Strong second half leads Aggies past SMU, 83-64
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS -- Texas A&M used a 28-9 second-half run to pull away from SMU at Reed Arena Wednesday night, winning 83-64.
The Aggies (5-2) bullied SMU (3-4) in the low post, with their big men scoring at will. The mismatch was massive, with A&M outscoring the Mustangs 48-18 in the paint.
“I guess it was just our night inside. Our ability to change the low block changes this team,” forward Henry Coleman said.
A&M was led by Coleman’s 23 points, with center Julius Marble adding 10. The Aggies shot 49% from the field, while a stifling defensive effort held SMU to 34.5% — 29.2% after halftime. At one point, SMU went nearly 10 minutes without a basket.
"They just played with overwhelming effort (on defense)," coach Buzz Williams said.
Point guard Wade Taylor added another 13 points, along with 9 assists.
The Aggies controlled the game early on, pushing out to an 8-2 lead with a pair of baskets from Boots Radford and Marble. SMU, relying heavily on the 3-pointer, tied the game at 12 and cut the Aggie lead back to 1 at 25-24 after a pair of free throws following a technical foul on Marble, remained within striking distance.
Coleman, who struggled with his shot early on, started to get rolling in the latter portion of the first half, had 10 by halftime. Radford, who added a James Harden-esque 3 by allowing an SMU defender fly by him before taking a dribble, resetting and shooting, had 7. But SMU guard Zhuric Phelps’ 17 points helps the Mustangs remain within shouting distance, with the Aggies going into the locker room with a 45-36 lead.
The Aggies pushed their lead to 10 on a steal and slam by Marble with 17:31 to go in the game, but SMU worked their way back to within 52-47 with 13:29 remaining. And then the roof caved in.
After an offensive rebound and putback by Anderson Garcia, Taylor stole a cross-court pass and laid it in to get A&M’s lead back up to 9. Manny Obaseki followed with a spinning jumper in the lane and a pair of free throws to push the lead to double-digits.
“I told everybody in the huddle just to take a breath,” Taylor said. “All we had to do is get a stop, then get a turkey (three stops in a row), and we’ll be fine.”
Coleman then added four more at short range before a three from Taylor capped a 15-2 run that pushed A&M’s lead to 67-49. On the other end of the court, the Aggie defense was having its way with the Mustangs. A&M forced 19 turnovers and didn’t give up a single fast break point to SMU all night.