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Streaking Texas A&M, South Carolina meet after impressive wins

Jan 11, 2023; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies guard Wade Taylor IV (4) is helped up by guard Dexter Dennis (0) after being fouled against the Missouri Tigers during the second half at Reed Arena. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M and South Carolina will look to continue a good week’s work when they meet Saturday night in Columbia, S.C.

Few Southeastern Conference teams are as surprisingly hot as coach Buzz Williams’ third-place Aggies, who have won five straight games after a pre-holiday loss to Wofford on Dec. 20.

At home Tuesday against No. 20 Missouri, Texas A&M (11-5, 3-0 SEC) used an oppressive defense to hold the Tigers’ potent offense to a season-low 64 points.

Wade Taylor IV leads the club in points per game (15.3), assists (3.6) and steals (2.0). Tyrece Radford (12.9 ppg) and Henry Coleman III (10.1) also score in double figures.

A win Saturday would give Texas A&M its second straight season starting 4-0 in the SEC. The Aggies, No. 4 Alabama (4-0) and No. 5 Tennessee (4-0) are the only unbeaten squads in conference play.

“I think a lot of it has to do (with) what is happening prior to the game,” Williams said. “Since Christmas, what has transpired to relative to the results has been what is going on in between the games.

“I think our staff has been as good as I have seen in regard to completely knowing the opponent and knowing what part of the game plan to give to our players.”

If Tuesday’s 71-68 win over Kentucky at historic Rupp Arena is any indication, the Gamecocks (8-8, 1-2) should make it hard on the Aggies.

In a signature win and the first SEC victory for new coach Lamont Paris, South Carolina got a career-high 26 points from Meechie Johnson, who hit six 3-pointers, to win in Lexington for the first time in 14 years and just the third time in the past 30 meetings there.

“Both teams were coming off of a tough loss,” Paris said. “And so both teams I knew and expected to give everything that they had and their best effort. And they did. They clawed. They scrapped.”

Johnson averages 13.1 points per game and leads in assists with 3.6. Gregory Jackson II (15.8), Chico Carter Jr. (11.2) and Hayden Brown (11.2) round out the top scorers.

South Carolina holds a six-game winning streak in the series.

–Field Level Media