In a back-and-forth contest, the Alabama men’s basketball team came up short at Texas A&M, 68-66, in Reed Arena on Saturday afternoon. Freshman Collin Sexton turned in his 12th 20-point performance of the season, scoring 23 points to go along with a season-high of seven assists and two steals.

Junior Donta Hall scored 12 points and collected six rebounds, while freshman John Petty pulled down a season-high eight rebounds to go along with seven points. The game featured 11 ties and 15 lead changes throughout.

“This was a game between two physical teams who were playing hard to get a win today,” Alabama head coach Avery Johnson said. “Texas A&M is a very talented team and they were ranked as high as No. 5 in the nation this year for a reason. Every team in the SEC has had some ups and downs this year, especially in a conference as tough as this one. They held us off. They played well and rebounded the ball well. They are one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the country and have a lot of size.

“A lot of times it isn’t about what we didn’t do. Let’s give Texas A&M credit. They played a very hard game to the very end.”

The Tide (17-14, 8-10 SEC) played without arguably its best defender has freshman guard/forward Herbert Jones was forced to sit out Saturday with a concussion. Furthermore, sophomore Dazon Ingram finished with eight points and four rebounds before fouling out with just over eight minutes remaining in the contest.

Despite the Crimson Tide holding the 53-52 lead with 4:39 left in the contest, the Aggies converted four of its last five field goals down the stretch, while outrebounding the Tide 46-40 for the game to secure the win.

It was a defense-dominated first half as Texas A&M (20-11, 9-9) shot 32.3 percent from the field (10-of-31), while the Crimson Tide converted 33.3 percent of its attempts from the floor (9-of-27) to hold the one-point, 25-24 advantage at the break. The low-scoring half saw eight ties and eight lead changes, but Sexton’s nine points down the stretch gave the Tide the edge at halftime.

The lead continued to swing between the two squads to open the second half, until the Aggies’ offense began to get into rhythm using a 13-2 run over a span of 2:54 for its largest lead of the night, 47-36, with 10:53 remaining.

Then, Alabama’s offense responded with a 16-5 run over the next four-plus minutes to regain the lead, 53-52, at the 4:39 mark. However, the Aggies would answer with eight straight points over the next 2:13 to take a 60-53 lead with 2:22 to go. The Tide cut the lead to 63-59 after a three-pointer by Petty, followed by exchanging free throws, but the rally fell short.

Both teams bettered their performance on the floor in the second stanza. Texas A&M shot 46.4 percent from the field (13-of-28) to total 39.0 percent for the game (23-of-59), while the Tide connected on 41.4 percent of its shots in the second half (12-of-29) and 37.5 percent in the contest (21-of-56). The Aggies owned a 46-40 advantage on the glass and connected on15-of-20 free throws in the final 20 minutes, which made the difference.

Tyler Davis led the Aggie offense with 20 points and 10 boards, while Admon Gilder and D.J. Hogg also reached double figures contributing 14 points and 11 points, respectively.

Up next, Alabama heads to St. Louis, Mo., to compete in the 2018 SEC Tournament March 7-11 at Scottrade Center. The Tide’s opponent and seeding will be determined after the conclusion of regular-season conference play.