In its final game before beginning conference play, Texas A&M men’s basketball found itself down to Wofford 15-3 less than four minutes into the game.
However, the Aggies launched a 12-0 scoring run to tie the game, and outscored the Terriers 41-24 in the second half to earn its second consecutive win, 70-52.
A&M faced the Terriers without senior guard/forward Savion Flagg, who averages 10 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game for the team.
A&M coach Buzz Williams confirmed that Flagg missed the game because he is in concussion protocol and not because of anything related to COVID-19.
Sophomore forward Emanuel Miller led the Aggies with 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Freshman guard Hassan Diarra ended the game with 14 points, four rebounds and two assists. Senior guard Jay Jay Chandler had 10 points, six rebounds and one assist.
Diarra said the Terriers started the game off strong offensively. The Aggies were down 15-3 early in the first half, but eventually were able to tie the game at 15.
“The first five minutes they hit five straight threes and hit a lot of shots against us, but we picked it up on the defensive end,” Diarra said.
The Aggies continued to fight and right before the half-time buzzer, Diarra hit a three-pointer to give them a 29-28 lead.
Chandler said the team knew Wofford was going to come out with a lot of energy and said that they had to respond.
“We built up some momentum going into halftime,” Chandler said. “We used that momentum, and it overflowed in the second half as well.”
Williams said he is encouraged knowing that the team is much better at not taking bad bets.
“I think the reason why we were better was because we were not reaching, we were not gambling, and we weren’t taking ourselves out of the play,” Williams said.
Williams said Wofford tested A&M with its unique offense, but the Aggies were able to handle the pressure.
“We were able to keep the ball in front and that allows you to not get completely stressed out because the ball gets behind you,” Williams said.
The Aggies kept their momentum and were able to win by 18 points against the Terriers 70-52.
Diara said he believes the team fed off of its own energy, which Williams is a big contributor to.
“I feel the momentum from today's game is going to carry over to the conference play,” Diarra said. “We know what we have to work on and we know what we have to do and we know how we have to play and we are just going to build off from today.”
A&M will begin conference play and face the LSU Tigers on Dec. 29 at Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La. The game is set for 6 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.