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LSU, Texas A&M battle after narrow results

Jan 3, 2023; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; LSU Tigers forward KJ Williams (12) handles the ball during the second half against the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

LSU came up short at the buzzer to lose its last game. Texas A&M held on at the buzzer to win its last game.

The Tigers (12-2, 1-1 SEC) and the Aggies (9-5, 1-0) will return to action Saturday in College Station, Texas.

LSU coach Matt McMahon was happy with how his team played but added “we don’t have moral victories” after a 74-71 loss at Kentucky on Tuesday night in the Tigers’ first game on an opponent’s home court this season.

“Credit to Kentucky, it was a heck of a college basketball game,” McMahon said.

“I found out a lot about our team tonight: The character, the toughness, the things that need to be building blocks to how we build this great LSU program moving forward.”

The Tigers trailed by 10 points midway through the second half but got within one point twice in the last two minutes and had a last-second chance to force overtime when KJ Williams missed a jumper. Williams leads the team with 18.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest.

Texas A&M withstood two potential tying jumpers, one with 15 seconds left and a 3-pointer at the buzzer, to hold off Florida 66-63 on Wednesday night in Gainesville, Fla.

The Aggies forced 20 turnovers, including 10 steals, which produced a 21-9 edge in points off turnovers. The Aggies had a 38-26 advantage in points in the paint.

But coach Buzz Williams was pleased by more than the statistics.

“When you’re playing a possession game like that on the road, when it’s a one or two possession game throughout, there’s so many things that don’t show up on the box score,” Williams said. “The games that we have to play are in those intangibles that don’t necessarily have a stat attached to it.

“I thought our staff was spot on with our plan. I think our guys did a really good job executing that plan. … It was a great step in regards to maturity and understanding the intangibles for a chance at success.”

Wade Taylor IV leads the Aggies with 15.6 points per game and was one of three Texas A&M players to score 17 against Florida, joining Julius Marble and Tyrece Radford.

–Field Level Media