52
TF 7
FINAL
End
2nd
SECN
Wed Mar. 13
9:45pm
BONUS
69
TF 9
ML: +152
TEXAM -3.5, O/U 132.5
ML: -175
VANDY
TEXAM

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Texas A&M keeps Vanderbilt winless in SEC with 69-52 win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Texas A&M Aggies finally have a victory at the Southeastern Conference Tournament after leaving empty-handed each of their past two trips.

Savion Flagg scored 17 of his career-high 29 points in the first half, and 11th-seeded Texas A&M beat Vanderbilt 69-52 Wednesday night in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament to keep coach Billy Kennedy around for at least another game.

Last year, the Aggies lost on a buzzer-beater to Alabama and Vanderbilt the year before that. Even though Flagg and Chandler are both sophomores, they're the only Aggies to play in this tournament before and they knew how long it had been.

''So coming in here and just getting a win, we're just going to keep it going, just keep the momentum going through the tournament,'' Aggies guard Jay Jay Chandler said.

Texas A&M (14-17) snapped a two-game skid in a struggling season that has put Kennedy's tenure at risk after eight seasons and 151 wins. The Aggies will play No. 6 seed Mississippi State in the second round Thursday night. Aggies junior Josh Nebo said Kennedy's demeanor didn't change despite reports that the coach will be fired at season's end.

''He didn't seem upset,'' Nebo said. ''He just seemed even keeled like he always is. That just kind of overflowed to us. When you see your coach in a good place, it just shows us that we're good, we can go out and play and don't worry about it. He just told us just play and don't worry about him.''

Texas A&M advanced by running over a team mired in an even worse season.

Vanderbilt (9-23) never led and added to the worst season in school history with a 20th straight loss. The Commodores already went through the SEC schedule as the first team in 65 years without winning a single game. They turned in the first losing record in 67 seasons at Memorial Gym, and being a couple miles away at Bridgestone Arena didn't help.

Coach Bryce Drew's job status also is in question after a combined 43 losses over the past two seasons, the latest to a team Vanderbilt lost to on March 2 in Texas by just seven points. Drew said he'll meet with new athletic director Malcolm Turner after the season.

''There's definitely some things that we recognized several months ago, some necessary changes that needed to happen,'' Drew said. ''We've already been working on those changes and will continue to work on those changes.''

Chandler had 13 and Nebo added 11 for the Aggies.

Saben Lee led Vanderbilt with 19 points. Yanni Wetzell had 10 points and 10 rebounds and said the skid hurts a lot.

''It's going to be a long offseason,'' Wetzell said.

Christian Mekowulu hit a jumper within the first minute, and Flagg added a jumper as Texas A&M took control from the opening tip. Lee scored four straight to tie it up for Vanderbilt. Chandler's layup with 15:42 left put the Aggies ahead to stay, and he followed with a 3-pointer as Texas A&M built its lead to as much as 15 on Flagg's jumper for a 34-19 halftime lead.

Texas A&M took its biggest lead on a dunk by Nebo nearly midway through the half at 50-31. Then Vandy put together its best run of the game at 13-2, and Aaron Nesmith's 3 with 6:23 to go pulled the Commodores within 53-43. They never got closer than 10 down the stretch.

BIG PICTURE

Vanderbilt: The Commodores at least extended their streak with a made 3-pointer to 1,063 games , a streak that was in serious doubt after they missed their first 12 attempts. Matt Ryan knocked down a 3 with 17:48 left to keep Vanderbilt with UNLV and Princeton as the only programs to hit a 3 in every game since the 3-point line was added for the 1986-87 season. Ryan finished 1 of 8 beyond the arc, and Vandy was just 3 of 23.

Texas A&M: The Aggies were in such control that Kennedy was able to able to rest Flagg a bit after the guard had played all 40 minutes of two of the past three games. The sophomore came in leading the SEC in minutes played averaging 34.6 minutes per game and still played 35 minutes.

UP NEXT

Vanderbilt: A decision on whether Drew gets a fourth season.

