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Buzz Williams
Jace Carter
Wildens Leveque
Texas A&M Basketball

Texas A&M has opportunity to stop slide vs. No. 18 South Carolina

February 27, 2024
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To get back in the NCAA Tournament discussion, the Aggies must get back to who they are.

Or perhaps more accurately, who they were.

“We’re the same team that beat Tennessee,” Texas A&M guard Jace Carter said on Tuesday. “The same team that beat Kentucky, Florida and Iowa State without Boots and Henry.

“It’s not a magic thing that needs to happen or a crazy transformation. We just have to go out and put 40 minutes together and win the basketball game.”

The Aggies (15-12, 6-8) hope to stop a four-game losing streak on Wednesday when they face No. 18 South Carolina (22-5, 10-4) at 7:30 p.m. at Reed Arena.

South Carolina was picked last in the preseason SEC poll. But the Gamecocks have been perhaps the biggest surprise in college basketball under second-year coach Lamont Paris.

“It’s not a magic thing that needs to happen or a crazy transformation. We just have to go out and put 40 minutes together and win the basketball game.”
- Texas A&M guard Jace Carter

They’ve literally taken a slow, deliberate route to become championship contenders. They trail Tennessee and Alabama by just one game in the SEC race.

“They play a very distinct style,” A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “They’re slower than Virginia. They’re almost Virginia in the SEC. They’re slower than Vanderbilt in regards to pace of play.

“(They’re) Very, very skilled on the perimeter, but also they beat you up at the rim.”

A&M was a championship contender before its four-game skid. The Aggies were riding high following a victory over Tennessee. They seemed at the very least destined to participate in March Madness.

Now, getting into the NCAA Tournament now seems like a long shot. And, quite frankly, the Aggies have struggled with long shots most of the season.

A&M is among the worst in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage. That’s bad enough, but the Aggies also have gotten minimal scoring inside.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
The Aggies are 1-4 against the Gamecocks under Buzz Williams. That lone win came last January in Columbia, 94-53.

Complicating matters, star guard Wade Taylor IV may be buckling under the weight of having to carry the team.

A&M has lost six of seven games in which Taylor, who averages 18.8 points, has scored 11 or less. That includes the last three games in which he’s shot just 25.6 percent.

He may feel like he has to score at a high level for A&M to win because… well, because he probably does.

Carter has increased his scoring recently. Guard Tyrece “Boots” Radford is averaging 15.1 points. But Taylor still needs more help from forward Henry Coleman III, Andersson Garcia, Solomon Washington and Wildens Leveque.

“We need some help at the rim,” Williams said. “We need to continue to find ways to score at the rim, not exclusively all the time off the bounce. I think that will remove some pressure (on Taylor).

“We need IV (Taylor) to be good. We need Boots to be good. We need Jace to keep going. Anything that Henry, Andy, Solo and Wildens can do at the rim will be healthy for us.”

That might not be a cure, but it would certainly help boost the Aggies' ailing NCAA Tournament hopes.

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Texas A&M has opportunity to stop slide vs. No. 18 South Carolina

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