No. 2 Texas A&M escaped again. The Aggies are in the Sweet 16 in an overtime series by Jordan Nixon to defeat No. 7 from Iowa State, 84-82. Nixon also struggled to tie at the end of regulation time and scored seven of the Aggies’ nine overtime points.
The overtime period was the first time the Aggies led the entire contest and fell behind by up to 12 points. It is the second time in men’s tournament play that the SEC regular-season champions have found themselves in a deep hole. They were nearly the first No. 2 seed to be bothered by a No. 15 seed in a close first-round fight against Troy.
Nixon wins it in OT
Nixon came out and hit a 3-pointer in overtime to get the Aggies going. The next few minutes were a frantic back and forth to the last of Nixon’s cubes.
She tied at 82 with 1:38 remaining and Texas A&M had a chance for an easy lead, but missed the chance on a transition basket by shooting up for 3. The defense stood up and held on for two stops, the last with five seconds. he left when Nixon led him across the court.
He drove straight to the painting and rang the bell.
Nixon scored a game-high 35 points, which also tied Iowa’s Caitlin Clark in a 2021 tournament high. Nixon hit 16 of 28 field goals with seven assists, two rebounds, one steal and one block. His post-game interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe was perfect for March Madness.
Nixon has done this before. She made a running shot with less than a minute to go earlier this season to elevate Texas A&M over an Arkansas ranked team.
Ciera Johnson scored 19 points for Texas A&M on 8-of-12 shooting and Aaliyah Wilson added 11. N’dea Jones came close to a double-double with 14 rebounds, nine points and four blocks. The bench added just three points and two rebounds, all from junior Alex Morris.
Texas A&M forces overtime
The Aggies never took the lead in the fourth quarter, but were one on a layup from Ciera Johnson with 1:02 to play. Ashley Joens, the Iowa State machine at the bottom, responded by working for a hard inside basket and winning the y-1 to take a one-point lead to four with 39 seconds left. After an Aggies layup from N’dea Jones, Joens hit two more free throws to keep up the pressure.
Nixon landed a deep jump to bring Texas A&M closer to two again with 14 seconds left on the clock and made a hard drive for another with five seconds remaining that tied.
Aggies’ defense held on for three oncoming plays to close out the game and force additional time. Texas A&M will face No. 3 seed Arizona, who in turn went all the way against No. 11 BYU, in the Sweet 16.
Iowa State Controlled Contest
The Cyclones controlled the game from the lead and appeared heading to the Sweet 16 with a big surprise in the support. The Aggies couldn’t contain Ashley Joens and fell behind at 10 early. It was a margin that cyclones maintained until the end of the fourth quarter.
Joens closed with 32 points, 18 rebounds and three assists. She became the fourth player in the Big 12 with 30 points and 15 rebounds in tournament game since 2000. Joens joins Courtney Paris, who did it twice for Oklahoma, and former Baylor stars Brittney Griner and Lauren Cox.
Iowa State built its early lead with six 3s on seven attempts in the first quarter. They were 16 of 30 (53.3 percent) at the end of games, topping the team’s 35.8 percent mark for the year. The Cyclones controlled the boards, 50-38, but struggled with 24 turnovers. Those can come into play at the end of close competition and included some shot clock violations and steals when they could have pushed the lead.
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