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NCAAs in Memphis: No. 9 Seed Texas A&M Uses Hot Shooting to Demolish No. 8 Seed Nebraska

Texas A&M guard Wade Taylor IV runs back on defense after hitting one of his five first half threes against Nebraska.
Texas A&M guard Wade Taylor IV runs back on defense after hitting one of his five first half threes against Nebraska.

The third game of day one of NCAA tournament games at FedExForum saw the No. 9 seed Texas A&M Aggies defeat the No. 8 seed Nebraska Cornhuskers 98-83.

Both teams struggled through their respective conference schedules, but they each solidified themselves as tournament teams with big wins.

From well before tip-off, it was evident that it was not going to be an easy game for the Aggies. Huskers fans traveled in mass to Memphis, making the game a virtual road atmosphere for Texas A&M. Despite that, the Aggies never seemed fazed, shooting over 50% from three and playing tough physical defense to pull away from Nebraska late in the first half. 

“It was PBA South out there," said Nebraska Coach Fred Hoiberg. "It was unbelievable walking out there and just hearing the support."

Wade Taylor IV was on fire to start the game, scoring 17 points in the first half while connecting on all five three point attempts. He would finish the game with twenty-five points to lead all scorers, rising to the occasion in March. 

Meanwhile one of the biggest storylines was Japanese phenom Keisei Tominaga. The fifth-year Nebraska senior was feeling it early by making his first three shots, all from beyond to help Nebraska build tons of early momentum. Guard Brice Williams made a couple of difficult and-one opportunities, and it looked like it was going to be a back and forth affair. 

However, the shots stopped falling for Nebraska while Texas A&M could not miss. The Huskers missed their last seven three point attempts in the first half while Texas A&M connected on seemingly every opportunity. Guard Manny Obaseki really stepped up to help Taylor IV by leading first half scorers with 19 points. 

“I think it’s great to see Many flourish," said Aggies guard Wade Taylor IV postgame. "How he’s been these last couple days.....we know just how much each other puts in, and that opens up the floor”.  

In the second half, the game got ugly fast. Nebraska struggled with possessing the ball while Texas A&M continued its hot shooting night. The Huskers struggled with getting quality looks and started pressing. They began forcing up shots and they ended up digging themselves an even bigger hole.  

The Aggies played physical throughout the night, which lead to a ton of foul shots attempted by Nebraska. However that physicality eventually won out, tiring out a very thin Nebraska rotation while the Aggies hounded them on the defensive end. 

Meanwhile defensively, Nebraska had zero answers for the Aggies guard play. Three Texas A&M guards finished with over twenty points, and their bigs dominated the defensive glass. They struggled hard with preventing the Aggies getting possession of the ball, as Texas A&M seemingly won every loose ball. 

The win by Texas A&M helps get the SEC back on track, notching just their second tournament win in what’s been a horrific showing for the conference. The Aggies advance for the first time since 2018 and move one step closer to program history, as the school has never made the elite eight. The three point shooting and overall offensive output has to be seen as the biggest positive moving forward, as that element added to the Aggies would give them a chance to make a deep run in March 

“I told the team in the locker room," said Aggies guard Tyrece Radford postgame. "The job is not finished”.

Meanwhile for Nebraska, it’s another brutal loss in the tournament that keeps the university with the dubious distinction of being the lone high major without a tournament victory. The team was just not able to get key stops and a cold stretch from the field was enough to end their season abruptly. The Huskers are going to have many guys potentially returning next season for another run, but they will have to find a way to replace Tominaga’s scoring and energy.  

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