No. 10 Oklahoma St. 66, Texas A&M 59
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)—After Joey Graham struggled in the first half, scoring just one basket, Oklahoma State’s halftime plan was to make sure that changed.
Graham scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers, in the first five minutes of the second half, leading No. 10 Oklahoma State to a 66-59 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday night.
“We thought the first half he was rushing shots,” Oklahoma State coach designate Sean Sutton said. “They were being pretty physical with him. We wanted to try and establish him coming out of the halftime. He enabled us to build the lead.”
Texas A&M fought back late, going on a 9-2 run that ended with two free throws by Bobby Leach with 1:25 remaining. But Ivan McFarlin scored three points in the final minute to seal it for Oklahoma State (19-3, 9-2 Big 12), which won its fifth straight.
McFarlin made a layup with 51 seconds left to extend Oklahoma State’s lead and quiet the raucous crowd. He also hit the front end of a one-and-one after a missed 3-point attempt by Texas A&M (15-6, 4-6), putting the game out of reach.
John Lucas III scored 18 points for Oklahoma State, and McFarlin finished with 13.
“We have to execute at the end,” Lucas said. “We did that today. We’re an old, mature team that doesn’t get rattled.”
Graham’s final 3 pushed Oklahoma State’s lead to 42-27. He finished with 17 points.
“He just did what Coach told us he could do,” Texas A&M’s Joseph Jones said.
Graham made one more basket before he was whistled for his fourth foul with 12:29 remaining and taken out of the game. But McFarlin took over where Graham left off, scoring the Cowboys’ next six points. Graham returned with 6:41 remaining.
“When he’s off the court, it changes the look of our team a little bit,” Sutton said. “He’s a great weapon and is extremely versatile. But I thought Ivan stepped up and made some big baskets.”
Oklahoma State shot just 37 percent in the first half, but the Cowboys improved in the second half to finish at 47 percent.
Texas A&M got 16 points from Acie Law, and Antoine Wright scored 13.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, with the Cowboys shooting 11-of-30 and Texas A&M 9-of-25.
“We just couldn’t run our offense,” Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie said. “That was the difference. Everybody was shooting shots in a hurry.”
Texas A&M went 20-of-51 for 39 percent.
After a basket by Lucas broke a 15-15 tie with 8:24 left in the half, neither team scored for almost four minutes. And when Oklahoma State finally did score it was on a goaltending call.
Lucas, who had 11 first-half points, took over from there, adding five points in the final three minutes to help the Cowboys to a 29-23 halftime lead.
The crowd of 13,016, which included former President George H.W. Bush, was Texas A&M’s largest ever.
The win was Oklahoma State’s 10th straight over the Aggies and its first victory this season that wasn’t by double digits.