BASKETBALL

Texas A&M basketball team forgets jerseys, but still picks up first-ever win at Florida

Kevin Brockway
The Gainesville Sun
Jan 4, 2023; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Texas A&M Aggies head coach Buzz Williams against the Florida Gators during the first half at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M found itself in an embarrassing dilemma Wednesday night about 10 minutes before the start of its SEC men's basketball opener at Florida.

Following a team prayer before returning to the court for a final round of pregame warmups, the Aggies realized their game jerseys had been left at the team hotel.

"I forgot the jerseys in my hotel," Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said. "That’s probably the right way to say it because I used to be a manager and if that would have happened, my head coach would have stuck up for me.

“You don’t want the jerseys to get wrinkled and so I hang them in my room and then I just forgot to put them on the bus. Our players were the ones that recognized it because they warm up without their jerseys so they don’t get sweaty so it’s my fault, it won’t happen again, and I apologized to coach.”

The start time of the game was delayed by 15 minutes as Texas A&M team managers scurried back to the team hotel to find the gear. The Aggies were assessed an administrative technical foul, which Florida guard Will Richard sank before the opening tipoff to give Florida a 1-0 lead.

 “This is maybe the 500th game I’ve coached as a head coach. Those officials were explaining to me that the league office called and said it was an administrative technical foul, which I had never heard those words," Williams said. "You get one shot and then from the point of interruption. And well I was like there was no point of interruption so what are we are we going to do, and then they said jump ball."

The lead was short-lived. Texas A&M took a 34-23 lead into halftime and held on for a 66-63 win to pick up its first-ever win at the O'Connell Center after entering the night 0-5 all-time at Florida's home arena.

Texas A&M forward Julius Marble said the team was prepared to play in its maroon warmup jerseys if it had to.

"We came out with a hot start," Marble said. "I think the jersey thing fired us up to be honest with you.”

Florida coach Todd Golden said there was confusion on the Gators sideline as jersey-gate was being sorted out.

"I’m 37. I’ve played basketball my whole life ... that’s never happened to me in any aspect or any point in my career. It wasn’t ideal," Golden said. "I thought we were ready to go and we’re sitting there, 15, 20 minutes for those guys to show up. It is what it is and we didn’t handle the situation well enough ...

"It’s something that happened at my son’s CYO game but usually not at the SEC level.”