Ole Miss finishes its fade with SEC Tournament loss to Texas A&M

Published 11:57 pm Thursday, March 14, 2024

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — In less than a week, Texas A&M extinguished whatever slim NCAA Tournament hopes Ole Miss’ men’s basketball team had left.

Wade Taylor IV scored 20 points, Tyrece Radford added 18 and nine rebounds, and Andersson Garcia had a double-double to help No. 7 seed Texas A&M beat Ole Miss for the second time in five days, 80-71 Thursday night in the second round of the SEC Tournament.

Ole Miss (20-12) lost its third game in a row — the last two to the Aggies, who also won 86-60 last Saturday in Oxford — and nine of its last 11.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The slide put the Rebels in a position where they needed to win the SEC Tournament to secure an NCAA Tournament berth. Instead, they went one-and-done and will have to wait and see if they did enough to still get into the NIT.

“I think there will be a different time, sooner than later, to talk about that. Just not in a position to really think about that right now,” Ole Miss coach Chris Beard said when asked if the Rebels would accept an NIT bid.

Garcia finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds, Solomon Washington scored 13 with nine boards and Manny Obaseki added 12 points for Texas A&M (19-14), which also needs a deep SEC Tournament run to get to the NCAA Tournament.

The Aggies, who have won four games in a row, play ninth-ranked and second-seeded Kentucky in the quarterfinals Friday night. Texas A&M beat the Wildcats 97-92 in overtime on Jan. 13.

“We can’t bank off that game. We’re past that,” Radford said. “We’re a different team now. And they’re a different team. I guarantee they’re a different team now, too. We can’t think about that.”

Radford hit a 3-pointer that gave Texas A&M its biggest lead of the game at 61-48 with 4:52 to play.

Allen Flanigan scored five consecutive points before Ole Miss’ Matthew Murrell hit a 3-pointer to cap a 10-0 run that made it a one-possession game with 2 minutes remaining. The Aggies, however, hit 17 of 20 free throws from there to seal it.

“I thought tonight was one of those games where I thought we ran out of time,” Beard said. “Got it back to one possession with two minutes left, then couldn’t get the stop. So now you got to score the next time down. Now it becomes a fouling game, pressing game, hoping for a missed free throw. We didn’t have any fortune there.”

Jaemyn Brakefield led No. 10 seed Ole Miss with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Flanigan scored 17, Murrell 14 and Jaylen Murray 10 points.

Texas A&M shot just 37 percent (24-of-65) from the field and 24 percent (5-of-21) from 3-point range, but outscored Ole Miss 27-12 at the free throw line.

Texas A&M was 27-of-37 at the line, and Ole Miss was 12-of-21.

“It started to get close. I mean, Coach Buzz (Williams) has us shoot a hundred free throws a day. All we had to do is step to the line, take our time, knock down the free throws,” said Radford, who was 8-for-10 at the line. “Ole Miss made big-time plays later in the game. But we did good with keeping our composure, just waiting to get fouled to make the free throws.”

Southeastern Conference Tournament
At Nashville, Tenn.
March 13
Arkansas 90, Vanderbilt 85
Georgia 64, Missouri 59
March 14
Mississippi State 70, LSU 60
South Carolina 80, Arkansas 66
Texas A&M 80, Ole Miss 71
Florida 85, Georgia 80
March 15
Noon ESPN – Tennessee vs. Mississippi State
2:30 p.m. ESPN – Auburn vs. South Carolina
6 p.m. SEC Network – Kentucky vs. Texas A&M
8:30 p.m. SEC Network – Alabama vs. Florida
March 16
Noon ESPN – Semifinals, teams TBA
2:30 p.m. ESPN – Semifinals, teams TBA
March 16
Noon ESPN – Championship game