Tennessee held a 10-point lead over Texas A&M with 4:10 remaining.
Yet the Volunteers lost.
That’s because Texas A&M, led by fifth-year coach Billy Kennedy, has its best team in years. The 21st-ranked Aggies ralied late to a 92-88 win in Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday improving to 13-2 and making its case as one of the SEC’s best. At this point, the discussion should only include Kentucky, undefeated South Carolina and A&M.
The good part for Texas A&M fans: The team’s offense isn’t really as good as it should be, so for it to score 92 on the road is a sign that things could be trending upward still for this group. Kennedy’s club entered the day ranked 17th in per-possession defense nationally; it’s certainly on pace to be among the better groups on D in the country.
The Aggies went on a 17-9 run over the final four minutes to steal one from the Vols. These are the kind of wins that help teams land solid seeds come March. Tennessee controlled much of the game, but thanks to A&M’s 50-percent shooting (43 percent from deep) and 11 steals, it heads home to prep for a big home game against Florida as a winner.
Jalen Jones had 27 points for A&M, a game high, while Danuel House came off the bench to add 23. Tennessee’s Kevin Punter put up a team-best 19, as six UT players hit double figures. Unfortunately for Rick Barnes’ team, late fouls and turnovers turned the tide. Tennessee is now 8-7 and certainly in the bottom of third of the SEC’s power structure this season.