No. 8 Texas A&M 66, Oklahoma St. 46
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP)—With many of their offensive options taken away, Acie Law IV and Donald Sloan improvised to lead Texas A&M to victory.
Law scored 19 points and Sloan added a career-high 15 as the No. 8 Aggies handed Oklahoma State its most lopsided home defeat in nearly 30 years in a 66-46 blowout Wednesday night.
“They totally took us out of everything we wanted to do offensively. We just kind of had to go a different direction,” Aggies coach Billy Gillispie said. “We’re not usually that good off the dribble.”
Law and Sloan got to the rim with ease, combining to hit 14-of-25 shots and score more than half of A&M’s points. The two combined to score 24 points in the paint, and A&M outscored Oklahoma State 42-16 inside.
“Coach always tells me I’m a driver,” said Sloan, a freshman who got more playing time after starter Dominique Kirk went out with back spasms. “So when a lane or an opportunity is there, why not?”
The Aggies (23-4, 11-2 Big 12) made their first win in Gallagher-Iba Arena a memorable one. They had the largest margin of victory for a visitor since Texas won 108-87 in Stillwater on Dec. 12, 1977, embarrassing the Cowboys on a night when former head coach Eddie Sutton was honored at halftime.
“The margin of victory means absolutely nothing. You either win or you lose,” Gillispie said. “To win means a lot because you’re playing against a really good team, an NCAA tournament team.”
The win meant more to Law, who missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in a 79-77 loss last season in Stillwater—his third straight loss in the arena.
“We’ve been able to do a lot of things for the first time that this program hasn’t been able to do,” Law said. “It’s good to come here into an atmosphere like this, one of the best places to play in America, and get a victory.”
Josh Carter added 10 points and Antanas Kavaliauskas had 13 rebounds for A&M, which cemented its best conference start since going 11-2 in the Southwest Conference to start the 1979-80 season.
Oklahoma State’s Mario Boggan and JamesOn Curry, who combined to average 38.7 points entering the game, each had season lows in scoring. Curry had eight points on 3-for-11 shooting, and Boggan went 3-for-13 to finish with seven points and 10 rebounds.
Kenny Cooper scored 10 to lead the Cowboys (19-8, 5-7), who shot 30 percent.
“They just kept getting to the rim,” Cowboys coach Sean Sutton said. “Our perimeter defenders have got to do a better job of containing the ball.”
The Aggies, who’d been 0-11 at Gallagher-Iba, took control early and led by at least 12 throughout the second half.
Texas A&M opened a 42-24 lead on Joseph Jones’ layup under the basket early in the second half, but then went the next 4 minutes without a basket. Oklahoma State was only able to score five points in that span, and Curry’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 42-29.
Law drove for a layup to end the drought, and he combined with Sloan to score 13 of A&M’s next 15 points as the Aggies began to pull away.
Law had a driving layup and a 3-pointer during a 10-0 run that Marlon Pompey topped off with a three-point play that put A&M up 60-37.
Oklahoma State won its previous six home games against top-10 opponents and badly needed a win after four losses in a five-game span dropped the Cowboys from the top 25 for the first time since November. Instead, they lost their second straight home game, following a 75-64 loss to Missouri on Saturday that snapped a 17-game home winning streak.
“I know people would just because of the result of this game think that their postseason chances in the NCAA tournament are squashed. They’re absolutely not,” Gillispie said. “It’s an NCAA tournament team that can get in the tournament and do some damage.
“All that nonsense is nonsense to me. They’re good. They just missed a bunch of shots tonight.”
Sutton said a win over the Aggies “would have been a huge step towards” a tournament bid.
“That’s why it’s frustrating,” he said.
The Cowboys never put up much of a fight.
Law found easy paths to the basket early on, driving for a pair of layups during a 10-2 run that put the Aggies up 15-6. He had two more layups as Texas A&M continued to distance itself even with leading rebounder Jones on the bench with two fouls, and Kavaliauskas’ 3-pointer from the left wing made it 26-13.
The Aggies scored seven in a row—including two when Sloan went in for a layup after tracking down a long Oklahoma State inbounds pass that Curry and Cooper watched go over their heads.
Curry’s 3-pointer at the buzzer cut the deficit to 36-22 at halftime.