Texas A&M beats No. 21 Baylor 84-73
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)—Texas A&M’s Chinemelu Elonu is so confident now, he barely resembles the player he once was.
Elonu and Bryan Davis both scored 17 points and Elonu had a career-high 16 rebounds as the Aggies got their first Big 12 win, 84-73 over No. 21 Baylor on Wednesday night.
Donald Sloan said the change in Elonu, a fellow junior, since he arrived is impressive.
“If we can get that from him every night I think we’ll be fine,” Sloan said. “I think he’s playing with a lot of confidence now. I remember a couple of years ago when he would freeze up at times. Not now.”
Elonu said he’s been helped by the support of his teammates.
“My teammates mean everything to me,” he said. “My confidence is sky high right now.”
The last time these teams met in College Station, it took five overtimes for Baylor to get a 116-110 victory in the longest game in Big 12 history.
This time the outcome was decided by halftime.
Texas A&M (15-2, 1-1) led by 11 points after the first half and 3-pointers by Derrick Roland and Sloan pushed the lead to 45-29 with about 18 minutes left.
The Bears (13-3, 1-1) made a late run to cut the lead to six points with about 1 1/2 minutes left, but A&M then made 10 free throws to secure the win.
Tweety Carter had 16 points for Baylor, while LaceDarius Dunn added 14.
Texas A&M took advantage of 11 turnovers by Baylor to score 18 points.
“I’ll have to go back and look at film and see what happened. Normally we do a better job causing turnovers and scoring off of them,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
A&M has won 11 of its last 12 games and has taken eight of the last nine against the Bears.
The normally strong 3-point shooting Bears struggled in that area Wednesday, going 5-of-16. Dunn hit one in the fourth quarter to extend his streak of games with at least one to 21.
“We know they’re a team that likes to shoot 3s and can make them,” Sloan said. “So we really crowded the 3-point line.”
The Aggies led by four points before going on a 9-2 run keyed by a 3-pointer by Sloan to take a 39-28 halftime lead. Elonu scored nine of Texas A&M’s first 13 points and had 13 points and nine rebounds by halftime.
“Chin’s just becoming a monster out there,” A&M coach Mark Turgeon said. “He got tired and he wasn’t as good the last 10 minutes he played as the first 20 minutes he played.”
Turgeon has been most impressed by Elonu’s offensive rebounding. He had 11 on Wednesday.
“He’s really come a long way and really done a good job of coming along and improving his game,” Drew said.
Sloan and Josh Carter both added 15 points for A&M.
This was a physical game from the outset. Before the first points were scored Mamadou Diene and Davis got tangled up and fell to the court. When he got up, the 7-foot-1 Diene, accidentally ran into one of the referees sending him tumbling to the court.
Diene went to the bench with his second foul with about 16 minutes left in the first half and didn’t return until less than a minute before halftime. He had four fouls early in the second half and had to sit again. He finished with no points or rebounds.