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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies put away Cowboys, 76-61

 
 

Injured and dressed in sweaters and jeans rather than maroon jerseys, senior point guard Dash Harris and junior forward Khris Middleton began a chant while walking into the locker room after the Aggies’ 76-61 victory over Oklahoma State.
“Keep the lights on,” Harris and Middleton shouted, effectively telling the world that even though it may have written off the Aggies after stumbling out of the gate into conference play, the team isn’t quite ready to turn off the lights of its season.
“We talked about it all week,” head coach Billy Kennedy said of the team’s effort. “‘We’re beat up, we need everyone to give a little more.’ Obviously I’m real proud of our guys. This is what A&M is all about: character, toughness.”
Junior guard Elston Turner scored 23 points — the third consecutive game in which he has broken the 20-point plane. Senior forward David Loubeau chipped in 13 points and two steals. But the real story of the game was the production out of A&M’s bench.
“I feel like everyone stepped up,” Turner said. “We preached it all week, if Dash doesn’t go, then we’ll rely on us and our bench. Everybody stepped up today, and we get that consistent effort then we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
Harris’ foot injury and freshman Jamal Branch’s recent withdrawal from school for personal reasons left the Aggies very short-staffed in the point guard department. Turner started the game at point, but when the offense mired, Kennedy turned to seldom-used senior guard Alex Baird, a walk-on who had played a total of six minutes in two years of service. With Turner at shooting guard spot and Baird running the show, the Aggies finished the first half strong and eventually outscored the Cowboys 46-32 in the second period.
“We needed that,” Turner said of Baird’s three assists, four rebounds and zero turnovers. “We’ve always had confidence in him and have seen him play. He was just waiting for his time, he finally got it and used the best of it.”
Baird described his time on the court as “pretty surreal.”
“Probably the most insanely awesome thing I’ve ever done,” Baird said. “I just wanted to win because we were down two players. They gave me the ‘you might need to be ready to go’ and I gave everything I had for my team.”
Help came from all kinds of unexpected places for the Aggies on Saturday afternoon. Freshman forward Jordan Green used his length to force OSU’s Keiton Page into a 2-for-13 day from the field and strong defense from freshman forward Danny Alexander minimized the impact of the Cowboys’ freshman phenom, Le’Bryan Nash. Coming off a 27-point outing in a win against No. 2 Missouri, Nash was held to 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting and committed four turnovers.
“[Turnovers] allowed them to get easy baskets, and we had a 7- or 8-point lead and we turned it over,” OSU head coach Travis Ford said. “When you’re playing a team at their court, you don’t want to give them anything to build on. And they forced them, their kids are feisty, and that’s dangerous.”
Junior guard Zach Kinsley connected on half his attempts from the three-point line en route to eight points while Alexander scored 11 and pulled down six rebounds. Two of his 11 came on an alley-oop from Green that drew the 9,027 fans in Reed Arena out of their seats.
“It was cool because we were playing almost kind of like a pick-up game,” Alexander said. “I pointed up, he saw me, we both smiled and it was easy from that point on.”
Kennedy hopes that the win, his team’s third consecutive at home, “breeds confidence” for Wednesday night’s battle against No. 7 Baylor.
“Baylor obviously is very confident; they’ve only lost two games this season,” Kennedy said. “I think we’re a much better team than when we played them last. I think we’re going to have to have a spectacular effort against a good team.”

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