Jan. 21, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- When Texas A&M's Khris Middleton went out with an injury late in the first half, the Aggies knew they'd have to step up to beat Oklahoma on Saturday.
They did, with Elston Turner leading the way with a career-high 23 points, including seven in overtime, as Texas A&M outlasted Oklahoma for an 81-75 win.
"It's a big win, big momentum," Turner said. "With Khris getting hurt, it was a great all-around team win."
Turner said he was helped by the play of point guard Dash Harris, who tied a career high with 14 points. Harris also had six assists, four rebounds and a pair of steals with just one turnover in 43 minutes.
"It makes it so much easier because we're out and pushing the tempo and not playing the other team's game," Turner said, referring to what Harris brings to the game.
Turner made a 3-pointer that tied it with 40 seconds left in regulation, and had another 3 and four free throws in overtime to help the Aggies beat the Sooners for a school-record fifth straight time.
Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy raved about Turner's play.
"Elston was tremendous," Kennedy said. "I thought Dash did a really good job of finding him and getting him opportunities to score. (Turner) drove the ball, did a good job of post reading, and made some big shots down the stretch."
Texas A&M (11-7, 2-4 Big 12) led by one with about 3 1/2 minutes left in overtime when Turner hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to 71-67. The teams exchanged baskets before Romero Osby made two free throws to get Oklahoma (12-6, 2-4) within 73-71 with 90 seconds remaining in OT.
The Aggies made seven free throws, capped by four from Turner to make it 80-71 and hold on for the win.
"I thought our guys did a lot of things well enough to win," Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. "But we still didn't do some things well enough to win ... we have to go and learn from it."
The Sooners were led by Osby's 18 points. Andrew Fitzgerald added 17 points and Steven Pledger scored 16.
The game was tied in the second half before Fitzgerald hit a jump shot as he was fouled and made the free throw to put Oklahoma up 65-62 with a minute left. A&M answered with Turner's 3-pointer from the corner that knotted it back up 20 seconds later. Turner's 3-pointer in overtime was from almost the same spot.
Oklahoma had a chance to win it in regulation, but Pledger's shot bounced off the rim.
"I felt like I beat my man on the first dribble," Pledger said of the play. "I had the space, it just didn't fall."
The Aggies used a 14-7 run to erase a seven-point deficit and tie it at 60 with about five minutes remaining. Turner got it going with a pair of free throws followed by a 3-pointer and Naji Hibbert added five straight points later in the run.
"This win shows how much heart our team has," Harris said. "Going down, coming back and finishing a game in overtime -- it shows the character of this team and how good we can be."
Texas A&M got 16 points from David Loubeau and Keith Davis had nine rebounds.
The Sooners led by one point with about 14 minutes left before using an 8-2 run capped by a 3-pointer by Pledger to extend their advantage to 53-46.
Pledger hit both of his free throws Saturday, and has made all 20 of his free-throw attempts in conference play.
Oklahoma led by eight points after a dunk by Osby about five minutes before halftime, before the Aggies scored seven straight points to get within 28-27. Hibbert hit a 3-pointer in that run before Dash Harris grabbed a steal and finished with a layup.
The game was tied at 34 at halftime.
Middleton, who missed time early this season after surgery to repair a partially torn right meniscus, was injured late in the first half and did not return. Kennedy said he injured the same knee Saturday, but he didn't think it was serious.
However, he said that Middleton hasn't been 100 percent since his surgery and that he plans to give him some time off this week to recover.