(9) Iowa State (14-11) at Texas A&M (19-5)

Fair Currently: College Station, TX
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Wed Feb 16, 2011
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Texas A&M hasn’t lost three straight in College Station in seven seasons. A game against Iowa State could help coach Mark Turgeon’s team avoid that mark.

The 21st-ranked Aggies try to win their eighth in a row in this matchup on Wednesday night when the Cyclones look to end their longest losing streak in nine years.

After opening 12-0 at Reed Arena, Texas A&M (19-5, 6-4 Big 12) lost 69-49 to No. 3 Texas on Jan. 31, and 76-74 in overtime to Baylor on Feb. 5.

The Aggies, though, regrouped with back-to-back road wins. They defeated Colorado last Wednesday and overcame a 10-point first-half deficit Saturday in beating Texas Tech 73-70, their third game in eight days.

“I thought they showed great toughness because we had no energy at the start of the game and we just kind of willed our way back into it,” said Turgeon, one victory shy of becoming the second-winningest coach in school history with 93.

The Aggies, who last dropped three in a row at Reed Arena during an eight-game skid from Jan. 17-Feb. 28, 2004, have won the last four matchups in College Station against Iowa State (14-11, 1-9) by an average of 17.5 points.

Texas A&M, though, had to hold off a late rally in the team’s last matchup - a 60-56 Aggies victory in Ames on Feb. 20.

Iowa State fell to 0-5 on the road in Big 12 play with Saturday’s 89-66 loss to then-No. 2 Kansas. Maybe more painful was the loss of forward Jamie Vanderbeken, who suffered a severely sprained left ankle 10 minutes into the game.

He is averaging 11.3 points and shooting 43.7 percent from 3-point range.

“It’s a tough blow, obviously, for us, as thin as we are, to have one of our key guys go down early in the game,” said first-year coach Fred Hoiberg, whose team will try to avoid its first eight-game skid since Jan. 12-Feb. 6, 2002. “It makes it tough.”

It is doubtful that the 6-foot-11 senior will be available Wednesday, meaning the Cyclones will likely have to start Jordan Railey or fellow freshman forward Calvin Godfrey, who is eligible to return after serving a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules.

Even without Vanderbeken, the Cyclones won’t face a significant size disadvantage against the frontcourt of David Loubeau, Khris Middleton and Nathan Walkup, all 6-8 or shorter. Iowa State, though, will likely rely on its outside shooting against the Aggies, whose last three opponents have shot a combined 22 of 47 from long range.

The Cyclones are averaging a Big 12-leading 8.9 3s, with senior guard Diante Garrett, who is scoring a team-best 17.7 points per game, and junior guard Scott Christopherson the biggest threats.

Garrett is scoring 20.7 points per game and has made 10 of 19 from beyond the arc in the last three contests. He is tied for the school record with 27 consecutive games with a 3.

Aggies senior guard B.J. Holmes, averaging 16.3 points while scoring in double figures in a career-high four straight games, has hit 9 of 12 from 3-point range during this stretch.

He scored nine off the bench in last season’s matchup with the Cyclones while Middleton added 14.

Texas A&M is going for its seventh consecutive 20-win season. Iowa State has dropped 24 of 25 to ranked opponents.

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Wednesday, Feb 16