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Photo by Gary CosbyJr.-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M Basketball

Disastrous 3-point defense leaves A&M reeling after T-Town beatdown

February 17, 2024
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Inconsistent shooting has been an issue for Texas A&M this season. The Aggies took a downturn on Saturday against a most unforgiving opponent.

No. 15 Alabama (18-7, 10-2), the nation’s highest-scoring squad, demonstrated how dominant a good-shooting team can be in a 100-75 victory over Texas A&M (15-10, 6-6) in Tuscaloosa.

The difference in the Crimson Tide and Aggies was obviously 25 points. But the difference could also be measured from the 3-point line. That's where Alabama put distance between itself and A&M.

Alabama put on an impressive shooting display by connecting 18 times from behind the arc. In contrast, A&M hit just four of 23 attempts.

That shooting disparity was too much to overcome even with Tyrece “Boots” Radford scoring 22 points. It was only A&M’s second loss in 14 games when Radford has scored 20 points or more.

Solomon Washington had 14, Henry Coleman III had 12 and Wade Taylor IV had 10. Rebounding phenom Andersson Garcia had 12 boards before fouling out with 6:05 remaining.

“Our front court pressure did a good job of getting the tempo closer to what we needed it to be. It was still a little too fast, but it was a lot slower than they typically play. But their offensive efficiency was too high. We didn’t give ourselves the best chance.”
- A&M head coach Buzz Williams

That wasn’t nearly enough to counter the perimeter shooting of Alabama guards Mark Sears, Rylan Griffen and Latrell Wrightsell Jr.

Sears had 23 points, Griffin 17 and Wrightsell 16. They all hit four times from 3-point range.

Alabama hit six treys in the first 10 minutes, but A&M trailed just 32-28 after Coleman converted a conventional three-point play with 6:11 left in the half.

However, a 3-pointer by Sears capped an 11-0 run that put the Crimson Tide in control, 43-28. A&M never got closer than nine points from there.

Alabama’s 3-point shooting was devastating enough. But to complicate matters, when Alabama did miss one of its 41 attempts from 3-point range, the Tide too often came up with one of their 14 offensive rebounds.

“When they missed, now we’re chasing after a long shot that was a long rebound and they get it. That’s going to lead to another 3 opportunity,” A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “That just broke our back too often.

“We did a good job getting to the free-throw line in the second half. We did a good job rebounding the ball, for the most part, the entire game on the offensive end. We shot more balls than they did, which is good, but we gave them too many shots because we didn’t defensive rebound.”

All season the Aggies have touted their success on the offensive boards. Indeed, they lead the nation in that statistical category.

They again were excellent with a whopping 26 offensive rebounds, which were parlayed into 21 second-chance points.

Gary CosbyJr.-USA TODAY Sports
A&M now slumps to 6-6 in SEC play with six games remaining in the regular season, including two against top 15 opponents.

But offensive rebounds are a byproduct of missed shots. A&M hit just 37.8 percent (28-of-74) from the field. The Aggies were also just 17.4 percent from 3-point range.

That inaccuracy put them in a futile position against the nation’s highest-scoring team. It was the eighth time Alabama hit triple digits this season.

“They’re really good,” Williams said. “The way they play puts stress on you from the time they gain possession.

“Our front court pressure did a good job of getting the tempo closer to what we needed it to be. It was still a little too fast, but it was a lot slower than they typically play. But their offensive efficiency was too high.

“We didn’t give ourselves the best chance.”

The loss followed up a heartbreaking defeat at Vanderbilt, which damaged the Aggies’ NCAA Tournament resume.

They need to make a quick turnaround to increase their chances of being a part of March Madness.

A&M next faces Arkansas at Reed Arena on Tuesday. No. 8 Tennessee and No. 11 South Carolina follow.

“(It was a) Rough week for our program,” Williams said. “Lose on Tuesday (to Vanderbilt). Today’s loss … the way it transpired. We’ve got work to do over the next three weeks and that starts tomorrow.”

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Disastrous 3-point defense leaves A&M reeling after T-Town beatdown

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