Texas A&M: A rematch with Mississippi State after losing to the Bulldogs in the regular season finale.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
S. Lee
S. Flagg
34.6 Min. Per Game 34.6
13.1 Pts. Per Game 13.1
2.3 Ast. Per Game 2.3
7.7 Reb. Per Game 7.7
46.0 Field Goal % 46.7
36.2 Three Point % 34.1
67.5 Free Throw % 65.4
  Defensive rebound by Wendell Mitchell 10.0
  Matthew Moyer missed 3-pt. jump shot 12.0
+ 3 Savion Flagg made 3-pt. jump shot 20.0
+ 2 Saben Lee made layup 55.0
  Offensive rebound by Matthew Moyer 1:15
  Aaron Nesmith missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:17
+ 3 Jay Jay Chandler made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Wendell Mitchell 1:39
+ 1 Yanni Wetzell made 2nd of 2 free throws 2:06
+ 1 Yanni Wetzell made 1st of 2 free throws 2:06
  Personal foul on Christian Mekowulu 2:06
  Offensive rebound by Yanni Wetzell 2:06
Team Stats
Points 52 69
Field Goals 19-51 (37.3%) 28-52 (53.8%)
3-Pointers 3-24 (12.5%) 6-13 (46.2%)
Free Throws 11-17 (64.7%) 7-11 (63.6%)
Total Rebounds 29 33
Offensive 11 10
Defensive 16 21
Team 2 2
Assists 6 7
Steals 13 11
Blocks 2 1
Turnovers 13 15
Fouls 14 15
Technicals 0 0
19 PTS
29 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST
12T
away team logo Vanderbilt 9-23 193352
home team logo Texas A&M 14-17 343569
Team Stats
away team logo Vanderbilt 9-23 68.1 PPG 38.8 RPG 11.6 APG
home team logo Texas A&M 14-17 70.4 PPG 40.1 RPG 11.8 APG
Key Players
0
S. Lee G 12.7 PPG 3.3 RPG 3.8 APG 46.0 FG%
1
S. Flagg G 13.9 PPG 7.7 RPG 2.3 APG 46.7 FG%
Top Scorers
S. Lee G 19 PTS 0 REB 0 AST
S. Flagg G 29 PTS 6 REB 1 AST
37.3 FG% 53.8
12.5 3PT FG% 46.2
64.7 FT% 63.6
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
S. Lee 19 0 0 7/13 1/2 4/8 1 40 3 1 4 0 0
Y. Wetzell 10 10 0 3/4 0/1 4/5 4 27 2 0 1 5 5
A. Nesmith 7 3 2 3/8 1/6 0/0 1 32 1 0 2 1 2
C. Brown 4 2 0 2/4 0/1 0/0 3 19 1 0 0 0 2
M. Evans 0 0 1 0/4 0/3 0/0 0 11 0 0 0 0 0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
S. Lee 19 0 0 7/13 1/2 4/8 1 40 3 1 4 0 0
Y. Wetzell 10 10 0 3/4 0/1 4/5 4 27 2 0 1 5 5
A. Nesmith 7 3 2 3/8 1/6 0/0 1 32 1 0 2 1 2
C. Brown 4 2 0 2/4 0/1 0/0 3 19 1 0 0 0 2
M. Evans 0 0 1 0/4 0/3 0/0 0 11 0 0 0 0 0
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
S. Shittu 6 4 2 2/3 0/0 2/2 0 17 2 0 3 1 3
M. Ryan 3 2 0 1/10 1/8 0/0 0 27 3 1 1 0 2
J. Toye 2 1 0 1/3 0/1 0/0 0 8 0 0 2 1 0
M. Moyer 1 5 1 0/2 0/2 1/2 4 19 1 0 0 3 2
E. Obinna - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Rice - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Hunt - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 52 27 6 19/51 3/24 11/17 14 200 13 2 13 11 16
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
S. Flagg 29 6 1 12/16 3/4 2/2 1 35 0 1 4 3 3
J. Chandler 13 3 2 5/10 2/3 1/2 3 32 5 0 0 0 3
C. Mekowulu 9 9 0 3/6 0/0 3/3 4 22 0 0 2 1 8
W. Mitchell 7 4 3 3/10 1/4 0/1 2 31 3 0 5 1 3
C. Collins 0 0 1 0/2 0/2 0/0 1 31 0 0 1 0 0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
S. Flagg 29 6 1 12/16 3/4 2/2 1 35 0 1 4 3 3
J. Chandler 13 3 2 5/10 2/3 1/2 3 32 5 0 0 0 3
C. Mekowulu 9 9 0 3/6 0/0 3/3 4 22 0 0 2 1 8
W. Mitchell 7 4 3 3/10 1/4 0/1 2 31 3 0 5 1 3
C. Collins 0 0 1 0/2 0/2 0/0 1 31 0 0 1 0 0
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Nebo 11 6 0 5/6 0/0 1/3 1 17 1 0 1 3 3
M. French 0 1 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 1 15 2 0 1 0 1
J. Walker III 0 2 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 1 5 0 0 1 2 0
L. McGhee 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
B. Mahan 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 11 0 0 0 0 0
A. Gilder - - - - - - - - - - - - -
F. Byers - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Brown - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Alo - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Starks - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Vaughn - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. Walker - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 69 31 7 28/52 6/13 7/11 15 200 11 1 15 10 21