Story Poster
Buzz Williams
Jackson & Diarra
Steve Forbes
Texas A&M Basketball

NYC Bound: Texas A&M headed to NIT semifinals after defeating Wake Forest

March 23, 2022
14,012

Start spreading the news.
Aggies play on Tuesday.
They’re going to be a part of it.
In old New York.

Texas A&M advanced to New York, New York, behind a dominant defensive display in a 67-52 basketball victory over Wake Forest in the quarterfinals of the National Invitational Tournament on Wednesday night at Reed Arena.

The Aggies (26-12) will face Washington State, a 77-58 winner over BYU, in the NIT semifinals on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

“I was thinking about going to New York the whole game,” said sophomore guard Hassan Diarra, a native New Yorker who hit two key 3-pointers in the second half. “It’s a blessing playing in front of my family for the first time. I was just so excited. I’m glad we won. We did a great job today.”

Quenton Jackson and Wade Taylor IV each scored 12 points to lead the Aggies. Tyrece Radford had 10 points and eight rebounds. Henry Coleman III and Manny Obaseki both netted eight.

“I think that they’ve handled Selection Sunday through the next nine or ten days in a very mature way. I think that maturity was received by all of the players and all of the staff. I think you can see that in how we’ve handled the last 10 days.”
- Head coach Buzz Williams

But anything the Aggies did offensively paled in comparison to their effort on the defensive end.

They routinely disrupted Wake Forest (25-10), which was 16th in the nation in scoring and 10th in field goal percentage.

But the Demon Deacons were held to a season-low scoring output. Their previous low was in a 75-61 loss to LSU.

Further, in taking a stunning 32-15 halftime lead, A&M limited the Deacons to 14.8 percent shooting (4-27) from the field and 7.1 percent (1-14) from deep.

It was the first time Wake Forest had shot less than 20 percent in a single half since Jan. 19, 2011, when it shot 19 percent (4-of-21) at Georgia Tech.

The Aggies also forced a dozen turnovers, which were parlayed into 16 points.

“I think (we) did get rattled by the defense,” said Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes, who was an assistant coach at Texas A&M from 2004-06. “I think they sped us up. That’s part of their plan. They’re a really great help team.

“I do think there were some shots that we missed and were sped up. I’m not saying we didn’t win because we didn’t make shots. They had everything to do with it.

“You know, great defensive teams don’t hope that you miss. They make you miss. I learned that right here from ol’ Billy Gillispie.”

Wake Forest guard Alondes Williams — the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year — was averaging 18.8 points. He was held to nine points.

Forward Jake LaRavia, who averaged 14.9 points, managed just six.

“Thirty-one (Alondes Williams) commands so much attention,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “And then they utilize zero (Jake La Ravia) in a variety of ways, some of which are similar to 31.

“I thought we were fast to the ball, whether the ball was on the bounce or in the air. What we were trying to do required that because you can’t play 31 (Alondes Williams) straight up. You can’t play zero  (LaRavia) straight up. The teams that we studied and tried to do that did not have success.”

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Hassan Diarra, a native of Queens and a lifelong Knicks fan, will return home and play at the World’s Most Famous Arena for the first time on Tuesday night.

A&M’s defensive effort not only dismantled Wake Forest but also compensated for the Aggies’ own offensive struggles.

The Aggies shot just 39.3 percent from the field, hit just 5-of-23 attempts from 3-point range and converted a mere 58.3 percent from the foul line.

Because of that, the crowd of 8,201 got a little uncomfortable when the Deacons’ 7-footer Dallas Walton hit a 3-pointer to cut A&M’s lead to 42-33 with 11:23 to play.

Not to worry. Diarra hit a pair of 3-pointers in less than two minutes to stall Wake Forest’s comeback bid.

“Huge,” Jackson said. “We needed them. A momentum spark, too. That’s why we were able to push the game to what it ended with.”

“He, for sure, wanted to go home,” added Williams.

The Aggies eventually increased the lead to as much as 21 points, 63-42, on a Taylor steal-and-layup with 4:42 to play.

Though not anticipated against Wake Forest, the defensive gem was wholly appropriate. The Aggies have been on the defensive since being omitted from the NCAA Tournament on March 13’s Selection Sunday.

Since then, they’ve posted three consecutive NIT victories by double-digit margins. Indeed, in winning 10 of their last 11 games, A&M has posted seven double-digit victories.

“I think that they’ve handled Selection Sunday through the next nine or 10 days in a very mature way,” Williams said. “I think that maturity was received by all of the players and all of the staff.

“I think you can see that in how we’ve handled the last 10 days.”

They’ve handled it so well that Texas A&M is heading to New York, New

Discussion from...

NYC Bound: Texas A&M headed to NIT semifinals after defeating Wake Forest

8,987 Views | 8 Replies | Last: 4 mo ago by Papa Joe
cobra c 74
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Go to New York and win it all!!
Great players, great team!!
Please call me 913 645 3934 so we can get straight why I can not access and what you need from me to make this happern
BryanAggie2013
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
If you haven't, watch Forbes' interview. He and Wake Forest have a new fan in this Ag.
TheChameleon
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Props to the players and coaches for what the team has been able to do since the snub. Against Alcorn, might've been a little tired or disappointed, maybe a bit of both... But still won, and the last two games they've looked much more like they did down the stretch in the regular season/SEC tourney. They just wanted it more than Wake last night. Really cool that they're all going to have the opportunity of playing at MSG now. Testament to the resilience and heart this team has shown.
jeremy
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
BryanAggie2013 said:

If you haven't, watch Forbes' interview. He and Wake Forest have a new fan in this Ag.


Thanks for recommending. I wouldn't have watched it if you hadn't recommended. I was really cool
Stone44
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Forbes is great! So gracious in defeat. Class act.
heavens11
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Q needs to sell a shirt with "it's love" on it. I'll buy a few :-)
West Point Aggie
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
BryanAggie2013 said:

If you haven't, watch Forbes' interview. He and Wake Forest have a new fan in this Ag.

Good call…that was one of the most gracious and complimentary interviews by a losing coach I've heard…
Let’s Go Brandon!
Papa Joe
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Do you remember little Alex Caruso?
I know players when I see one!
Coach Forbes
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.