With just under 13 minutes remaining in the game, junior guard Savion Flagg kicked off a 10-0 run for the Aggies that quickly became a highlight of the Buzz Williams era.
Junior guard Jay Jay Chandler followed up Flagg’s score with four points of his own on a three-pointer and a free throw to give A&M a 39-38 lead, its second lead of the game.
That lead was good enough for the Aggies as they finished the game on a 23-8 scoring run to top the Beavers 64-49.
Flagg said Chandler’s three-pointer, though unexpected, gave the Aggies momentum to finish the game on a high.
“We were down three,” Flagg said. “No one thought he was going to hit it, but they called a foul and the shot went in. That was a big shift for us.”
Chandler scored only once more after his momentum-shifting four-point run to end the game with seven points, shooting 2-of-6.
Flagg finished the night with 13 points, just behind the Aggies’ leading scorer senior forward Josh Nebo with 15. Nebo was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field, going 5-of-8 on free throws. He also added eight blocks, which matched his career-high from Saint Francis University and is the most by an Aggie since 1990.
The Aggies also outrebounded Oregon State 46-32, with 34 of A&M’s rebounds coming on defense. Freshman forward Emanuel Miller led the team with 13.
Flagg said rebounding had been a focus in practice, and gives the team hope moving forward.
“If we outrebound teams by 14 rebounds and not turn the ball over, we put ourselves in position to win every game,” Flagg said.
Despite the positive outcome of the game, the Aggies continued to struggle with turnovers. A&M had 17 compared to the Beavers’ 13.
Six A&M turnovers came in the final 10 minutes of the first half and helped Oregon State to a 30-22 halftime lead. The first half closed on a 10-0 run by Oregon State, with seven of those points coming off A&M turnovers.
By the end of the game, Oregon State had 22 points off of A&M turnovers.
However, the Aggies stayed in the game and overcame the halftime deficit, and Williams said he was proud of the grit the team displayed.
“It was the hardest we’ve played, and none of it was necessarily pretty to watch, but I thought the effort was outstanding,” Williams said.
That effort gives A&M a 5-5 season record heading into the break, which is something Williams wasn’t sure would happen.
“It’s the best Christmas gift of 2019,” Williams said. “It is miraculous to be 5-5. There’s been a couple guarantee games we could have for sure lost. To be able to finish the semester in the manner that we did, with the effort that we did, I’m very thankful.”
The Aggies will return to Reed Arena to host Texas Southern at 7 p.m. on Dec. 30.