Texas A&M fends off Ole Miss’ upset bid

Published 11:24 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2023

OXFORD (AP) — Tyrece Radford scored 13 points as No. 24 Texas A&M erased an early 12-point deficit to beat Ole Miss 69-61 on Tuesday night.

Wade Taylor IV added 12 points and seven assists and Julius Marble scored 10 for the Aggies, who went 13-of-16 from the free throw line in the second half to stave off the Rebels’ attempt at a late rally.

Texas A&M (22-8, 14-3 Southeastern Conference) trailed 20-8 after seven minutes but took a 29-26 lead on Taylor’s 3-pointer with 4:06 left in the first half. The Aggies never trailed again, leading 34-28 at halftime and expanding their advantage to as many as 10 points in the second half.

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“We didn’t handle the intensity or the pace early, obviously,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “But we went from 13 down to the lead by halftime. We were able to change the rhythm to being more conducive for us and who we are.”

Matthew Murrell was 8-of-11 from 3-point range and scored 26 points to lead Ole Miss (11-19, 3-13). No one other than Murrell scored in double figures or made more than one 3-pointer for the Rebels, however.

“We’ve shown we can play with anybody and the SEC Tournament is still out there,” Ole Miss interim coach Win Case said. “We knew they’d make a run because they’re a real good team but I’m really proud of our team tonight.”

Texas A&M is 16-3 since Christmas and has locked up a second-place finish in the SEC standings and the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. Tuesday’s win wasn’t pretty, but the Aggies survived on the road against an inspired opponent. Now they must prepare to face No. 2 Alabama.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do before Saturday,” Williams said. “I know they’ve got the best players. I know they’re No. 1 in the league in offense and defense. I haven’t had time to look at them yet, but I know that much about them.”