The Aggies overcame a pregame delay of game technical to defeat the Florida gators on the road, 66–63. In what was the A&M Athletic Department’s second most exasperating situation of the day, the team discovered that they had left their uniforms at the hotel during the pregame warm-ups. After a 15 minute delay, the uniforms were retrieved, and the Aggies didn’t appear to be rattled by the whole situation.
A&M was firmly in control of the game throughout the first half, opening up an 11-point lead on a Wade Taylor three pointer with just under five minutes remaining until the break. The Aggies played great defense in the first half and dominated offensively on the interior, carrying that 11-point edge into the intermission with a 34-23 score.
Florida came storming back early in the second half as the Ags struggled on the offensive end, tying the game up at 36-36 just 3:39 into the period. The Aggies stabilized with their second made triple of the evening, and went on a 9-0 run punctuated by a Julius Marble putback slam to give the visitors a 48-39 lead.
️ @julius_marble!!! https://t.co/BXQCM2eo3o pic.twitter.com/qdCTktb1l3— Texas A&M Basketball (@aggiembk) January 5, 2023
In the ensuing seven minute stretch, the Ags began taking too many defensive risks and missed several looks from deep, allowing Florida clawed their way back into the game once again. The game became a free throw contest down the stretch as both teams attacked the interior. With the game tied at 63-63, Wade Taylor hit a tear drop floater in the lane to give the Aggies a 2-point advantage. The Gators missed a runner in the lane with 15 seconds remaining, and the Boots Radford hit one of two free throws to extend the lead to 66-63. Florida’s 40 footer clanged off the back of rim as time expired, and the Ags left Gainesville with their first SEC victory of the season.
The Aggies trio of Julius Marble, Tyrece Radford, and Wade Taylor each scored 17 points in the victory. Marble also contributed 6 boards to the effort, while Radford and Taylor each had a pair of steals. Speaking of steals, the Aggies finished the game with 10 takeaways and forced the Gators into 20 turnovers. To their credit, A&M won this game with solid defensive play despite being outshot by Florida. The Aggies hit 37.7% from the field and only 2 of 16 attempts from deep. While the Ags earned their way to the free throw line with 28 attempts on the night, they only hit 18 of those, a less-than-mediocre 64.3%.
The win moves Buzz Williams’s squad to 9-5 on the season. It also represents a solid Quad 1 win on the road against a team rated #57 by kenpom.com. The Ags return home to face LSU on Saturday at 6:00 PM. The Aggies are a slight favorite against the Tigers, but this will certainly be a tough test for A&M, who have lost their last 10 straight games against LSU dating back to January 2018.