Looking to move back into a tie atop the Big 12, Texas A&M seeks its first win in Stillwater in 84 years when it visits Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.
Eighth-ranked Texas A&M (22-4, 10-2) is a half-game behind No. 6 Kansas, which moved ahead of the Aggies by defeating Kansas State on Monday. The Jayhawks don’t play again until Saturday, and them and the Aggies will both have three games remaining after Wednesday.
Texas A&M bounced back from a loss to Texas Tech with a 56-49 victory at Oklahoma on Saturday. The Aggies posted their second-lowest point total of the season, but overcame a seven-point deficit at the break by shooting 52.2 percent (12-of-23) from the field in the second half.
Joseph Jones and Acie Law each scored 21 points for Texas A&M, which held the Cowboys to 34 percent (18-for-53) from the floor for the game.
“We were good enough to win today against a really good team on their home court,” Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie said. “I think that says a lot.”
The Aggies, 6-2 on the road, have won the last two matchups with Oklahoma State, but both came at home and followed 12 straight losses by Texas A&M in the series. The Aggies haven’t won in Stillwater since the 1922-23 season, suffering 11 consecutive road defeats there since then.
Oklahoma State (19-7, 5-6) leads the overall series 26-9.
Texas A&M, however, has continued its rise this season under Gillispie and is the best defensive team in the Big 12. The Aggies are holding opponents to 36.3 percent shooting and 56.5 points per game.
“We’re not the prettiest team, now,” Gillispie said. “We don’t run a bunch of McDonald’s All-Americans out there, but we have to figure out some different ways to win. We have to be gritty and defensive-oriented to compete, and we like to play very well together and we like to defend.”
The Aggies will test their defense against one of the conference’s better offensive teams. Oklahoma State ranks third in the Big 12 in shooting percentage (47.6) and second in points per game (78.7), although it has struggled this month after starting the season 11-0.
The Cowboys have lost two straight and four of their five games in February, including a 75-64 defeat to Missouri on Saturday, and fell out of the Top 25 this week.
“Right now we’re struggling,” Oklahoma State leading scorer Mario Boggan said. “We’re trying to fight to get in (to the NCAA tournament). We need some wins. Right now, we look as if we’re not there.”
Oklahoma State has shot 41.7 percent from the floor this month, and its last four defeats have come by an average of 14.7 points.
JamesOn Curry is averaging 18.1 points per game, second on the team, and has scored in double figures in 26 straight games, but he’s shooting 39.5 percent from the floor in February.
Curry scored 16 points in the loss to Missouri, but shot 5-of-14 in Oklahoma State’s first home defeat in 18 games.
The Aggies and Cowboys will be meeting for the second time this season. Texas A&M won 67-49 on Jan. 20 behind 16 points from Law. Curry had 20 points for Oklahoma State.