COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Texas A&M and LSU battled, but the Aggies ultimately fell to the Tigers, 89-85, in overtime Tuesday inside Reed Arena.
LSU's Javonte Smart started the overtime with a 3-pointer on LSU's first possession, and Watford made a short jumper in the lane to lift the Tigers to an 86-83 lead with 1:25 remaining. The Aggies' Wendell Mitchell missed a 3-point attempt with 17 seconds remaining and two Mays free throws sealed the Tigers victory.
Andre Gordon sank a 3-pointer with 2:27 remaining in regulation to shove the Aggies to a 77-71 lead, but LSU's Marshall Graves and Smart each sank 3-pointers in a 28-second span to tie the game at 79-all to force overtime.
The Aggies (8-7, 2-2 Southeastern) entered the game having held league opponents to 50 points or less in consecutive games for the first time since 2007. LSU (12-4, 4-0 Southeastern) had reached 50 points less than halfway through the second half - and it wound up being key to the outcome.
LSU has won five consecutive games in the series now, including Buzz Williams' debut against the rival Tigers as A&M coach. Josh Nebo led the Aggies with 20 points and nine rebounds.
The Tigers jumped to a 16-point lead in the first half thanks to hot shooting from Trendon Watford and Smart, who scored a dozen points each in the first 20 minutes. LSU also outrebounded A&M 23-13 in that span.
But the Aggies hung around in the first half in large part because of two 3-pointers each from Savion Flagg, Mitchell and Gordon, and the Tigers led 42-32 at the break.
Texas A&M Men’s Basketball Postgame Notes
LSU 89, Texas A&M 85
Reed Arena (College Station, Texas)
RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
· Texas A&M fell to LSU, 89-85, in an overtime thriller Tuesday at Reed Arena to move to 8-7 (2-2 SEC) on the season.
· The Aggies now trail the Tigers 23-18 all-time.
· The Maroon & White had five Aggies score in double figures for the first time since March 9, 2019 against Mississippi State.
· Texas A&M found itself in overtime for the first time since the 92-88 double-overtime victory over Northern Iowa in the NCAA Second Round on March 20, 2016.
· The Aggies notched a season high in points (85), three-point field goals made (14) and three-point field goal attempts (35), in addition to tying its season high in assists (15) and matched their season-low in turnovers (7).
· The Maroon & White defense forced 19 turnovers, just a single turnover short from its season high, and collected 19 points off turnovers.
· Texas A&M used the starting lineup combination of Savion Flagg, Wendell Mitchell, Emanuel Miller, Andre Gordon, and Josh Nebo for the fifth time this season (3-2).
· Josh Nebo led the Aggies with a season-high 20 points, shooting 6-of-8 from the field and 8-of 15 from the charity stripe.
· The Houston native notched a pair of blocks, nine rebounds and recorded a career high for assists (3) and minutes played (42).
· Andre Gordon recorded season high in points (17) on 7-15 shooting and matched his season highs in assists (3) and three-pointers made (3).
· Savion Flagg scored 16 points, marking the eighth game of the season with 10-or-more points.
· Wendell Mitchell recorded his fifth game in double figures as the Rockdale, Texas, native notched 11 points.
· Jay Jay Chandler racked up 10 points off the bench, marking his seventh game with 10-or-more points.
· Buzz Williams is 8-7 in his first season at Texas A&M and 261-162 in his 13 seasons as a head coach.
The Aggies return to Reed Arena Saturday for a 12 p.m. matchup against South Carolina.
Texas A&M Quotes
Head Coach Buzz Williams
On the team’s improvement during the season…
“I’m incredibly grateful for their buy-in. I think their execution and our production numbers are dramatically better in January than they were in December. I think our numbers were better in December than they were in November. There’s much more consistent flow to our work and expectations of our work in the film room, in the weight room and on the court.”
On how encouraged he is by tonight’s performance…
“A lot of what we did was good, and it’s such a thin line between winning and losing at any level. We have a lot to overcome, and we’ve made such great strides. In many respects, as far as the strides we’re trying to take, we did that. Everything we’re going through in many respects is a first rep for all of us. I thought we failed in our fight, if that’s the appropriate word, during the first eight minutes of the first half. We failed, and I was included in the failure over the last few minutes. The middle 28 [minutes], I’m very encouraged by.”
Freshman Guard Andre Gordon
On how the team was able to improve their shooting…
“We are practicing every day. We’ve got two hours of practice, just getting reps and reps of that. Shoot-around this morning was great. Everyone was knocking down shots. We get a lot of reps, and a lot of shots up.”
On the key to limiting turnovers…
“We’re emphasizing it a lot. Coach is emphasizing it dramatically, because if we don’t get a shot that means we’re getting a turnover. We’ve been practicing it day-in and day-out, watching film and executing it.”
Senior Forward Josh Nebo
On the team’s mindset when the opponent starts to make shots…
“Our game plan is to make them shoot a lot of threes and don’t let them get in the paint. We would rather someone shoot a three than get a layup. When they start knocking down shots, it’s kind of frustrating. We know our principals. We know that’s how we like to play. We just stick to our principals, and get it done.”
On the importance of free throws…
“I think on my part, I could’ve done a better job making free throws. I missed seven free throws. I don’t think that’s where the game was lost. I feel like we kind of let it slip away in the end where we gave them too many second-chance points, and we turned the ball over against their press.”
Head Coach Will Wade
“We found a way. Texas A&M is playing so much better. Coach [Buzz] Williams has done a phenomenal job. I think they have found an identity with their triangle press. They have played their two best offensive games at Vanderbilt and against us. I was proud of our guys. We found a way. We lost [Charles] Manning early in the game. One of our other kids is hurting back home. We’re down a couple of guys. Courtese Cooper gave us big minutes. He probably hasn’t played five or four-and-a-half minutes all year. In a meaningful game, he gave us big minutes in the first half. Marshall Graves was huge for us. He hit the three, had a huge block out and big-time rebound on [Josh] Nebo there late in the game. I thought our defense was better down the stretch, but we gave up too many offensive rebounds. We played right into their hands. We didn’t get as many shots as them. They took 72 shots to our 60. We took almost 65 percent of our shots from three, which is not what we typically do and not our recipe for success. They obviously were pounding the paint with their man in matchup zone, or whatever you want to call it. I thought we played better in overtime. So, it was a good win.”
On LSU’s hot shooting from three…
“When we came over here yesterday, we just shot. We knew we were going to have to take a bunch of threes and make some threes against [Texas A&M] with the way they compact their defense and the way they do things. We were just trying to give our guys a shot of confidence. The other night against Mississippi State we took pretty good threes; we just didn’t make them. We took better ones tonight and made them. We made a couple of tough, contested ones. We knew we were going to have to make threes, and if we are going to be a good team, we are going to have to make some threes.”
On LSU’s ball movement…
“It was huge. We did a good job of getting in the gaps and being able to drive. That’s the one thing we really did well. We were really tired from the Mississippi State game, so we didn’t really practice much. We did a lot of walk-through and film. I thought our guys were fresh, which helped us in the overtime. It’s like a matchup zone that they play. It’s man, but they’re out there in the passing lanes and running at people. So you have to play around it. I thought we did a good job of sharing it and playing around it when we weren’t charging into them.”