The Aggies started and ended their matchup against South Carolina strong offensively, but it was the scoring struggles in the middle of the game that gave them the road loss on Saturday.
The Texas A&M men’s basketball team had 20 turnovers in the game, compared to South Carolina’s 14. The Gamecocks took advantage of that, scoring 21 points off of A&M’s turnovers for the 74-54 win.
South Carolina also succeeded on the rebounding front, outrebounding the Aggies 41 to 38. Sophomore guard AJ Lawson and freshman forward Jalyn McCreary combined for 10 of the Gamecocks’ rebounds, with Lawson also providing 18 points, second-highest on the team. South Carolina had two other players with double-digit points. Freshman guard Jermaine Couisnard led with 19, and senior forward Maik Kotsar added 10.
Freshman forward Emanuel Miller had eight of A&M’s 38 rebounds, but accounted for only one point on a free throw. Junior guard Quenton Jackson led the Aggies in scoring, garnering 16 points on 5-of-15 from the field.
Senior guard Wendell Mitchell was A&M’s leading scorer at halftime with 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field. However, Mitchell did not score at all in the second half.
South Carolina held senior forward Josh Nebo to only 1-of-2 in the first half for two points. His second half decreased to only one point on a free throw.
The Aggies kicked off Saturday’s game on a 9-0 run, but lost that momentum as the Gamecocks closed the first half with a 24-5 run.
The second half was much the same for A&M as South Carolina extended its lead to 30 points with a 15-3 run.
Halfway through the first half, the Aggies were holding South Carolina to 6-of-16 including 1-of-4 from behind the arc. The Gamecocks’ offense improved to 13-of-30 for 43.3 percent by halftime.
By the midpoint of the first half, the Gamecocks had lessened A&M’s lead to one at 15-14. Immediately after, South Carolina took its first lead with a three-pointer, though the Aggies kept in step with a three-pointer by Mitchell to retake an 18-17 lead. However, five free throws and a jumper gave the Gamecocks a 24-18 lead that they maintained throughout the remainder of the game.
South Carolina went on a 24-5 scoring run in the final eight minutes of the first half to take an 18-point lead into the intermission. At the half, the Aggies were shooting only 25 percent to South Carolina’s 43.3, down 41-23.
The second half was the opposite for A&M as South Carolina went on a 20-7 run early, but finished shooting just 34.5 percent.
A&M kicked off a 14-6 run midway through the second half to decrease South Carolina’s lead to 24 points, and the Aggies ended the game in almost exactly the same way they started it: on a 9-1 scoring run. Despite the late success the Aggies found, they ended the game shooting just 27.3 percent to fall 74-54.
With the loss, A&M falls back to a .500 percentage, with an 11-11 season record and 5-5 record against conference opponents.
The Aggies will return home to Reed Arena to host Florida on Wednesday. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.