COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M men’s basketball team swept the season series with the Florida Gators with a hard-fought 54-52 win in front a season-high crowd of 12,126 at Reed Arena on Wednesday.
With the Aggies clinging to a two-point advantage with 2.5 seconds remaining, graduate guard Dexter Dennis altered a last-gasp 3-point try by Florida’s Myreon Jones to secure the win for Texas A&M. The victory pushed Texas A&M’s winning streak to seven games and gave the 13-5 Aggies their first 5-0 start in conference play since the team’s SEC co-championship in 2015-16.
With the game in the balance sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV hit six of the team’s last eight points, including four clutch free throws. Dennis was magnificent on defense throughout the game and pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds, the most by the Aggies against a SEC foe since Robert Williams had 16 vs. Missouri in 2017.
Carrying the load offensively was junior transfer forward Julius Marble, who connected on 9-of-18 shots for a game-high and career high 19 points. The only other Aggie in double figures was Dennis with 11.
Defense ruled the day with the 54-52 final score being season-low point totals for both teams. The Aggies limited the Gators to just 26.2% shooting as UF missed 45 of its 61 shots from the field. Texas A&M connected on 35.5%, hitting 22-of-62 shots, including 3-of-16 from the arc.
The Aggies entered the game as the SEC’s leader in free throw attempts but went to the line just seven times, hitting all seven from the charity stripe. In the first half, the Aggies held the Gators to only 12 points, which was fewest by a SEC opponent against the Aggies (previous low was 13 by LSU in 2016.
Texas A&M Men’s Basketball Postgame Quotes/Notes
Texas A&M 54, Florida 52
Reed Arena (Bryan-College Station, Texas)
On whether defense is the reason for the close game:
“Oh definitely. They made it tough for us, we made it tough for them. That’s how it’s supposed to be. The way our defense is set up, we want to make it tough on teams, can’t give them anything easy. And they worked for it. . . . Defense was a big emphasis this week.”
On how big those baskets were made so there was a separation at halftime:
“It was huge. I was playing great on defense, so that helped out. Offensively, they were looking for me. I was getting to the right spot, I was getting real comfortable in the paint. I was able to make those shots. That helped us out. We did need that cushion, obviously, because we won by two. They came back and did what they needed to do. So, yeah, I’d say it was huge.”
On being 5-0 in conference and having a 7-0 win streak:
“I think winning is always fun, but for us, after the win, we celebrate a little bit. But the next day it's right back to the next game. It’s short but sweet. It’s a constant grind. It’s like after you win this one, it’s like, ‘Okay, let’s get the next one.’ You have to get to the next game quickly. You can’t really dwell on the wins or the losses, cause we play in the next two-three days. You’ve gotta be really tough mentally and physically. It is demanding.”
On the importance of the crowd being there for this big game:
“I think having a crowd like that at home benefits us more than the away team. It can be a little intimidating if you’re on the other team. I was a little shocked- I didn’t know we did it like that, because there were a lot of people way up top. That was really impressive to see.”
On how he views his team since New Years:
“I think the cohesiveness and the chemistry of what the staff and the players are doing in preparation is huge. But I think the effort, and the execution, and the togetherness they are playing with should always be top priority.”
On being able to win a game in the fifties:
“We just want to win and we are thankful for the community and more specifically the students. I thought that the environment was off the chart. To go out an hour before the game and seeing the two endzones already packed lets us know the level of support behind us.”
RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
· Texas A&M defeated the Florida Gators, 54-52, Wednesday night at Reed Arena.
· The Aggies improve to 13-5 overall, 5-0 in SEC action and 9-1 at home.
· The victory gave the Aggies a season-best seven-game win streak.
· The Maroon & White improve to 7-9 all-time against the Gators and secured the season sweep over Florida.
· The Aggies have won four-straight in the series against Florida, which is A&M’s longest win streak over the Gators.
· The attendance for tonight’s game was 12,126, the largest crowd at Reed Arena this season.
Texas A&M allowed Florida to just two field goals in the first half as the Gators had an 8% field goal percentage. Florida’s 12 first half points are the fewest by an SEC opponent against the Aggies since Texas A&M joined the league in 2012-13. The previous low was 13 by LSU on March 12, 2016.
The Gators’ 12 halftime points are also the fewest halftime points by any conference opponent (SEC or Big 12) since 1996-97.
Texas A&M held Florida to a season low 26% (16-61) field goal percentage.
For the second consecutive game, the Aggies did not trail once throughout the game. They were tied for just 42 seconds.
Texas A&M outrebounded Florida with a 45-41 rebound margin.
The Aggies scored 30 points in the paint, holding Florida to 18.
Dexter Dennis’ double-double (11 points, 16 rebounds) marks the sixth of the season for the Aggies. The last time an Aggie hauled in 16 rebounds was on Nov. 7, 2018, by Savion Flagg against Savannah State.
The last Aggie to record 16 rebounds against an SEC opponent was Robert Williams against Missouri on Feb. 8, 2017.
Texas A&M used the starting lineup combination of Henry Coleman III, Dexter Dennis, Julius Marble, Tyrece Radford and Wade Taylor IV for the ninth time this season (8-1).
Henry Coleman III
Collected five rebounds.
Tallied his second double-double of the season and seventh of his career.
Registered 11 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.
His 16 rebounds marks the most by an Aggie this season.
Logged double figures for the fourth consecutive game, the eighth of the season and the 55th of his career.
Hauled in double-digit rebounds for the second time this season and 10th of his career.
Drained two 3-pointers to finish with six points and added in a rebound and a steal.
Led all players with a career-high 19 points, marking his fifth consecutive game in double figures.
Finished in double-digit points for the 11th time this season and 19th of his career.
Logged a career-high 37 minutes.
Recorded eight points and seven rebounds.
Dished out three assists.
Wade Taylor IV
Finished with eight points, going a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe.
Collected four rebounds and dished out five assists.