Vanderbilt men’s basketball falls to Texas A&M in SEC tournament semifinals, awaits Selection Sunday fate

Vanderbilt basketball started slow in its SEC Tournament semifinal against Texas A&M on Saturday and couldn’t recover, ending its run at Bridgestone Arena with a long wait until Selection Sunday.

Vanderbilt (20-14) made a few runs in the second half as it had a much better performance from the field. Over the final six minutes of the game, the Commodores used a 12-1 run to cut into the deficit. But eventually, they simply ran out of time to make the comeback, falling 87-75 after trailing by 24 points at halftime.

The Commodores’ low NET rating and blowout loss to Alabama have been points of contention on their NCAA Tournament resume, and the specifics of this loss didn’t help matters as Vanderbilt went winless against the SEC’s top two teams.

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Sluggish start

Vanderbilt struggled right off the bat with Texas A&M’s pressure defense, committing 12 turnovers in the first half. Meanwhile, the Aggies got the ball to bounce their way, shooting 69% from the field in the period.

The Commodores frequently weren’t able to get shots off before the clock expired, and their defense was porous. Texas A&M built up a 24-point lead by halftime and led by as many as 26.

More: College basketball conference tournament schedules, scores as March Madness gets kicked off

The problem without Liam Robbins

Vanderbilt has proven it can win games without Liam Robbins. But the margin for error is much thinner without him, as the Commodores are forced to run things through their guards and make 3-point shots to compensate for the lack of rebounding and interior defense.

Although the guards played well once again, Texas A&M crashed the boards, outrebounding Vanderbilt 30-21.

Vanderbilt struggled once again to get production from its bigs, a problem throughout the SEC Tournament. But this time there wasn’t much else to make up for it.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: SEC basketball tournament: Texas A&M defeats Vanderbilt in semifinal

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