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Balanced attack leads #9 Texas A&M over #8 Nebraska in NCAA opener

March 22, 2024
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Press conference videos courtesy of the NCAA


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Driving inside and thriving outside, No. 9 seed Texas A&M charged into the NCAA Tournament second round with a masterful 98-83 college basketball victory over No. 8 seed Nebraska on Friday night at FedExForum.

The Aggies (21-14) weaved inside for 44 points in the paint. They also struck 13 times from 3-point range to thoroughly dominate the stunned Cornhuskers (23-11).

A&M likely advances to face No. 1 seed Houston, which is expected to defeat No. 16 seed Longwood later Friday.

Wade Taylor IV scored 25 points, Manny Obaseki had 22, and Tyrece “Boots” Radford had 22 to lead the Aggies’ onslaught. Jace Carter added 13, and Henry Coleman III had 10.

The Aggies were just as impressive on the defensive end, especially at the perimeter.

Nebraska entered the game averaging 9.5 3-point goals. The Huskers were limited to seven.

Star guard Keisei Tominaga had 21 points and converted just 7-of-17 shots. The Huskers also got 24 from guard Brice Williams.

In a furious first half, the Aggies upstaged Nebraska’s heralded 3-point shooters.

The Huskers started fast but could not keep up with the Aggies’ assault.

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M dominated the glass 40-28. Four different Aggies grabbed at least four boards.

A&M hit nine times from 3-point range. The last one was from Obaseki from the right wing to provide a 56-40 lead with 2:04 to play.

Yet, the Aggies might have been even more effective attacking on strong drives to the rim.

A&M, routinely darting past slower Nebraska defenders, hit nine layups on the way to scoring 26 points in the paint in the first half.

Obaseki, who had 19 points in the first half, weaved inside to bank in a short jumper for a 58-42 lead.

Nebraska was able to add two free throws with 5.3 seconds showing to trim A&M’s halftime lead to 58-44.

The Aggies built that advantage despite Taylor playing just 13 minutes. He scored 17 first-half points but went to the bench after picking up his second foul.

The Huskers converted just one of their final 13 field goal attempts. However, they were able to stay relatively close by hitting 13-of-14 free throws. But they were expecting more production from the other line.

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
The win marks Buzz Williams’ first in the NCAA Tournament during his five-year tenure at Texas A&M.

Nebraska hit its first four attempts from behind the arc. At that point, the Huskers held a 17-13 lead.

But they only hit one of their last eight shots behind the arc. Their frustration started with Tominaga, who made a trio of triples in the first five minutes.

From there, A&M’s defense clamped down on him. He only managed two free throws the rest of the half.

However, Tominaga opened the second half with a trey from the top-of-the-key.

Again, though, the Aggies answered. Taylor came back with a pair of 3-pointers to ignite another A&M rally that increased its margin to 76-58 on a Coleman layup.

The lead swelled to 21 immediately following the most spectacular defensive play of the game.

Desperately needing 3s to get back in contention, Nebraska’s Jamarques Lawrence tried to launch one. But Solomon Washington leaped high to block the shot with both hands.

Washington also came down with the rebound and started a fast break, which Carter finished with a layup.

That raised A&M’s lead to 21. The margin eventually reached 22 points but never fell below 15.

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Balanced attack leads #9 Texas A&M over #8 Nebraska in NCAA opener

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