No. 24 Texas A&M and Colorado, as expected, will play each other Friday in the second round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational in Conway, S.C.
What they didn’t expect is that they will meet in a consolation-bracket game in the eight-team tournament.
The Aggies (2-1) dropped into the losers’ bracket with an 88-79 loss to Murray State in the opening round on Thursday. Colorado fell 66-63 to UMass.
Texas A&M’s loss likely was the most surprising, given that the Aggies are ranked and had won their first two games by an average of 26 points.
The Aggies trailed the Racers by seven points at the break after a ragged first 20 minutes and then were down by as many as 15 points early in the second half. Texas A&M fought back to 62-60 with 7:19 to play but could get no closer as Murray State was strong down the stretch.
Tyrece Radford led Texas A&M with 19 points thanks in part to a 10-for-10 showing from the free-throw line. Wade Taylor IV added 16 points, Manny Obaseki 12 and Julius Marble 11.
“We created 17 turnovers and we had 20 offensive rebounds,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “We shot 21 more balls than they did. There’s a lot of good things that we did. We just didn’t do it enough from start to finish.”
Texas A&M won the rebounding battle (42-37) and produced advantages in points in the paint (40-28) and bench scoring (29-10) but was outshot 50 percent to 38 percent and made just six of its 27 attempts from beyond the arc.
“I anticipate we will respond accordingly,” Williams said. “I hate that it transpired the way that it did. But at the same time, we do have to learn from it. But we need to learn from it immediately, right? Because we play again in less than 24 hours.”
Colorado endured a letdown after beating then-No. 11 Tennessee 78-66 on Sunday in Nashville.
The Buffaloes (2-2) trailed UMass 37-34 after a back-and-forth opening 20 minutes before falling behind by eight points in the first minute of the second half.
Colorado went cold over the middle part of the second half, missing nine consecutive shots from the floor while allowing the Minutemen to forge an 11-0 run. Still, the Buffaloes rallied within three points with 4:12 remaining.
Struggles at the free-throw line and another scoring drought of nearly three minutes ultimately doomed the Buffaloes’ comeback bid. With Colorado down by three with 6.5 seconds to play, KJ Simpson had two good looks at tying 3-pointers but missed both shots.
“Our guys fight. They come back,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “They claw. They scratch. I like the competitiveness of our group. But we’re not good enough for 40 minutes.”
Tristan da Silva led Colorado with 17 points in the loss, while Simpson had 13.
“We have to understand there’s a lot of good players in college basketball,” Boyle said. “I don’t care what league you’re talking about. If you’re not ready to go, you’re going to get beat. That’s what happened to us. We weren’t ready to go from the get-go. I don’t know why.”
–Field Level Media