Story Poster
Buzz Williams
Andersson Garcia
Manny Obaseki
Texas A&M Basketball

Texas A&M begins run in Nashville with rematch against the Rebels

March 13, 2024
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Momentum can provide the impetus for a successful streak.

For Texas A&M basketball, momentum starts with “Mo.”

Junior guard Manny Obaseki — Mo, as he’s known — has been a driving force in the three-game winning streak.

The Aggies (18-13) aim to maintain momentum this week in Nashville. They hope a strong run through the Southeastern Conference postseason tournament leads to a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

No. 7 seed A&M starts its quest on Thursday at 6 p.m. CT at Bridgestone Arena against No. 10 seed Ole Miss (20-11), which the Aggies annihilated 86-60 last Saturday.

Obaseki led the way with a career-high 25 points in that victory. He figures to be a key figure again, though he realizes points could be harder to attain.

“When the game comes, take it possession by possession,” Obaseki said on Tuesday. “Take what the defense gives me. If they play me the same way, do the same thing I’ve been doing. If they adjust and change, I have to change and adjust. I just think that’s one good players are able to do.”

Obaseki has emerged as an excellent player of late. He has scored in double figures in each of the last four games. He also earned Co-SEC Player of the Week honors after his performances against Ole Miss and a 75-69 victory over Mississippi State in which he scored 17.

Obaseki has made his teammates better, too. While Obaseki surged the last two games, All-SEC guard Wade Taylor IV broke out of a shooting slump.

“I feel like I’ve been able to help [Wade] Taylor a little bit trying to get scoring. Obviously, he’s an amazing player. I think his confidence and his belief in me and my belief and confidence in him has opened things up a little bit more for the both of us.”
- A&M guard Manny Obaseki

In the previous six games, Taylor shot 18.9 percent from 3-point range and averaged 11.5 points. In the last two, he jas shot 47 percent from 3-point range and averaged 16 points.

That’s probably not a coincidence.

“I feel like I’ve been able to help Taylor a little bit trying to get scoring,” Obaseki said. “Obviously, he’s an amazing player.

“I think his confidence and his belief in me and my belief and confidence in him has opened things up a little bit more for the both of us.”

A&M coach Buzz Williams agreed.

“I think any time we can have somebody else score it helps,” he said. “I think (Obaseki) would say this, and (Taylor) would say this. After 18 conference games, we’re not consumed or concerned with the name of that person. We’d just like it to be a few people.”

That was the case in the victory over Ole Miss last week. The Aggies also picked up 19 points from Tyrece Radford and 10 from Solomon Washington.

They may need to make a similar effort to subdue Ole Miss again. Though the Rebels have lost five of their last six, they cannot be overlooked.

After all, they defeated A&M, 71-68, at Reed Arena on Jan. 27.

Williams said he doesn’t have to offer any reminders of the threat Ole Miss poses.

Rebels guard Matthew Murrell averages 16.3 points, guard Allen Flanigan averages 14.7, guard Jaylen Murray averages 13.9 points, and forward Jaemyn Brakefield averages 12.5.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
The Aggies have played the Rebels 15 times since joining the SEC, but the two sides have never faced off in the SEC Tournament. 

“It’s not like we need to say (Murray) is offensively explosive,” Williams said. “Or (7-foot Moussa Cisse) and (7-foot-5 Jamarion Sharp) are really good offensive rebounders and try to block every shot. We already kind of know that.”

Unfortunately, the Aggies do not know how secure their place is on the NCAA Tournament bubble. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently lists A&M among the first four out of the tournament, though that status could change with a win or two in Nashville.

But Williams said there is only one way to feel confident about getting in.

“Win the (SEC) tournament,” he said about possibly earning the SEC’s automatic bid.

Some may think one or two wins would suffice, but Williams’ outlook is probably jaded by the last two seasons in which the Aggies reached the SEC Tournament finals.

In 2022, they were snubbed by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. Last year, they were given a disappointing No. 7 NCAA seed.

Williams said he couldn’t guess at A&M's status and didn’t even know who was on the Selection Committee this year.

What does he know?

“We would like to play as many games as we can this week,” he said.

Playing more than one may help ensure they could play NCAA Tournament games next week.

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Texas A&M begins run in Nashville with rematch against the Rebels

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