Even after a tough loss on Wednesday, seventh-ranked Texas A&M may still be able to claim a share of the Big 12 title for the first time in school history.
The Aggies hope their conference championship hopes are still alive by the time they play Missouri on Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Texas A&M (24-5, 12-3) lost to No. 15 Texas in a 98-96 double-overtime thriller Wednesday, falling into a second-place tie with the Longhorns in the Big 12 standings—one game behind No. 3 Kansas.
The best the Aggies can hope for is a three-way tie atop the conference, though they would need Texas to beat Kansas earlier on Saturday to have a chance for that to happen.
Acie Law forced both overtimes Wednesday with game-tying 3-pointers and scored a season-high 33 points for the Aggies, his second consecutive game registering a season high.
“He just takes over games at the end. He’s a great player,” said Texas star freshman Kevin Durant, who joins Law as the favorites for Big 12 player of the year honors.
Law, who scored 31 last Saturday in the Aggies’ win over Baylor, is averaging 25.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists over his last five contests.
Antanas Kavaliauskas and Josh Carter added 18 and 17 points, respectively, on Wednesday and combined to go 6-of-11 from 3-point range. The Aggies, fourth in the country in 3-point shooting at 42.4 percent, made 13 of their 25 attempts from behind the arc.
The Aggies fell behind by 11 early in the second half, but a 23-5 run gave them a seven-point advantage with 10 minutes to play. The Aggies, though, had three starters foul out of the contest and their shallow lineup couldn’t outlast Texas.
“That’s one thing we pride ourselves in, is to give unbelievable effort every time we step out on the floor,” Law said. “I think our guys did a good job of that and unfortunately for us we fell short.”
The loss snapped Texas A&M’s three-game win streak. Each of the Aggies’ three conference losses has come by two points.
“They were great; the only bad thing is that we ended up with a loss,” Aggies coach Billy Gillispie said. “There were a lot of big plays made by both teams and it was fun to watch. Our guys played as hard as they could possibly played and their guys played as hard as they could possibly play, and it was just a great college basketball game.”
The Aggies will match up against a Missouri team that has won four of its last five games, including a 91-82 victory over Colorado on Wednesday.
Matt Lawrence led four Tigers in double figures with 17 points, all in the first half. Marcus Watkins, Missouri’s only senior, started for the first time this season on the team’s senior night and scored a career-high 15 points.
“Sometimes you’ve got to lean on that senior leadership, especially as we get to this part of the season,” coach Mike Anderson said.
The Tigers (18-10, 7-8) have won three of their last five road games to break out of a 2-22 road slump. Their current hot streak includes the team’s first back-to-back road wins since February 2004.
The Tigers are 1-3 against ranked teams this season, but the one win came in their last meeting with a Top 25 opponent, 75-64 over then-No. 18 Oklahoma State on Feb. 17.
Texas A&M has won its last two games against Missouri after losing eight of the previous nine meetings. The teams have split six games in College Station, with the Aggies taking the last two.