Post game recap: Texas A&M dominates Kentucky in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals behind Wade Taylor IV’s 32 points

On Friday night, Texas A&M (20-13) laid the hammer down against the Kentucky Wildcats (23-9) in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals, defeating the blue-blood program 97-87 behind Wade Taylor IV and Tyrece Radford’s 55 combined points.

In a game where the Aggies knew they were still firmly sitting on the NCAA Tournament bubble, head coach Buzz Williams, combined with every Aggies fan known to man, knew that to keep pace with the elite shooting Wildcats, littered with blue-chip talent, A&M’s guard trio of Wade Taylor IV, Tyrece Radford, and Manny Obaseki needed to be borderline elite from the field themselves.

Well, in the first half, that was surprisingly the case, as Taylor, coming off of his 20-point outing vs. Ole Miss in the second round of the SEC tourney on Thursday, was feeling it, scoring a game-high 18 points, including four 3-pointers, A&M shot 50% from deep as Radford delivered 12 first-half points of his own,

Needing players outside of the guard trio to step up, sophomore forward Solomon Washington continued his excellent play from the field. He also contributed from 3-point range (2-3), netting six rebounds and nine points going into halftime. However, despite capitalizing off Kentucky’s mistake, the Wildcats still shot 48% from the field while matching A&M’s 9 assists.

Second Half:

Holding onto a six-point lead, the Aggies completely shifted their offensive flow, slowing the game down to curb the Wildcats’ tempo while attacking the basket at will. Tyrece Radford drove the paint left and right, and Kentucky’s defense failed to defend near the basket.

Kentucky continued to keep the game relatively close, as both teams traded baskets for the first eight or so minutes, building a 67-59 lead behind 21 second-chance points, as the Aggies continued to attack the paint at will. As the lead widened even further, Wade Taylor’s record-setting tournament performance reached its apex, as the junior hit two more wide-open 3-pointers due to the Wildcats’ choice to use zone defense late.

Outside of a couple of short momentum bursts from the boys in blue, A&M, who reached the bonus with more than five minutes remaining, broke nearly every inbound pressure look with Tyrece Radford containing to expose Kentucky’s lack of defensive urgency. Hitting 22-30 from the charity stripe, the Aggies salted the game away as efficiently as head coach Buzz Williams could have hoped, ending Kentucky’s seven-game winning straight while adding to what is now a five-game winning streak for the Maroon & White.

With the win, Texas A&M’s NCAA Tournament hopes look solidified on paper, though nothing is set in stone until Selection Sunday.

Below are the Aggies critical contributors from the game:

Tyrece Radford:  23 points / 7 rebounds

Manny Obaseki:  17 points

Wade Taylor IV:  32 points (SEC Tournament record), 6-14 from 3-point range

Kentucky contributors

Rob Dillingham27 points, 5-10 from 3-point range

The Aggies will now play the winner of Alabama vs. Florida in a Semifinal matchup at 2:30 p.m. CT. on Saturday afternoon.

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Story originally appeared on Aggies Wire