MARCH MADNESS IN MEMPHIS: Houston Survives Overtime Thriller Against Texas A&M to Advance

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With aspirations of reaching the Final Four, top-seeded Houston faced a determined Texas A&M, setting the stage for a game that would resonate far beyond the hardwood. Ultimately, Houston edged out Texas A&M in a hard-fought overtime victory, 100-95.

In a nail-biting second-round clash at the FedExForum, the journey from Houston to College Station, TX, may span just 95 miles, but the stakes couldn’t have been higher. The Cougars initially looked to dominate, establishing a 27-20 lead mid-first half.

Texas A&M battled back to force overtime against Houston, but came up short in the extra period. (Photo: William Weeks/Tri-State Defender)

However, the Aggies rallied, capturing a one-point lead with just over three minutes remaining in the half. Houston responded with an 11-5 run to close the half ahead, 43-38, capitalizing on the Aggies’ missed opportunities at the free-throw line.

As the game neared its conclusion, Houston seemed poised for a decisive victory, leading by 12 points with just under two minutes to play. Yet, Texas A&M’s resilience shone through as they mounted a 17-5 run, culminating in a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Anderson Garcia to force overtime.

Houston advances to the Sweet 16 and a highly anticipated matchup with Duke. (Photo: William Weeks/Tri-State Defender)

Overtime saw Houston display composure and precision, making crucial shots and free throws to secure the win, despite four starters fouling out. The bench’s crucial contributions underscored the depth and determination of the Cougars’ squad.

Leading the scoring for the Aggies (21-15) was Tyrese Radford with 27 points, supported by Wade Taylor IV and Manny Obaseki. Despite their efforts and a significant rebounding advantage, missed free throws proved costly for Texas A&M.

Houston (32-4) showcased their offensive prowess with Emanuel Sharp lighting up the scoreboard with 30 points. Key contributions from L J Cryer, Jamal Shead, and J’Wan Roberts propelled the Cougars, who excelled from the free-throw line and field.

Reflecting on the game’s tense moments and the performance of teammate Ryan Elvin, Jamal Shead expressed his surprise at a missed free throw, praising Elvin’s dedication and work ethic. “He works harder than we work… That’s the guy that we trust and is a pillar of our culture,” Shead noted, emphasizing Elvin’s role in the team’s success.

Cougars’ head coach Kelvin Sampson lauded his team’s resilience and acknowledged Texas A&M’s improvement since their last encounter. “Texas A&M is a lot better… Those guys are really good. There’s a reason why they were dominating the SEC at the end of the year,” Sampson stated, highlighting the competitive spirit of both teams.

Looking ahead, Houston is set to face the Duke Blue Devils in a highly anticipated matchup in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, March 29. As the Cougars continue their pursuit of the Final Four, their victory over Texas A&M will undoubtedly be remembered as a testament to their tenacity and team spirit.