Middleton leads No. 19 Texas A&M over Prairie View
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)—With less than four minutes gone by in what was supposed to be a mismatch, Texas A&M found itself trailing underdog Prairie View A&M by nine points.
Good thing for the Aggies that they had plenty of time to turn things around.
Khris Middleton scored 17 points and No. 19 Texas A&M shook off a shaky start to beat Prairie View 84-59 on Wednesday night.
“We started slow. Sometimes we get this really cool attitude,” Aggies coach Mark Turgeon said. “Prairie View was fired up and ready to go. Their quickness gave us some problems.”
Middleton hit consecutive 3-pointers during a key surge late in the first half that finally put Texas A&M (6-1) in control. The Aggies were coming off victories over Clemson and Minnesota and a loss to West Virginia in the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif.
Michael Griffin had 16 points for Prairie View (3-3), which scored the first six points of the game and opened a 15-6 advantage nearly four minutes in.
The Aggies grabbed their first lead at 23-21 with 4:29 remaining in the first half and never looked back. They built a 35-25 lead at the break, outscoring Prairie View 18-4 over the final 7:09.
Middleton, a freshman, made a pair of 3s during that span and senior Donald Sloan added a layup and four free throws to help boost Texas A&M to its double-digit halftime lead before 9,151 fans at Reed Arena.
The 6-foot-7 Middleton, who has struggled mightily early in his college career, entered the game shooting 22 percent from the field, including 1 of 11 on 3-pointers. But against the Panthers, he went 6 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 8 from long range.
“We know what he’s capable of. He can score so quickly,” Turgeon said. “It’s amazing what a couple of shots can do for your confidence. I had heard a couple of seniors saying, ‘We need to get Khris going.’ He’s a streak shooter.”
Texas A&M entered with 73 turnovers in six games, but had 10 in the first half. The Aggies finished with 17 while forcing 16 turnovers by the Panthers.
“That was really disappointing. We had two turnovers where we just stepped out of bounds,” Turgeon said. “We have to be more aware of where we are on the court. We just weren’t ready to play. We were just thinking we were going to walk over this team.”
Texas A&M leads the all-time series 9-0 between two schools separated by 50 miles of country highway.
Players from both teams and Prairie View coach Byron Rimm II were not available to reporters afterward because the game, the second part of a Reed Arena doubleheader including a Texas A&M women’s game, ended later than expected.