Post Game: Texas A&M defends home court, escaping the Florida Gators 67-66

Texas A&M (13-8, 4-4 SEC) stormed back in the second half to defeat a hot Florida Gators (15-7, 5-4 SEC) team on Saturday afternoon.

The game started at an exciting pace, with the officials letting both teams play while letting some of the softer calls go. A series of runs between the teams kept the game close early, with the Gators knocking down threes and the Aggies driving to the basket. Neither team could pull away, with the game being tied at 25 apiece with six minutes left in the first half.

Around the four-minute mark, Florida began winning the rebounding battle and getting numerous foul calls for easy points from the free throw line to go up 32-25 for their largest lead of the game. With A&M star guard Wade Taylor IV on the bench with three fouls, the Aggies struggled to find any offense outside of Tyrece Radford driving to the basket.

Florida shot lights out from beyond the arc, eventually pulling out to an 11-point lead before the Aggies finally started to get a few things going. A&M scored the final five points of the half, capped off by a Radford three to cut the Gator lead to 40-34 heading into the locker room.

The second half started off in the worst way possible for the Maroon & White, as the Gators scored a quick six points off consecutive three-pointers, leading to Wade Taylor leaving the court with an apparent injury. Fortunately, he could reenter the game after a brief trip to the locker room. After the early surge, Florida’s lead hovered around the six to ten range and would answer back every time A&M tried to make a run.

In a change of pace between both squads, the Aggies started to push the ball end to end and aggressively attacked the basket for a few and-ones off fouls. Then a beautiful legs step-back three from Taylor gave A&M Its first lead of the second half to go up 57-56 with around eight minutes left.

Texas A&M’s defense finally settled in well, and the offense stayed aggressive to the basket, keeping the game extremely close until the final seconds. Then, with the Aggies up 67-66 following Tyrece Radford’s smooth lay-in, A&M forced the Gators into a tie-up that favored the Maroon & White. With a chance to seal the game or at least turn it into a free-throw match, the Gators pressed the inbound pass from Taylor.

In a mental lapse, Taylor ran the baseline right after being told not to, which led to an untimely and possibly game-sealing turnover. Now, with the ball back and only down one, the Gators were in prime position to take the lead with under 18 seconds left on the clock. However, after the inbound pass, Florida made two clean shots at the basket but missed both, giving the Aggies a much-needed 67-66 win at home.

Note: Tyrece Radford started the game after his recent arrest.

Below are the Aggies critical contributors from the game:

Wade Taylor IV:  15 points / 3 rebounds / 1 assists

Tyrece Radford:  26 points / 5 rebounds

Andersson Garcia:  9 points / 6 rebounds

Soloman Washington:  10 points / 4 rebounds / 4 assists

Florida’s top contributors:

Will Richard: 15 points / 1 rebounds

Zyon Pullin: 18 points/ 8 assists

Riley Kugel: 12 points / 5 rebounds / 4 assists

Texas A&M will be back on the road to take on the Missouri Tigers on February 7th at 8:00 pm CT

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Story originally appeared on Aggies Wire