Senior guard Wendell Mitchell finished with a season-high 23 points as the Texas A&M men’s basketball team climbed to 46 rebounds in a 63-58 road victory over the Tennessee Volunteers.
Coming out of a double-digit home loss to Oklahoma State, the Aggies (10-9, 4-3 SEC) hoped to regain momentum going on the road against a tough SEC opponent.
In the match, A&M dominated Tennessee on the glass, matching a season-high 46 rebounds. The Aggies more than doubled the Volunteers’ rebounding output, holding Tennessee to 21 boards, which is an A&M season-low for rebounds allowed.
“We haven’t been that way the entire season,” A&M coach Buzz Williams told 12thman.com. “I thought we were much more active on the offensive glass, and I thought we did a really good job of preventing them from getting extra possessions, which has been one of our Achilles’ heels. That was a big key on both sides for us.”
On the offensive end, A&M set a season-high with 23 offensive rebounds, more than Tennessee had all game, including freshman Jonathan Aku’s seven offensive boards. A&M’s ability to grab open rebounds limited the Volunteers’ ability to score second-chance points, in which they had a season-low three points.
Late in the game, the Aggies led 53-50 before a three-pointer by Tennessee guard Jordan Bowden evened the game with less than a minute to go.
With the game on the line, Mitchell helped fuel a 10-2 scoring run. With the ball out of a timeout, Mitchell drained a three-pointer to retake the lead at 56-53. After an offensive foul by Tennessee’s John Fulkerson, Mitchell made two free throws on the other end to extend the Aggie lead to five. After a missed three-pointer, junior guard Savion Flagg extended the lead to seven with two free throws of his own. Three more free throws by Emanuel Miller and Mitchell sealed the victory for the Aggies, winning 63-58.
After the game, Williams praised the team for providing better effort than they had against Oklahoma State.
“I thought our effort on Saturday in the Big 12 Challenge was our worst of the year,” Williams told 12thman.com “We had no energy, no fight, no togetherness. I thought our spirit to compete tonight was back to the way it has to be in order for us to have a chance. It sure came out on the glass.”
For A&M, Mitchell provided an offensive spark for a team that struggled to make a shot all night. In a game where A&M only made 17 of their 56 field goal attempts, Mitchell finished with 23 points for the Aggies, which is the most points a single A&M player has scored all season.
Despite only making five of his 20 shots, Mitchell’s shooting from deep, where he made four three-pointers including the go ahead three-pointer in the final minute of the game, played a huge part in the Aggies’ victory over the Volunteers.
Outside of Mitchell, junior guard Quenton Jackson finished as the second-highest scorer for the Aggies, scoring 11 points off of the bench. Freshman guard Andre Gordon scored nine points, while Miller and Flagg both finished with seven points. Miller has led the team in rebounds with 12, and has led A&M in rebounding in four of the Aggies’ seven SEC contests.