No. 25 Texas A&M falls 74-67 to Syracuse in Bahamas

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) Texas A&M thought it was the better team entering its Battle 4 Atlantis championship game matchup with Syracuse.

The 25th-ranked Aggies left feeling like they let one slip away.

Michael Gbinije had 20 points, Malachi Richardson added 16 and Syracuse held off Texas A&M 74-67 on Friday.

''We're disappointed. We came here to get a win. We came here to win the championship and I really believe we should have won,'' Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said.

Gbinije was selected the tournament's most valuable player. Trevor Cooney added 15 points and also made the all-tournament team.

It is Syracuse's first early season tournament title since the Orange won the 2013 Maui Invitational.

The game was tight throughout the second half and featured nine ties and 12 lead changes.

But after the score was tied at 61, the Orange (6-0) outscored the Aggies (6-1) 13-6 over the final 5:38.

Jalen Jones led Texas A&M with 23 points, and Danuel House added 15. They also were both named to the all-tournament team.

''We always have the confidence in ourselves to know that we can still win the game even when we get down, and we felt like that tonight,'' Jones said. ''It just didn't go our way.''

The Aggies led by two at halftime. That changed in the final 20 minutes as they struggled to get easy baskets. They finished 7 for 11 from the free throw line.

''We were all around the basket and didn't get fouled, and we didn't make layups,'' Kennedy said.

The game was played within a basket for most of the second half.

The Orange was aggressive with its zone, but the Aggies were just as patient working for open shots.

The 3's kept falling for Syracuse, though, and it finally got some separation at 72-63 on a three-point play by Cooney with 3:10 remaining.

Texas A&M got 16 first-half points from Jones and took two-point lead into halftime.

The Aggies held the edge despite a strong shooting performance from the Orange that included six 3-pointers.

''We just got to keep getting better as a team,'' Kennedy said. ''I think our freshmen had had freshmen moments. It's a high-level game and just something we've got to learn from. And we will. It's a great experience for our team to be in that atmosphere three nights in a row.''

TIP-INS

Syracuse: Finished 11 for 25 from the 3-point line. ... Had just two fast-break points.

Texas A&M: Had 36 bench points. ... Had 18 assists on its 27 field goals.

UP NEXT

Syracuse hosts Wisconsin on Wednesday.

Texas A&M hosts Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday.

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