On the precipice of making more history in Neville Arena, and with the Jungle out in full force, the nation’s longest active home winning streak ended before it could really begin. Texas A&M(14-6, 6-1 SEC) shot the lights out in the first half and held on to their 15-point halftime lead, taking down the Tigers 79-63.
“They came in and made shots,” said Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl. “They played great. You’ve got to give them credit. We had a hard time staying in front of them.”
The Tigers(16-4, 6-2 SEC) jumped into the top spot after Gonzaga dropped its first loss at home in 77 games, but Auburn was in the middle of a road trip and did not have a chance to extend the streak until Wednesday night. Auburn even jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead in the first two minutes, but the Tigers were outscored by the Aggies 43-20 after that, giving Texas A&M a commanding first half lead.
The lead was sparked by pure dominance from senior Aggie guard Tyrece Radford, who had 16 points in the first half. It was more of the same from Radford throughout the night and he finished the contest with 30 points on 8-of-17 shooting and nine rebounds.
“He’s a great player, great athlete,” Pearl said. “One of the best athletes in the country. Big, strong and physical.”
No one on Auburn’s side could match Radford, though Johni Broome and Wendell Green Jr. each led the way for the Tigers with 16 points. No other Tiger was in double figures.
Bruce Pearl tried to make adjustments in the second half and Auburn cut it to eight or nine a few times, but it never got closer and the Aggies cruised to victory as members of the Jungle filed for the exits.
The Aggies, after shooting 58% from the field in the first half, fell to just 34% in the second half, including 12% from beyond the arc, but their defense utilized several double-teams to force 13 Auburn turnovers and that was enough to hold onto victory.
“We worked on it all week long. We knew what they would do,” Pearl said. “We turned it over too many times and weren’t able to get out of those traps and play-make out of space.”
The Tigers shot 43% from the field and just 19% from three, with two of the makes coming in the first 2 minutes of action.
“Ball pressure bothered us and we can’t let that happen,” said Chris Moore, who returned from injury tonight, finishing with no points in 12 minutes of action.
Buzz Williams conquered Bruce Pearl again and the Aggies continued their stretch of dominance in Neville Arena, winning five of their last six in the venue. A&M bounced back from the tough loss to Kentucky, securing their best win of the season and staying in the hunt for the SEC regular season championship.
“Texas A&M is a really good team,” Pearl said. “I think they’re one of the top four teams in our league.”
The Aggies are now sitting at No. 3 in the conference right behind Tennessee and still trailing Alabama, while Auburn falls to the fourth spot with Kentucky on its heels.
No. 15 Auburn will hit the road once again, this time for the SEC-Big 12 challenge as the Tigers travel to Morgantown and take on West Virginia. It’ll be an early start on the road at 11 a.m. CST, and fans not making the journey can watch live on ESPN.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.