8-seed Aggies continue roll with win over 4-seed Hogs
TAMPA, Fla. - Quenton Jackson scored 20 points and eighth-seeded Texas A&M took down a ranked opponent for the second straight day, stunning No. 15 Arkansas 82-64 on Saturday to reach the championship game of the SEC Tournament.
Jackson also had six assists, five rebounds and four steals to pace the Aggies (23-11), who have revived their NCAA Tournament hopes by winning eight of nine games since ending a month-long, eight-game losing streak in February.
Hassan Diarra, whose cutch 3-pointer in the closing seconds of overtime gave the Aggies an 83-80 victory in A&M's tournament opener, had 12 points. Tyrece Radford and Henry Coleman contributed 12 of 11 points, respectively, after playing key roles in a five-point upset of fourth-ranked Auburn in the quarterfinals.
Arkansas (25-8) split a pair of games with the Aggies during the regular season but was no match for them Saturday after falling behind by double digits in the first half.
Stanley Umude led the Razorbacks with 20 points. Au'Diese Toney added 18, but leading scorer JD Notae was limited to five points - nearly 14 below his average - on 2-of-8 shooting.
Texas A&M advanced to the title game for the second time since leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. The Aggies lost to Kentucky in overtime in 2016 and will face either the fifth-ranked Wildcats or No. 9 Tennessee in Sunday's final.
The eighth-seeded Aggies opened a double-digit lead for the third straight day, leading 36-24 at halftime after squandering a 16-point lead during its victory over Florida and nearly letting a 20-point advantage slip away in a 67-62 upset of top-seeded Auburn on Friday.
This time, the Aggies didn't leave anything to chance.
Arkansas, the No. 4 seed after winning 14 of 16 games to end the regular season, used an 8-0 burst to trim an 11-point deficit to 47-44. But Texas A&M was hardly rattled, rebuilding the lead to 11 over the next three minutes and hiking it to 68-52 on Radford's three-point play with 6:30 to go.
Aggies coach Buzz Williams emptied his bench after leading by as many as 23 down the stretch.
The victorious Aggies will face the winner of Saturday's second semifinal matchup between 2-seed Tennessee and 3-seed Kentucky in Sunday's 1 p.m. SEC Tournament Championship Game that will be televised on ESPN.