Aggies turn in 2nd upset of SEC quarterfinals, downing No. 9 Kentucky 97-87

Fri, Mar 15, 2024
NCAAB News (AP)

Aggies turn in 2nd upset of SEC quarterfinals, downing No. 9 Kentucky 97-87

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Wade Taylor IV scored 32 points as Texas A&M upset ninth-ranked Kentucky 97-87 Friday night for the second biggest upset of the Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

The seventh-seeded Aggies won their fifth straight to reach Saturday's semifinals for the third time since joining the SEC and second in three seasons. The Aggies, who lost the final in 2016 and 2022, will play either No. 19 Alabama or Florida.

Texas A&M lost the 2022 title game to Tennessee, the regular season champs who were ousted in Friday's first game by Mississippi State.

Tyrece Radford added 23 points, Manny Obaseki had 17 and Solomon Washington 11 for Texas A&M (20-13). The Aggies beat Kentucky for the second time after needing overtime on Jan. 13.

Not Friday night.

The loss snapped Kentucky's five-game winning streak that had been the SEC's longest coming into this tournament. Now the Wildcats (23-9), whose 31 titles have set such a standard this event is often called the Kentucky Invitational, are going home still looking for their first tournament championship since 2018.

Antonio Reeves, Kentucky's leading scorer averaging 22.2 points, was limited to 18 minutes before fouling out and finishing with 13 points. Rob Dillingham led Kentucky with 27 points, and Reed Sheppard added 14.

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The Aggies jumped out with eight of the first nine points to help quiet the Kentucky faithful that filled much of Bridgestone Arena. Then they kept knocking down 3s, shooting better outside the arc than inside.

Taylor led the way in a game that felt much more like a tennis match with both teams sprinting up and down the court. Texas A&M led 48-42 at halftime.

Kentucky led only twice, both times by only a point. Reeves hit a free throw in the opening minute, then Sheppard finished off a steal with a fast-break layup for a 16-15 edge at 13:15. Washington answered with a 3, and the Aggies never trailed again, sealing the game by hitting 9 of their final 10 free throws.

BIG PICTURE

Texas A&M: The Aggies scored a season-high in points in regulation. The SEC's best at protecting the ball did it again. They had a 6-14 edge in turnovers that they turned into an 18-4 scoring advantage. The Aggies now are 13-2 when having nine or fewer turnovers. ... They also had a 26-9 edge in second-chance points.

Kentucky: The Wildcats fell to 46-13 in quarterfinals and 135-30 all-time. ... Tre Mitchell also fouled out.

UP NEXT

Texas A&M lost 100-75 at Alabama on Feb. 17, but the Aggies beat Florida 67-66 on Feb. 3.

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TERESA M. WALKER Walker covers sports in Tennessee for The Associated Press, including college sports and the NFL's Titans, the NBA's Grizzlies and the NHL's Predators. twitter mailto "
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