No. 24 Texas A&M ties school record for conference wins with 69-61 victory at Ole Miss

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rogelio V Solis/AP/Shutterstock (13787503e) Texas A&M guard Manny Obaseki (35) looks for an open teammate while being defended by a Mississippi player during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Oxford, Miss Texas A M Mississippi Basketball, Oxford, United States – 28 Feb 2023

No. 24 Texas A&M ties school record for conference wins with 69-61 victory at Ole Miss

No. 24 Texas A&M 69, Ole Miss 61

With a 69-61 win at Ole Miss Tuesday night, No. 24 Texas A&M kept its hopes for an SEC regular season title alive. The Aggies, now 14-3 in SEC play, tied a program record for conference wins and set up a potentially conference-deciding showdown with No. 2 Alabama on Saturday at Reed Arena. 

Buzz Williams’ Aggies (22-8, 14-3 SEC) won their only game of the season over Ole Miss, coached by Williams’ former Oklahoma City University coworker Win Case. Case, working on an interim basis after Ole Miss fired former head coach Kermit Davis Jr., fell to 1-1 as the Rebels’ head coach. 

Tyrece Radford filled up the stat sheet for the Aggies, finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Wade Taylor IV scored 12, and Julius Marble added 10 for Texas A&M. Matthew Murrell had a career night for Ole Miss (11-19, 3-14 SEC) in the Rebels’ loss, scoring 26 points while going 8-for-11 on 3-point attempts. 

Texas A&M’s defense frustrated the Rebels all night, forcing 18 turnovers.

Despite a sparse home crowd, the Rebels created their own energy in the first few minutes. Ole Miss started senior night at Sandy and John Black Pavilion on fire from deep, drilling three shots from beyond the arc in the game’s first four minutes to build an 11-4 lead at the game’s first media timeout. Matthew Murrell made his first four field goals for the Rebels, who extended their early lead to 20-8 with 13 minutes to go in the opening half.

Texas A&M struggled offensively in the early going. The Aggies made just four of their first 12 field goals, and missed three consecutive free throws before Henry Coleman III finally converted one. 

As the first half wore on, Texas A&M battled its way back into the game with tenacious defense. The Aggies forced four Ole Miss turnovers before the 10-minute mark of the first half, and narrowed the deficit to just 20-16 after Tyrece Radford connected on the Aggies’ first 3-pointer. 

Solomon Washington streaked through the paint for two straight layups, and Texas A&M took its first lead after a 14-0 run, 22-20. During the Aggies’ hostile takeover of the game through the middle of the first half, Ole Miss turned the ball over six times over a stretch of eight possessions. 

When the Rebels weren’t having their pockets picked by Texas A&M defenders, they continued to make 3-pointers. Overall, Ole Miss made six of their first 11 from beyond the arc. Had the Rebels shot closer to their season-long average of 29.4% on 3-pointers (349th in Division I), their 29-26 deficit with 3:14 to go in the first half could have been a lot worse. 

Eventually, negative regression came knocking for Mississippi’s 3-point shooting. The Rebels missed four straight, and Texas A&M extended its lead to 34-28 heading into halftime. 

Hayden Hefner and Wade Taylor IV led the Aggies with six points apiece at the break, while Matthew Murrell led Ole Miss with 11. The teams were even with 18 rebounds each, but Texas A&M forced nine Rebel turnovers in the opening period and led 22-4 on points scored in the paint. 

Texas A&M quickly forced the Rebels’ 10th, 11th, and 12th turnovers of the night to open the second half, and extended its lead to double digits at 41-31 after a quick five points from Tyrece Radford. Frustration began to boil over before long for Ole Miss, as guard Myles Burns was called for a technical foul after losing his temper. 

Right when it felt like the Aggies would pull away, they went more than two and a half minutes without a field goal. Matthew Murrell made his fifth 3-pointer of the night for Ole Miss with 14:41 to play, and Texas A&M’s lead was just 42-37. 

Ole Miss pulled within as few as two points of the Aggies, but Texas A&M extended its lead quickly. Tyrece Radford’s 3-pointer put the Aggies ahead 49-40, and gave him 13 points on the night with still more than 10 minutes to go. 

The Rebels continued to battle in large part because of Matthew Murrell’s continued hot shooting, but Texas A&M’s lead hovered between six and nine points as the clock wound into the final five minutes. Murrell set a new career best on his seventh 3-pointer of the evening, which made it 62-56 with just over four minutes remaining. Moments later, his eighth – from about 35 feet away – trimmed the Aggies’ lead to just four. 

Ole Miss had a chance to pull within a bucket with less than two minutes left, but the Rebels’ 17th turnover led to Andersson Garcia’s thunderous dunk in transition for A&M to make it 65-59. Andre Gordon knocked down two key free throws for the Aggies in the game’s final seconds, and Texas A&M left Oxford with a 69-61 win. 

Texas A&M will complete its regular season schedule when No. 2 Alabama visits College Station on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT. 

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