Top-ranked Kansas beats A&M 59-54
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Kansas coach Bill Self knows his team’s win over Texas A&M wasn’t pretty. Still, he figures it will help the Jayhawks down the road.
Xavier Henry scored 12 points, including several free throws down the stretch, to help top-ranked Kansas escape with a 59-54 win over No. 24 Texas A&M on Monday night.
It’s the 11th consecutive victory for Kansas (25-1, 11-0 Big 12) and breaks a 16-game home winning streak for Texas A&M (18-7, 7-4).
Kansas trailed for much of the second half and was behind by four before going on a 7-2 run, capped by a free throw by Henry, to take a 55-54 lead with 3 1/2 minutes remaining. The Jayhawks pushed the lead to 57-54 moments later when Bryan Davis was called for goaltending on a shot by Cole Aldrich.
Henry hit two more free throws with about 30 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Marcus Morris and Aldrich added 12 points apiece for Kansas. Aldrich also had five blocked shots to set the school record for blocked shots in a season with 98.
“If Marcus isn’t going to play much and Sherron (Collins) has a night like he had, it’s amazing to me that we won the game,” Self said. “We won the game muddy. It’s probably a good thing for us to know that we can win when it was really a muddy, ugly from an offensive standpoint game.”
Texas A&M was led by David Loubeau’s 17 points and Donald Sloan had 15.
“I just hate to let it slip away because I thought we had them,” Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon said. “We had it and just couldn’t finish it off.”
The Jayhawks let the Aggies hang around in this one because of poor 3-point shooting and trouble with offensive rebounding. Kansas made just 1 of 10 3-pointers and was outrebounded 20 to 8 on offense.
“We shot it miserably from a distance and we haven’t shot it good for a while from a distance, but we didn’t turn it over and we got fouled,” Self said. “We’re finding a way to still win even though we’re not making shots right now, which is good.”
Aldrich wasn’t happy with his team’s performance on the boards.
“We gave up 20 offensive rebounds which is unacceptable and that’s on our bigs,” he said. “We have to take care of that and make sure they don’t get those second chance points.”
The Jayhawks were proud their stifling defense in the last few minutes.
“Our offense was a little out of rhythm,” Henry said. “It happens every now and then and we just rely on defense when that happens.”
Turgeon lamented his team’s late-game letdown.
“If you only score two points in the last six minutes of a game you’re probably not going to beat the No. 1 team in the country,” he said.
Texas A&M took a 48-44 lead with about eight minutes left after Loubeau hit the first of two free throws. He made a jumper on the previous possession.
Kansas cut the lead to two points when Collins made his first basket of the game – after missing his first six – on a jumper in the lane.
“We just weren’t able to make plays down the stretch and they were and that was the whole game,” Sloan said.
The Aggies led by one before a layup by Loubeau made it 41-38 with about 13 1/2 minutes remaining. He was fouled on the shot, but missed the free throw. Tyrel Reed hit Kansas’ first 3-pointer of the game less than a minute later to tie it at 41-all.
Kansas got ahead several times early in the second half, with one coming when Markieff Morris hit two free throws to make it 38-37 with about 15 minutes remaining.
Texas A&M’s Dash Harris sat out the last 10 minutes of the first half after falling hard to the court after his shot was blocked. He had to be carried off the court by his teammates. He returned for the second half and finished with six points and four rebounds.
Kansas jumped out to an 8-2 lead but Texas A&M went on a 14-4 run to take a four-point lead with about 13 minutes remaining. There were several lead changes after that before a jump shot by Loubeau put the Aggies ahead 32-30 at halftime.
Updated February 16, 2010