COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams didn’t love everything his team did Wednesday night.
But he said he was proud of how his players stuck together when a huge lead dwindled to four points and they had to respond.
Tyrece Radford scored 16 points and Wade Taylor IV added 14 as Texas A&M built a huge lead early and withstood a second-half push to defeat No. 20 Missouri 82-64.
”We were immature in some regards … (but) I think our guys are growing up,” Williams said. ”I don’t think that they’re blaming; I don’t think they’re complaining.”
It’s the fifth straight victory for the Aggies. Missouri dropped its second in three games.
The Aggies (11-5, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) were up by 18 at halftime after a terrible shooting first half by the Tigers, who didn’t make a field goal for almost 11 minutes.
Missouri (13-3, 2-2) got going on offense after the break thanks to a full-court press.
A 3-pointer by Nick Honor cut A&M’s lead to four. But the Aggies scored the next 12 points to make it 65-49 with less than six minutes left. Taylor led the way in that stretch, scoring eight points.
”We never got into a rhythm, and I think Buzz did a good job of disrupting the rhythm,” Missouri coach Dennis Gates said.
Kobe Brown scored 12 points to the lead the Tigers.
Dexter Dennis scored 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Henry Coleman III had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Radford said he is happy with the progress the team has made, but the Aggies still need to get better.
”We just can’t get ahead of ourselves,” he said. ”We know it was a good win, a big win. We’ve just got to continue to stick to our roots.”
Williams was proud of his defense because of how powerful Missouri’s offense can be. The Tigers entered the game ranked second in the nation by averaging 87.1 points a game. Texas A&M held them to a season low.
”They’re making decisions based on how you help,” he said. ”If you have a second of hesitation, they’re going to have success.”
The Tigers used an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 48-36 with about 12 minutes to go. All of Missouri’s points in that span came off turnovers as the team employed a full-court press to slow the Aggies down.
Andre Gordon made a layup for the Aggies after that, but Missouri scored the next 10 points, capped by consecutive 3s from D’Moi Hodge, to get within 50-46 midway through the second half.
”I thought our guys made the extra effort we didn’t see in the first half,” Gates said. ”For some reason our guys were in mud early.”
The Aggies lead 43-25 at halftime.
Missouri: The Tigers will have to regroup after losing two of three after opening the season 12-1. They played well in the second half but can’t play like they did before halftime if they hope to contend for the SEC title.
Texas A&M: The Aggies have been steadily improving during this winning streak after consecutive losses to Memphis and Wofford. If they keep getting better, they could make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Williams took over for the 2019-20 season.
ODDS & ENDS
Missouri made just 7 of 31 3-pointers. … The Aggies outrebounded Missouri 42-25. … The Tigers got 33 points from their bench while A&M got 18. … The Aggies had four blocks. … Texas A&M had 18 turnovers to just nine by the Tigers.
Missouri: Visits Florida on Saturday
Texas A&M: Visits South Carolina on Saturday
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25