No. 20 Texas A&M beats Vanderbilt, earns share of SEC title

(AP Photo/Sam Craft)
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Texas A&M continued its recent hot streak on Saturday with a 76-67 home win over Vanderbilt in the SEC. The win gives the Aggies six consecutive victories, but more importantly, gives Texas A&M at least a share of the SEC regular season title.

The Aggies (24-7, 13-5) were led by 17 points and 11 rebounds from Jalen Jones and 16 points from Danuel House as they shot 43 percent from the floor. After the tumultuous stretch in the middle of the SEC season that saw the Aggies lose five straight games, for them to clinch at least a share of the SEC title is a big accomplishment. It was a weird SEC season for Texas A&M — they started 7-0, lost five straight, then won six straight to close — but it shows what kind of talent they had to go on two different winning streaks of at least six games.

Vanderbilt (19-12, 11-7) lost Damian Jones to foul trouble for most of the game and didn’t come out with a great effort for a team that needs bubble wins. Jones led the Commodores with 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting while Wade Baldwin also finished with 11. One positive note for Vanderbilt was that sophomore Riley LaChance (nine points) knocked down three 3-pointers and looked more in rhythm than he had in weeks. If they can get another shooter like LaChance going, it makes Vanderbilt that much more dangerous these next few weeks.

Texas A&M had an impressive regular season in the SEC but the conference tournament is still going to be a huge test for this group. The Aggies haven’t been to the NCAA tournament in a few years and most of these players haven’t been tested in postseason games. The SEC tournament doesn’t compare to the real deal, but it’s a nice practice run for a talented team that has Final Four aspirations.