Texas A&M-Oklahoma St. Preview

Texas A&M has gotten back on track at the expense of the

lesser teams in the Big 12, but a win in Stillwater is far from a

sure thing.

Facing a fourth straight team with a losing record in conference

play, the 21st-ranked Aggies try to complete a sweep of Oklahoma

State and notch only their third win at Gallagher-Iba Arena on

Saturday night.

After losing four of five, Texas A&M (20-5, 7-4) has

rebounded with three straight victories. The Aggies are coming off

a 71-66 win over league-worst Iowa State on Wednesday.

Texas A&M had a 10-point lead cut to one in the second half,

but Khris Middleton hit three foul shots in the final minute to

seal the win and finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and five

assists.

While Texas A&M’s last three opponents are a combined 9-24

in Big 12 play, the Aggies have only beaten those teams by a

combined 11 points. They have split eight games since a 16-1

start.

“We’re not playing with the type of toughness we want to be

successful, but it’s a good win for us, especially this type of

year,” coach Mark Turgeon said Wednesday.

Facing lesser competition, Texas A&M’s offense has improved

after stumbling. After being held below 50 points in two of the

previous three losses, the Aggies have reached 70 in all three

wins.

Nathan Walkup has provided help for Middleton, Texas A&M’s

leading scorer. Walkup scored 19 points Wednesday and is averaging

16.0 while shooting 65.6 percent the last three games. Before the

winning streak, he was averaging 9.5 points and shooting 48.3

percent.

The Aggies will likely need the senior forward’s help again at

Gallagher-Iba Arena, where they’ve lost two in a row and are 2-13

all-time.

Texas A&M did beat Oklahoma State (16-9, 4-7) 71-48 on Jan.

12. Walkup had 16 points in that victory in which the Aggies

outscored the Cowboys 36-19 in the second half. However, Oklahoma

State has been a different team at home, going 2-1 against ranked

opponents and 11-1 overall.

The Cowboys are returning home after two straight road losses.

They suffered a 73-55 defeat at No. 3 Texas on Wednesday.

Oklahoma State never led, shooting 37.5 percent and committing

17 turnovers. Markel Brown led with 14 points but Keiton Page was

held to seven – nearly half his season average.

“I thought in the first half, we just dug ourselves a hole and I

thought we were fortunate to only be down by 11,” coach Travis Ford

said. “You just can’t go on the road and shoot our percentage and

have 17 turnovers.”

Oklahoma State struggled to score during its road trip,

averaging 54.5 points while shooting 36.8 percent. At home, it’s

averaging 76.3 points and posted wins over previously ranked foes

Kansas State and Missouri.

However, this will be the first home game without starting

forward Darrell Williams, who was suspended indefinitely in the

wake of four felony charges.