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Texas A&M Basketball

No. 12 A&M's unbeaten start ends with loss to No. 19 FAU in high-scoring affair

November 24, 2023
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ORLANDO, Fla. — Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin combined for 51 points on 11 3-point baskets to lead No. 19 Florida Atlantic (FAU) to a heated 96-89 victory over No. 12 Texas A&M on Friday in the semifinal round of the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando.

Wade Taylor IV led the Aggies in scoring with 35 points, with Hayden Hefner chipping in 14 and Manny Obaseki adding 13 in the loss.

The contest went back and forth in the first half, with Henry Coleman III on-pace to have another big game with eight points.

Unfortunately for A&M, the senior went down with an ankle injury with 3:04 to go in the first half and did not return to the game.

Without Coleman, the Aggies were able to close the gap to 46-44 at the break thanks to consecutive 3-point buckets by Taylor and an offensive putback by Solomon Washington.

Ultimately, the loss of Coleman and then an injury to veteran Tyrece Radford was too much to overcome, with FAU beginning the second half on a 16-3 run.

The Owls would stretch that lead to 68-50 after a Brandon Weatherspoon 3-pointer with 12:21 remaining in the contest.

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Taylor’s 35 points represent a career-high. He is now averaging 18.2 points per game.

“It was an awful start (second half). We had bad closeouts and bad rotations on a lot of those threes in that stretch,” A&M head coach Buzz Williams said. “But overall, I thought our group did incredibly well without Henry and Boots (Radford).

“That was a Final Four team we played. They are incredibly well-coached and very talented.”

Williams indicated that Coleman sprained his ankle, and his status is unknown for Sunday’s game.

Radford left the game with breathing difficulties and will be evaluated. His status for Sunday is also unknown.

The Aggies did make a late second-half run and closed the gap to 75-71 with 6:03 remaining on the back of Taylor, who scored 10 consecutive points for the Maroon & White.

However, FAU was just too good and responded with a pair of 3-point goals by Bryan Greenlee and a fast break basket by Martin off of a backcourt turnover that quickly extended the lead back to 10 points.

Both teams shot well throughout the game. A&M hit a season-high 45.5 percent from beyond the arc and 47.8 percent overall from the field.

Still, FAU was even hotter. The Owls finished 16-of-30 (53.3%) from behind the 3-point line and 53.6 percent overall from the field.

Despite the injury to Coleman, the Aggies held FAU’s talented 7-foot-1 big man Vladislav Goldin to 10 points and four rebounds. With the significant size advantage in the post, A&M was forced to double-team Goldin on every touch. With the perimeter left open, the Owls took clear advantage of that mismatch.

In Coleman’s absence, Andersson Garcia led the team with 13 rebounds, and Washington pulled down eight boards.

Friday’s game definitely had the feel of an intense NCAA Tournament game.

The energy on both sides was high, with quite a bit of chatter from both benches throughout the contest. A&M seemed to pay the price with technical fouls on Taylor and Washington.

Williams said these high-intensity games are a learning experience and will be valuable moving forward.

“We’re learning so much so early, and our players are smart,” Williams said. “How can we take all of these lessons and be tough enough to apply those lessons? I have to be slow enough to teach the lessons and they have to be accountable to apply those lessons. It doesn’t get any easier for us.”

With today’s loss, A&M falls to the third-place game in the ESPN Events Invitational and will face the loser of Iowa State and Virginia Tech on Sunday at 5 p.m. CT.

Discussion from...

No. 12 A&M's unbeaten start ends with loss to No. 19 FAU in high-scoring affair

4,098 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 6 mo ago by monarch
CapCityAg89
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Goldin is my current leader in the clubhouse for most punchable dudes in basketball. Best post in the game thread was whether he flopped during the handshake line. Jackwagon.
monarch
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Chump change.
Peace for Ukraine!
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