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Diarra's last-second 3-pointer gives Aggie men's basketball team win over Wildcats in 2OT

Diarra's last-second 3-pointer gives Aggie men's basketball team win over Wildcats in 2OT

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Hassan Diarra hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer in double overtime to lift the Texas A&M men’s basketball team over Abilene Christian 81-80 on Friday in nonconference play at Reed Arena.

“I got the ball, and I was counting from five down in my head, and I got a little bit of room and pump faked and shot, and I knew it was good,” Diarra said.

The Wildcats (0-2) took an 80-78 lead on Airion Simmons layup with 25 seconds left. A&M’s Quenton Jackson missed a jumper that Henry Coleman III rebounded and drew a foul from Abilene Christian’s Reggie Miller. Coleman missed both free throws, but the Aggies (2-0) corralled the ball, and Tyrece Radford found Diarra for the winning shot.

“I told [Diarra] if the play breaks down, just go make a play for use, because he is so tough and loves those moments,” A&M assistant coach Devin Johnson said. “He practices those moments, and that’s what he did for us. He went and made a play.”

A&M led 30-20 at halftime, but Abilene Christian whittled that down to a 41-41 tie on Cameron Steele’s jumper in the paint and took a 43-41 lead after an A&M turnover and Simmons’ layup on the fastbreak. The Wildcats later built their lead to 59-53 on another Steele shot in the paint, but the Aggies closed out regulation on an 8-2 run to force overtime. Jackson made two free throws and hit a jumper during the run, and Andre Gordon made a layup. Radford hit two free throws with 1:18 to tie the game at 61.

A&M took a 70-63 lead on Radford’s jumper with 1:27 left in the first five-minute OT period, but the Wildcats used a 10-3 closing run to force the second OT.

The Aggies will host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 2 p.m. Sunday at Reed Arena. Head coach Buzz Williams will return to lead the Aggies after serving a two-game suspension for rules violations that included impermissible contact with recruits and holding supervised workouts during the COVID-19 shutdown. Johnson ran the team with Williams out.

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