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No. 9 Tennessee tops Texas A&M

Published: Jan. 9, 2021 at 3:46 PM CST
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BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The Texas A&M men’s basketball team lost to 9th ranked Tennessee 68-54 Saturday at Reed Arena. The Aggies are now 6-4 on the season and 1-3 in SEC play. The Volunteers improve to 9-1 on the season 3-1 in SEC play.

Savion Flagg led the Aggies in scoring with 12 points. Quenton Jackson finished with 11 points. Santiago Vescovi was the leading scorer in the game with 23 points. John Fulkerson scored 11 points. Jaden Springer finished with 10 points.

The Aggies out rebounded Tennessee 31-23. Texas A&M has 14 offensive rebounds. The Aggies had 15 turnovers in the game. The Volunteers had 11 turnovers. Tennessee shot 58.7% from the floor in the game.

Texas A&M will return to action January 13 to take on Mississippi State in Starkville. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 8:00pm and will be televised on the SEC Network.

Texas A&M Men’s Basketball Postgame NotesTennessee 68, Texas A&M 54Reed Arena (Bryan-College Station, Texas)

RECORDS & SERIES NOTES

· Texas A&M fell to No. 9 Tennessee on Saturday afternoon, 68-54.

· The Volunteers lead the all-time series, 9-6.

TEAM NOTES

· Texas A&M’s bench outscored Tennessee, 32-14.

· The Aggies outrebounded the Volunteers, 31-23.

· Texas A&M used the starting lineup combination of Jonathan Aku, Hassan Diarra, Andre Gordon, Hayden Hefner and Emanuel Miller (0-1) for the first time this season.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

· Savion Flagg led the Aggies in scoring with 12 points, which included a season-high four 3-pointers. Flagg’s scoring performance marks his 40th career game with 10-or-more points.

· Quenton Jackson shot 8-of-8 from the charity stripe, his highest free throw total this season. Jackson added a 3-pointer to total 11 points, marking three of his last four games with 10-or-more points.

· Jay Jay Chandler matched his season high in steals with two.

· Jonathan Aku and Emanuel Miller grabbed a team-high four rebounds.

· Miller scored eight points and played a career-high 37 minutes.

· Buzz Williams is 22-18 in his career at Texas A&M and 275-173 in his 14 seasons as a head coach.

UP NEXT

Texas A&M travels to take on Mississippi State on Wednesday, January 13. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. and the game can be seen on SEC Network.

Texas A&M Quotes

Head Coach Buzz Williams

On positives to take away from today’s game…

“At South Carolina, they had 17 offensive rebounds and zero were team offensive rebounds. We had six offensive rebounds and three of those were team. We were dramatically better today. We had nine offensive rebounds at halftime and only five turnovers, which is very encouraging. In the game as a whole, we had 14 total offensive rebounds, and only five of those were team rebounds. That speaks to the activity level of our group at trying to garner extra possessions. The thing that really hurt us in the second half is that we went from five turnovers to 10. The thing that is encouraging, is that this is the first time since we started conference play that we shot more balls than our opponent. It’s the only time other than maybe the Auburn game where we outrebounded our opponent. Those categories were much improved, which is why that portion of the game is for sure encouraging.”

On the resilience of the Texas A&M team…

“I say this respectively about our kids. They completely understand where our struggles are and where we are deficient as a team. A credit to our guys and their parents is that they are accepting of where they struggle, and they know what we need to do to improve. You can see a lot of that in these numbers today. I think the thing that’s hurting us is the inconsistency in executing what they know we have to do. We have to get to where our endurance is longer and better. We have to execute. The reason that we don’t have the endurance we need is because of our inconsistency. That is our greatest area of improvement.”

On Savion Flagg’s excellent shooting today…

“I’ve said it a couple of times already, and I’ll say it every time about Sav (Savion Flagg) whether he makes a lot in a row or misses a lot in a row. He is as good a person as there is. He is diligent in how he goes about his work. He may be the smartest person relative to basketball in our program. I do think that his ability to rebound and have a presence on the glass will directly impact the percentage of shots that he makes. Today was the first time in the four SEC games where he had an offensive rebound. I know it was only one, but the reason why we had five team offensive rebounds was because he was doing his job and he was in the mix for the ball. His activity level on the glass is directly correlated with how hard he’s playing, and the harder he plays the more shots he makes.”

Senior guard Jay Jay Chandler

On the team’s turnover ratio…

“We had some opportunities where the Tennessee gave the ball up and we didn’t capitalize. We’re going to come in, watch some film, and figure out what kind of issues we’ve seen in several games this year. We just have to keep working to limit our turnover ratio. This game was one of our lowest turnover games, actually, so whatever we were doing in practice to help limit that, we’re going to have to keep focusing on that.”

On the team’s focus since the South Carolina game…

“Coach has been telling us to focus on getting the ball up on the rim and try to get our shots up. That’s basically how the players were thinking this game. Whoever our plays were designed for, it was that person’s job to get the ball up on the rim and shoot it to make it. That way, we can be in a better position to grab offensive rebounds and try to push the game in our favor.”

Senior guard/forward Savion Flagg

On his shooting performance in today’s game…

“I’ve been working a lot on my preparation. I’ve been getting a lot more shots up outside of practice, coming into the gym, and getting extra work in with our coaches. Our managers helped rebound and all of our guys have really been helping me out. My mentality is to always focus on the next shot, because you can’t change anything that happened in the past. Every shot should have the same mentality behind it.”

On the keys to improving offensively…

“Our biggest key on the offensive end is to avoid turning the ball over. We only had more shots than them tonight because of our ability to win on the offensive glass. If we didn’t crash the offensive glass like we did, with our turnover rate being so high, it could have been a way worse game than it was. So we just have to continue building confidence, and I have to put my teammates in a position to be successful and get a shot every possession.”

Tennessee Quotes Head Coach Rick Barnes

On Santiago Vescovi’s performance…

“The big thing from last year to this year is he got himself into shape. He is in so much better shape. What he did a year ago of walking out of the NBA Academy to find himself here, with only two days of practice, is unbelievable. I’ve talked about this many times, of how we have had to remake ourselves a year ago. But for him to come in and do what he has done is outstanding. As soon as COVID hit, he went home and was one of the last players to get back. We appreciate the fact that he did what we told him to do and came back in the best condition we have ever seen him. He continues to do that. He is a smart, crafty and competitive player. He is a deceptive defender, and I know for a fact, his teammates love what he is about. We still have to help him more. We are putting too much on him. Some of that comes from his pride to handle everything all the time, and I get that. We have to continue to teach him that he has to conserve some energy along the way.”

On the team’s defense in today’s game…

“We knew that coming in that a big part of Texas A&M’s game is rebounding. There are so many different things that go into that. If you are going to be a heavy gap team, that means you are going to be closer to the basket. It also means you are giving your opponent a chance to get a running start. You have to be able to get turned around and get back to make some contact. Again, I think our guys battled. We gave up two at the start of the game that we were not happy about. But overall, I think our guys fought against a team that does an unbelievable job rebounding the ball.”

Sophomore guard Santiago Vescovi

On his performance today…

“Today, I was not feeling that good in terms of rhythm on my shot. I am not sure what happened today. I was shooting in warm-up and missing shots. But then I was able to get in the game, and they started falling. I started to take my opportunities.”

Freshman guard Jaden Springer

On the team’s performance…

“That is the way every team should play. When everyone gets a chance with the ball, the movement of the game is so much easier on everyone. Especially when you are scoring and your teammates are scoring too. It changes the mentality when everyone is having a good time out there.”

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