Even after his team’s most lopsided loss of the season, Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon is not ready to panic.
The 22nd-ranked Aggies look to avoid their second three-game losing streak of the season when they host Nebraska in a Big 12 matchup on Saturday afternoon.
Texas A&M (20-6, 6-5) lost 77-50 at No. 7 Texas on Monday night, two days after falling 59-54 at home to Oklahoma State. Those losses may have ended the Aggies’ chances of winning the Big 12 because they have fallen into a tie with Oklahoma for fourth place, three games back of co-leaders Kansas and Texas with five to play.
Despite the current skid, Turgeon remains optimistic the Aggies can turn things around in time for the conference tournament.
“We have five games left and I am not too concerned,” said Turgeon, whose team lost three straight Big 12 games from Jan. 16-23. “We’ve had a really good season up until the last two games. We still have a lot of season left in these last few weeks.”
Texas A&M will play three of its final five games at home, including a regular-season finale against Kansas on March 8.
The Aggies are 15-2 at home heading into this matchup with Nebraska (15-9, 4-7), which is 1-6 on the road but is coming off a 71-64 home upset of No. 24 Kansas State.
Texas A&M was unable to pull off an upset of its own at Texas on Monday as it shot a season-low 30.2 percent and was held to a season low for points. It was the second straight game the Aggies have scored fewer than 55 points - well below their 73.8 season average.
They also had 12 shots blocked and had trouble handling a more physical Longhorns team.
“For us, we have to find some answers and play better offensively and defensively,” said leading scorer Josh Carter, who had 11 points and was the only Aggies player in double figures. “It was embarrassing (Monday night).”
Carter, who averages 13.0 points, is averaging just 10.2 in his last five contests. He could break out Saturday against the Cornhuskers.
Carter matched a career high with 26 points and went 8-for-11 from 3-point range in the Aggies’ 66-55 win at Nebraska on Feb. 10, 2007 in the teams’ most recent meeting.
Though the Cornhuskers have struggled away from home and have lost two in a row to Texas A&M, they should have some confidence after upsetting Kansas State.
Nebraska shot 51.9 percent - its season high in Big 12 play - and made freshman phenom Michael Beasley work for his 17 points, more than eight below his season average.
“We’re trying to build something, and this was just the first step,” said Nebraska coach Doc Sadler, whose team is 2-3 against ranked opponents this season. “This is probably the biggest win since I’ve been here.”
Junior Steve Harley scored a career-high 20 points, while 6-foot-11 Aleks Maric had 15 and 17 rebounds for the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska, which shoots 45.3 percent and averages 68.0 points on the season, is shooting 38.2 percent and scoring 57.3 points per game on the road.