Vanderbilt drops regular season finale at Texas A&M, 76-67


COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Jalen Jones scored 17 points as No. 20 Texas A&M clinched the No. 1 seed in the Southeastern Conference tournament and a share of the regular-season title with a 76-67 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Freshmen Tyler Davis added 16 for the Aggies (24-7, 13-5 Southeastern Conference), who had not won a conference crown since winning the Southwest Conference title in 1986. They captured their share of the SEC title, along with Kentucky, in their fourth season in the league.

Wade Baldwin IV and Damian Jones each scored 11 points for Vanderbilt (19-12, 11-7 SEC).

The Aggies dominated the Commodores in points in the paint (40-22), points off turnovers (27-14) and fast-break points (8-0).

The Aggies and Commodores started slowly, and the game was tied at 12 with 12 minutes remaining in the first half. The offenses picked up the pace over the next eight minutes, and Vanderbilt led 30-29 with 3:46 remaining in the half.

But the Aggies, buoyed by a 3-pointer from freshman D.J. Hogg, closed out the first-half scoring on a 10-2 run to take a 39-32 lead at the break. A&M then kept Vanderbilt at arms’ length the remainder of the game, increasing its lead to as many as 20 points about midway through the second half.

The Aggies defined streakiness this season, winning won their first seven league games, losing their next five and winning their last six to close out the regular season. On Saturday, A&M avenged a 77-60 loss at Vanderbilt on Feb. 4, the Aggies’ worst loss of the season.

It was an eventful afternoon in College Station. Less than an hour after the basketball game, former President George H.W. Bush threw out the first pitch before a Yale-A&M baseball game across the street at Blue Bell Park.

Bush played baseball for Yale and his presidential library is in College Station.

Vanderbilt plays in the SEC tournament on a date and time TBD. Texas A&M plays in the SEC tournament on Friday against a TBD opponent.

The Aggies cut down the nets afterward, a first for Reed Arena. The last time that happened in College Station was in now-demolished Reed Arena in 1986. . A&M senior Danuel House, a transfer from Houston two years ago, was crying on the court as he thrust an SEC sign in the air to a roar from the crowd. … Six Aggies played their final home games, including starters Jones, House, Alex Caruso and Anthony Collins.