The Texas A&M men's basketball team is playing in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational this season for the first time since 1994. The tournament is being held in Las Vegas this year rather than Hawaii due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The Aggies lost the first game on Monday to the Wisconsin Badgers 69-58, and that took them out of contention on the winner's side of the bracket.
They continued play on Tuesday on the consolation side of that bracket against Butler, who lost to No. 12 Houston in the evening game on Monday, and A&M held off a late charge by the Bulldogs for a 57-50 win.
Butler came into Tuesday's game 3-2, with wins over IUPUI, Central Arkansas, and Troy, before losing to Michigan State and No. 12 Houston.
The Aggies, meanwhile, entered Tuesday's game 4-1, after Wisconsin snapped their four-game winning streak to start the season on Monday. A&M had wins over North Atlantic, Abilene Christian, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and Houston Baptist.
In the first half, Butler had a hard time penetrating the interior defense of A&M, with most passes being to the perimeter. The Aggies forced 13 Butler turnovers in the first half and cashed in for 17 points.
The Aggies ended the first half on a 16-3 run after Quentin Jackson nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. On the previous possession, Butler hit a 3-pointer but A&M was able to answer as the Aggies held a 33-21 halftime lead.
Jackson, Tyrece Radford, and Henry Coleman III led A&M in scoring in the first half with eight points while Coleman III also led with five rebounds.
The Bulldogs played much tighter defense and better offense in the second half, limiting turnovers and getting to within five points at 50-45 around the 5-minute mark, and had opportunities to get within four around the 3- and 2-minute marks. But the Aggies' interior defense knocked away two consecutive Bulldog dunk attempts to clear the threats.
SEC News: LSU to Hire Notre Dame's Brian Kelly, Jimbo Fisher Keeps A&M Word
The Aggies will be facing a 12-year vet at Notre Dame in Brian Kelly
Would Star RB Zach Evans Consider Transfer to Texas A&M?
Former TCU back Zach Evans considered host of SEC programs coming out of high school
Butler would not fade, as it came within three points at 53-50 with 27.6 seconds left in the game, as the Aggies inbounded the ball from under their own basket.
The Bulldogs would foul immediately but Marcus Williams would hit both free throws to extend the lead to 55-50. On the next Butler possession, a missed 3-pointer by Butler's Ty Groce.
The Bulldogs would continue to foul to close out the game as the Aggies held on for a 57-50 win.
A&M was outscored in the second half by Butler 29-24, but thanks to that 12-point first-half lead, it was able to hang on.
Jair Bolden led Butler with 10 points and was the only Bulldog to reach double-digit scoring. Aaron Thompson led the team in rebounds with six and assists with three.
Quentin Jackson led the Aggies in scoring and steals, coming off the bench for 15 points and five steals. Williams, Coleman III, and Radford all chipped in for eight points while Coleman III led the team in rebounds with 10.
Next up for the Aggies is the winner of Notre Dame-Chaminade Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. CT.
Want to join in on the discussion? Click here to become a member of the All Aggies message board community today!
Want More Aggies News? Check Out The Latest In Texas A&M News Here