I just want all Texas A&M basketball fans to know that I changed shirts at halftime.
The Aggies pulled out a huge victory in their first SEC tournament game, felling the Arkansas Razorbacks by a score of 67-61. Wade Taylor IV led the way for the Aggies, recording 18 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Texas A&M Basketball fell behind early on in this one, with the Hogs hitting two three-point shots in their first two possessions to break the Aggies out of the zone defense they showed at first. Momentum felt back and forth after that point, but Arkansas inched further and further away. Officiating was up-and-down, and the Aggies were on the wrong side of two flagrant fouls en route to Arkansas taking eight more free throws in the first half.
The Aggies mounted a small run in the waning moments of the first period, but Arkansas’s Jordan Walsh hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give the Hogs the lead headed into the locker room, at 35-23.
Things changed quickly in the second half, with a more favorable whistle on the side of the Aggies. They were in the bonus by the time ten minutes had elapsed, despite the referees continuing to show reluctance in making calls. Behind that and better offense overall (specifically shot selection—the Hogs blocked eight shots in the first half), the Aggies were able to close the deficit before long. By the time they took the lead, they never looked back.
Texas A&M Basketball closed this game out just like they did against Alabama—at the free throw line. The Aggies took 22 free throws in the second half, making 17 of them. The Razorbacks, for their part, struggled when they had the chance at the line, going only 6 of 11 in the second half. Solomon Washington put the exclamation point on the game with a huge alley-oop dunk from Tyrece Radford to put Texas A&M basketball up 8 with 45 seconds left.
Arkansas tried to give the Aggies something to think about, forcing two turnovers to cut the lead down to 4 with just under 20 seconds to go, but the Aggie defense held strong.
This victory further avenged one of the Aggies’ only conference losses this season. A&M and Arkansas had split the previous two games, with the home team winning each.
The Aggies will face the winner of tonight’s Kentucky-Vanderbilt matchup in the conference semifinals. If the Wildcats advance to face the Aggies, it will give Texas A&M basketball yet another chance at vengeance—Buzz’s squad dropped the regular-season matchup at Rupp Arena.