No. 25 Texas A&,M 71, Arkansas 62
Stuck in the middle of a bench-clearing scuffle, Texas A&M
standout Khris Middleton held his arms high above his head trying
to stay out of the fray – and make sure the referees knew he
Once everything got sorted out and play resumed, Middleton and
the rejuvenated 25th-ranked Aggies overcame a nine-point deficit
and went on to a 71-62 overtime win over Arkansas on Saturday for
their seventh straight victory.
”It woke us up mainly,” Middleton said. ”It let us know we
weren’t going to let these guys push us around.”
The first meeting between the old Southwest Conference rivals in
20 seasons got feisty when the Aggies (10-1) were calling a timeout
after Arkansas scored the first seven points of the second half for
a 42-33 lead.
Middleton scored 19 of his 31 points after that, including the
go-ahead free throw in overtime.
The scuffle began when A&M’s Dash Harris was knocked to the
ground when fouled by Jeff Peterson as he was crossing midcourt
just as Aggies coach Mark Turgeon was calling a timeout.
”We were sleepwalking,” Turgeon said. ”(The scuffle) seemed
like it really changed the game for us.”
After Middleton tried to help the players up, one of his
teammates got pushed into Peterson after Arkansas players were
already coming off the bench to greet their teammates for the fast
start. The pushing and shoving then escalated at midcourt near the
scorer’s table though no punches were thrown.
It took the officials more than 10 minutes to sort out the
situation. They looked at several replays, taking notes on a piece
of paper. Arkansas’ Marvell Waithe and Kourtney Roberson of Texas
A&M were ejected for coming off the bench and getting involved
in the fracas.
”I don’t know if something changed,” Arkansas coach John
Pelphrey said. ”We had to sit there as long as they did.”
Soon after play resumed, Harris had a steal and was heading to
the basket when he passed to Middleton trailing him for a basket.
Rotnei Clarke responded with a 3-pointer for the Razorbacks, giving
them their biggest lead at 45-35.
Texas A&M finally caught up when David Loubeau’s free throw
with 4:17 left in regulation tied the game 58-all. The next score
was Middleton’s two free throws with 2:05 left that gave A&M
its first lead of the second half.
Arkansas’ last field goal of regulation came when Mardracus Wade
had a breakaway layup for a 58-52 lead with 6:43 left. The
Razorbacks forced overtime when Julysses Nobles made two free
throws with 1:06 left.
”It came down to two defensive teams that couldn’t score and we
made more free throws than they did,” Turgeon said. ”Our defense
the last 10 minutes of the game was tremendous.”
The scuffle only added to an ugly game that included 42
turnovers, 51 fouls and no field goals for either team the rest of
regulation after Middleton had consecutive baskets for the Aggies,
the last with 5:42 left.
Arkansas missed 12 free throws in the game. That included two
misses by Clarke, a career 86-percent shooter, when the Razorbacks
could have grabbed the lead midway through overtime.
Middleton’s free throw with 3:48 left in overtime broke the
60-all tie, and put Texas A&M ahead to stay. There wasn’t
another score until Loubeau hit a short jumper after taking an
inbound pass from Middleton with 2:10 left.
Middleton was 10 of 16 from the field
”You could see it early, he felt it,” Turgeon said. ”We ran a
lot of plays for him. He was fantastic. He just didn’t have any
Nathan Walkup had 15 points and was the only other player in
double figures for the Aggies, who played for the first time since
entering the AP Top 25 for the first time this season last
Clarke had 14 points with four 3-pointers to lead Arkansas,
which had won four straight. Nobles scored 12 points.
Texas A&M had led throughout most of the first half until
Nobles drove for a layup to give Arkansas a 35-33 at the halftime
”It hurts to get this close and not be able to pull it off,”
Texas A&M, which has won 10 of its last 14 games away from
home, played its first regular season neutral-site game in Dallas
since playing TCU at then brand-new Reunion Arena during the
1980-81 season. The site of that since-demolished building is just
down the road from the American Airlines Center, where the Aggies
The schools played for the 148th time, the first time since a
SWC tournament game at old Reunion Arena in Dallas in March 1991.
Arkansas had won the last six meetings, and nine of 10, and has won
96 times in the series.
”This was a big game for Arkansas,” Turgeon said. `We’ve got a
bullseye on our backs and that’s OK.”