No. 23 Texas A&amp,M 69, Oklahoma 54

No. 23 Texas A&M wrapped up a rare win at Oklahoma with

exactly what the Sooners have been missing during an extended

losing streak: Defense.

Khris Middleton scored 15 points, Bryan Davis added 13 points

and 10 rebounds and the Aggies held Oklahoma to its lowest

second-half scoring total of the season in a 69-54 victory

Saturday. The win earned Texas A&M the No. 4 seed and a

first-round bye at next week’s Big 12 tournament.

“The reason that we’re so successful is that these guys bring

an unbelievable amount of toughness to the program,” coach Mark

Turgeon said. “A lot of the games that we’ve won over the last

four years with these guys have been because of toughness.”

The Aggies (22-8, 11-5 Big 12) held Oklahoma to only 22 points

on 24 percent shooting in the second half. Over the final 28

minutes, Texas A&M – which leads the Big 12 in scoring defense

during conference play – held a 55-31 scoring edge.

“I thought defensively we were as good as we’ve been,” said

Turgeon, who moved to 71-29 through 100 games at A&M.

After starting out 1-25 in the series, the Aggies have won five

of the last eight meetings and are now 2-14 in Norman.

Texas A&M outscored the Sooners 38-16 in the paint and shot

52 percent while winning for the eighth time in their last 10

games, including four of five on the road. Oklahoma (13-17, 4-12)

has allowed its last seven opponents to shoot at least 50 percent

during an eight-game losing streak, the school’s longest since

February 1969.

The Sooners were within 38-36 when Tiny Gallon, who had averaged

19 points and 12 rebounds in his last two games, rolled his ankle

while landing after blocking Middleton’s jumper. He had to be

helped off the floor with 18:12 remaining and was noticeably

limping when he briefly tried to return twice later.

Soon after Gallon was hurt, Middleton hit a 3-pointer from the

left side and B.J. Holmes followed with a three-point play and a

3-pointer from the right wing as Texas A&M reeled off nine

straight points for a 50-38 lead.

Middleton then followed Ray Turner’s two-handed follow dunk with

four straight points as the Aggies pushed their advantage to 64-48

with 5:58 remaining.

Tommy Mason-Griffin led Oklahoma with 16 points and also broke

Terry Evans’ school record for most assists by a freshman in a

season. Andrew Fitzgerald and senior Ryan Wright, playing his final

home game at Lloyd Noble Center, scored 10 apiece.

The Sooners will be the 10th seed at the Big 12 tournament next

week and face rival Oklahoma State in the opening round on

Wednesday while trying to avoid a ninth straight loss for the first

time since 1964.

A candid coach Jeff Capel pointed the finger at himself for

what’s become a miserable season that started out with high hopes

and a top-20 ranking. He said there have been too many personal

agendas among players who have been unable or unwilling to accept

their roles.

“I’ve done a poor job this year. It’s one of the worst jobs –

the worst job I’ve ever done,” Capel said. “I haven’t been able

to push the right buttons. We’re going to keep trying to plug away

and see if we can figure it out before Wednesday.”

Capel pointed out that Oklahoma has four freshmen in its

seven-man rotation after leading scorer Willie Warren had

season-ending ankle surgery. However, he said that’s “not an

excuse.”

The senior class that played its last game at Lloyd Noble Center

on Saturday could have been a star-studded one. Scottie Reynolds

bolted for Villanova and Damion James headed to Texas after Capel

was hired. And he left his own team short-handed when he chased off

others that would have been seniors now, including Bobby Maze (now

starting for No. 16 Tennessee) and junior college transfer Juan

Pattillo.

“A lot of this stuff is self-inflicted,” Capel said. “We

can’t do anything about injuries but some of the things that have

happened with our team are self-inflicted. That’s something that we

can control that we haven’t done a good job of doing that and I

haven’t done a good job of doing that.”

Tony Crocker and former walk-on Beau Gerber became the first

players to play four seasons with Capel, and both got emotional

while addressing the crowd in a postgame senior day ceremony.

“There ain’t nothing like playing at your dream school and I

enjoyed every minute of it. I’m going to miss it so much,” said

Crocker, who had four points before fouling out with 5:58 to play

while preventing Middleton’s dunk on a breakaway.

Capel called the postgame speeches the only positives from the

game.

“You can’t have emotion like that unless something means

something to you, unless you care deeply and passionately about

something,” Capel said. “A lot of our younger guys should take a

cue from that. But this younger generation, I don’t know if they

know how to care about anything.”