Texas A&M Defeats Washington State in the NIT Semifinals at Madison Square Garden

By: Ethan Hennessy

New York City New York

Texas A&M and Washington State were two of the final nine teams still alive for a postseason championship when they tipped off the second NIT semifinal at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Tuesday night.

The Aggies and Cougars perhaps were both feeling the pressure of the big stage as neither one could seem to get their shots to fall early. Texas A&M had a stretch of 1-12 and Washington State had a scoring drought of nearly five minutes. Which led us to a tie at seven at the under twelve timeout.

TJ Bamba of Washington State drives baseline and dunks on a Texas A&M defender.

By the under four media timeout in the first half Texas A&M led 28-21, but the bigger story was 22 of those 28 points were in the paint compared to the cougar’s two paint points. When halftime rolled around Texas A&M held a 32-26 advantage.

Quenton Jackson of Texas A&M makes a layup in the second half against Washington State.

Texas A&M kept capitalizing on the points off turnovers scoring 21 through the first 25 minutes of the game. The margin was at 17 when the under twelve timeout came and past. The Aggies spent much of the remainder of the game running the score up. They even held Washington State scoreless in the final 5:38 of the game. The Aggies ultimatly won the game by a score of 72-56.

A Washington State free throw atempt.

After the game Buzz Williams praised Kyle Smith talking about how he worked at one of his camps when he was eighteen years old and how he has had sucessful teams at tough programs. Coach further elaborated on the discrpancy of points in the pain that was 58-16 in favor of the Aggies saying “We can we only give them one shot… we wanted to get to the bonus first… we did a really good job getting to the rim… us getting to the paint and keeping them in rotation gives us an opertunity to get an offensive rebound”.

Buzz Williams talks to the media at Madison Square Garden after Texas A&M’s NIT semifinal win over Washington State.

Washington State coach Kyle Smith said after the game “That was exciting to be here first of all. No reason to hang our heads.” The former coach at Columbia University also talked about his homecoming to New York City saying “We were just excited to get in the tournament… it was a great homecoming for myself coaching here for six years… We’re proud of what we’ve done, but we have a lot more to do. The foundation for our program is there.”

The NIT Championship game is set for Thursday with the Xavier Musketeers facing the Texas A&M Aggies at 7 PM in Madison Square Garden. This was my final game for the 2021-22 season thank you to everybody who followed along with all of my coverage.

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