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Texas A&M streaking since last meeting with Florida

After turning its Southeastern Conference season around against , will try to keep its campaign going in its second meeting with the Gators.

The Aggies will face Florida in a second-round matchup Thursday at the SEC tournament in Tampa, Fla., with the winner meeting top seed Auburn in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Both schools were part of a five-team tie with a 9-9 conference mark, slotting them eighth and ninth overall.

Just over a month ago, Texas A&M (20-11) was slogging through an eight-game losing streak before Florida (19-12) helped the Aggies turn their season around in College Station.

After being fouled on a trey by Phlandrous Fleming Jr., Wade Taylor IV made three free throws with 19 seconds left. Then Fleming missed a jumper with three seconds to go as the Aggies held on for a 56-55 streak-breaking win.

Including that Feb. 15 victory, #8 seed Texas A&M has won five of its last six games. That includes Saturday’s regular-season finale, a 67-64 home win over Mississippi State.

The Aggies’ four consecutive wins matched them with Tennessee as the SEC’s hottest team entering the tourney.

“We kept fighting the whole time,” said Quenton Jackson, who scored 28 points in an 87-71 road rout of Alabama last week. “Most teams after a four-game losing, they get down on themselves.

“We had an eight-game losing streak and never lost faith in ourselves.”

The ninth-seeded Gators own a 9-5 edge in the all-time series but will be looking to get back on track after losing four of their past seven contests.

Coach Mike White’s crew fell 71-63 to Kentucky in its home finale Saturday, and Tuesday’s news in Tampa was no better.

All-SEC second-team selection Colin Castleton, who has battled a shoulder injury all season, missed practice with an illness. Anthony Duruji and CJ Felder also were limited in practice.

“Just knowing Colin as well as I do, if he can drag himself out there on that court that’s what he’ll do,” said White of Castleton, who leads Florida with 16.4 points and 9.1 rebounds.

“He’s played through injuries and illnesses for two years. He’s incredibly physically tough in that regard.”

In their only previous tourney matchup in 2016, the Aggies claimed a 72-66 quarterfinal win in Nashville, Tenn.

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