Texas A&M and Butler will look to get back on the winning track when they square off Tuesday afternoon in a losers’ bracket matchup in the Maui Invitational, being played this year in Las Vegas.
The Aggies will head back to the court after a 69-58 loss to Wisconsin in the quarterfinals on Monday afternoon. Quenton Jackson, with 15 points, was the only Texas A&M scorer in double figures in the loss, which ended the Aggies’ season-opening winning streak at four games.
Texas A&M led 26-10 after Jackson’s layup with 12:04 to play in the first half and by 14 points after a Jackson 3-pointer with less than nine minutes left. Wisconsin ended the half on an 18-3 run to take a 35-34 advantage into halftime.
The Aggies led only one other time, on a Marcus Williams 3-pointer less than two minutes into the second half, as Wisconsin went up by as many as 16 points and won despite not hitting a field goal over the game’s final 4:10.
“We knew exactly what we had to do in order to have a chance to win, and I think there were consecutive minutes where the five kids on the floor did that,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said after Monday’s loss. “The thing that we struggled with is we need all five to play with great discipline and great execution for a longer stretch, whoever those five are. But I thought we did some good things.”
Butler never led in losing its quarterfinal game to No. 12 Houston 70-52, going scoreless the first six minutes as the Cougars rolled to a 17-0 advantage and led 41-20 at the half. The Bulldogs made a run at Houston over the first six minutes of the second half, clawing to within 12 points before the Cougars finished them off.
Jair Bolden led the Bulldogs (3-2) with 16 points while Ty Groce added 10 for Butler, which has dropped two straight games in blowout fashion. The Bulldogs shot just 36.6 percent against Houston and committed 20 turnovers that led to 27 Houston points.
“I thought we showed some good fight in the second half that little stretch there, probably eight to 10 minutes where it looked like Butler basketball on both ends of the court,” Butler coach LaVall Jordan said.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to get that from the beginning. Twenty turnovers is not a formula for success against anybody. So we got to take a good look in the mirror and make sure we’re looking at things and getting ready for Texas A&M.”
Butler played without Bryce Nze, who has a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder. Nze is not expected back in the Maui Invitational.
–Field Level Media