No. 23 Texas A&M beats Oklahoma State 76-61
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)—Donald Sloan and Texas A&M turned a weakness into a strength Wednesday night.
Sloan scored 19 points and the 23rd-ranked Aggies led from start to finish in a 76-61 victory over Oklahoma State.
Texas A&M entered the game shooting a Big 12-worst 25 percent on 3-pointers in league play. But the Aggies connected on almost 48 percent of their long-range attempts in this one and matched their conference high for 3s with 10.
“Guys were feeling it,” Sloan said. “That gave us extra confidence while we were shooting. A lot of them fell for us tonight and that was pretty much the difference in the game. How we started out was big.”
The Aggies (21-8, 10-5) used their 3-point shooting to take an early lead and a 14-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half to keep it against the Cowboys, who were coming off Saturday’s big win over then-No. 1 Kansas.
Texas A&M had its 18-point lead cut to eight before outscoring Oklahoma State 11-3 to stretch the cushion to 70-54 with about three minutes left. Sloan, a senior playing in his last home game, and B.J. Holmes both had 3s during that spurt.
“Once you start making your 3s it opens up a lot more, whether it’s the drive or guys feeling more confident after they made the first shots,” Sloan said. “It opened up the whole game for us.”
James Anderson led the Cowboys (20-9, 8-7) with 27 points.
Oklahoma State shot poorly, finishing just under 34 percent, while the Aggies shot 53 percent overall.
“I was getting good looks. I just wasn’t hitting them,” said Anderson, who was 7 of 19. “It was a bad shooting night for our whole team. We didn’t hit shots we normally hit.”
Cowboys coach Travis Ford was worried about his team coming into this game after two bad days of practice.
“I thought they were terrific,” Ford said of the Aggies. “The way they shot the ball in the first half was very impressive. We didn’t play too well. We played the way we practiced the last two days.”
The win left Texas A&M in a three-way tie for third place in the Big 12 with one regular-season game remaining. The Aggies are looking to finish in the top four to get a bye in the first round of the conference tournament.
“I think it would be good for our program to finish in the top four, especially with the things we’ve been through,” Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon said. “It would be a great compliment to this team, playing in the No. 1 RPI league. It would be great for our program.”
The Aggies got 14 points from David Loubeau and Holmes added 12.
Texas A&M used a 14-0 run to start the second half to turn a three-point lead into a 52-35 advantage with about 17 minutes to go. The Cowboys were scoreless in the second half until a dunk by Matt Pilgrim about five minutes into the period.
The win improved A&M’s record to 18-1 this season when holding an opponent under 70 points. Oklahoma State’s 61 points were just four off its season low in a loss to Oklahoma.
The loss dropped the Cowboys to 0-5 this season on the road against Big 12 South foes.
The Aggies were up by 18 before Oklahoma State went on a 12-2 run, with 10 points from Anderson, to cut the lead to 59-51 with 8 minutes remaining.
Texas A&M led by 13 about 10 minutes before halftime, but Oklahoma State went on a 17-4 run to tie it at 28 about four minutes later. Anderson hit two 3-pointers and scored 10 points in that span.
There was a small scuffle just before that run by Oklahoma State after Texas A&M’s Bryan Davis was fouled by Oklahoma State’s Marshall Moses on a shot. Moses and Davis stood face to face and began jawing at one another and the two, along with Holmes, were all given technicals.
The Cowboys tied it again with 3 minutes left in the first half but never took the lead. Texas A&M was up 38-35 at halftime.
The Aggies started strong, hitting their first three shots—all 3-pointers — to take a 9-0 lead. They were up 17-7 about six minutes into the game after hitting five of their first six from 3-point range.