Mon, 19 Apr 2021

Texas AM hopes to finally return to action vs. Mississippi State

Field Level Media
03 Mar 2021, 09:40 GMT+10

Texas AM hopes to take the court for the first time in over a month when it is scheduled to face Mississippi State on Wednesday night in Southeastern Conference play at College Station, Texas.

The Aggies had all eight of their scheduled February games postponed -- seven due to two separate COVID-19 pauses and the other because of the historic inclement weather that hit the state of Texas.

Texas AM coach Buzz Williams said the program was waiting on one last round of test results to come back Tuesday.

"There are still tests that need to be completed regarding the virus, and depending on those, we will have a decision on our Wednesday game vs. Mississippi State," Williams said on his Monday night radio show. "... There is no playbook on what to do when this occurs. When you miss seven games because of COVID-19 and another game because of the worst snowstorm in the history of Texas, and all of those eight cancellations come in 28 days, it's tough."

The Aggies (8-7, 2-6 SEC) won at Kansas State 68-61 on Jan. 30 before the first COVID-19 pause occurred, which caused four games to be postponed. Texas AM was preparing to return to action and play Alabama on Feb. 18 before the winter storm led to that postponement.

Then there was a second COVID-19 pause that led to the postponement of three more games.

Williams said the first positive test result was returned on Feb. 2. He said there was another positive test the following day, and that led to that night's home game with Vanderbilt being postponed.

Williams said there were two more positive tests on both Feb. 4 and Feb. 5. That led to the postponement of a game at Arkansas on Feb. 6 (since rescheduled for March 6).

The Aggies had only four scholarship players available to practice, so games at home vs. Georgia (Feb. 10) and at Florida (Feb. 13) also were postponed.

Williams said Texas AM had seven scholarship players available to practice on Feb. 15 and 16, and the team was set to return. But electricity in the area went out during the frigid storm, and the Feb. 18 home game against Alabama was postponed.

Just one day later, another positive test was returned, and the Aggies started their second COVID-19 pause. A home game against Arkansas (Feb. 20) and road games at Kentucky (Feb. 23) and Missouri (Feb. 27) were postponed.

On Monday, Texas AM had its entire team at practice, and Williams said his club is eager to face the Bulldogs (13-12, 7-9).

Mississippi State dropped a 64-59 home decision to then-No. 6 Alabama on Saturday and needs to get hot to have any chance at making the NCAA Tournament.

"We're not giving up, and we're never going to give up," Tolu Smith said after recording his seventh double-double of the season in the loss to Alabama. "I feel like we fought really hard, and that's all you want to see out of a team like us. We're just a lot of blue-collar athletes. Like we said, just willing to fight regardless of the outcome."

Smith, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds, ranks third on the Bulldogs in scoring (12.6 ppg) and leads in rebounding (8.6). D.J. Stewart Jr. (16.5 ppg) and Iverson Molinar (16.3) are the top two scorers.

Mississippi State led a victory get away in the first matchup with Texas AM on Jan. 13. The Bulldogs led 50-44 with just over five minutes remaining before the Aggies used a 12-2 burst to take the lead en route to a 56-55 road win.

--Field Level Media

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