."

Life itself has turbulent seas for us all, and these young men on this Aggie basketball team are certainly no different. Hopefully, they are honing their own skills as adults by adapting to the injustices of the selection committee. They cannot control the decisions of that committee nor the ones made by TV gurus who pull the sticks and levers behind it all (as if they were the balloon flying Wizard himself).

But they CAN control themselves, and that is the best gift that Buzz can give them throughout all this hullaballoo.

Just Gig'em, Aggies!
Beat the HELL Outta the whole NIT!
mullokmotx
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The attendance of 6379 Tuesday was the 3rd best of the 16 first round NIT games. Vanderbilt had 7773 followed by Utah State at 7023. Lowest were Xavier with 1482 and Washington State with 1389.
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