Texas A&M isn’t blowing teams out, but coach Mark Turgeon likes how senior guard B.J. Holmes is helping the team succeed in close games. The 21st-ranked Aggies might not find themselves in another tight one Wednesday night.
Continuing a stretch against some of the Big 12’s worst teams, Texas A&M looks to win its fifth in a row when it hosts Oklahoma, which will try to avoid a season-high sixth consecutive defeat.
Since their string of 25 straight home wins against unranked opponents was snapped with an overtime loss to Baylor on Feb. 5 - their third consecutive defeat - the Aggies (21-5, 8-4) are 4-0, with three of those wins coming outside of College Station.
Holmes has been clutch in each of those. He hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining in regulation in a 73-70 overtime victory over Colorado on Feb. 9, sank two free throws with nine seconds left in a 70-67 win over Texas Tech on Feb. 12, and made two foul shots with 15.9 seconds left in Saturday’s 67-66 win over Oklahoma State.
“In this four-game stretch here, where we’ve won three on the road, he’s made some big plays,” Turgeon said of Holmes, averaging career highs of 9.9 points and 3.2 assists. “… The kid’s got guts, he’s got toughness, and he’s got tremendous confidence in himself, and it carries over to the rest of the team.”
The Aggies, who trail No. 4 Texas and third-ranked Kansas in the Big 12, are 7-2 in games decided by five points or fewer. They have won by a total of 12 points during their four-game run despite playing teams that have a combined 14-25 conference record.
Only two Big 12 teams have a worse league record than Oklahoma (12-14, 4-8), mired in its second five-game losing streak of the season after ending 2009-10 with a nine-game skid.
The Sooners are coming off Saturday’s 77-62 loss at Kansas State. They closed a 15-point halftime deficit to five with 6:16 left, but a technical foul on sophomore Carl Blair sparked a 14-0 Wildcats run over the next 92 seconds.
“We tried to battle back and cut the lead down a little bit, but in the end we reverted back to what we have been doing all year with the turnovers, fouls, and not being able to handle pressure,” said senior guard Cade Davis, who scored 12 of his team-high 21 points in the first nine minutes after halftime.
The Sooners had similar second-half issues in a 69-51 loss to then-No. 16 Texas A&M on Jan. 8, hitting one field goal during a seven-plus minute stretch as the Aggies snapped Oklahoma’s eight-game home winning streak.
Texas A&M leading scorer Khris Middleton had 16 points and five assists in that matchup, Naji Hibbert scored 14 off the bench and Holmes added 13 with five assists.
It was the Aggies’ third consecutive win in this series. They’ve never beaten the Sooners four straight times.
Texas A&M has won three of the last four meetings in College Station, including a 65-62 victory last season.
Sooners leading scorer Andrew Fitzgerald, a former AAU teammate of Hibbert in Baltimore, had a team-high 17 points in last month’s loss to the Aggies.
Oklahoma has dropped nine straight to Top 25 teams, including five this season by an average of 17.8 points.