No. 24 Baylor 70, No. 22 Texas A&,M 66
LaceDarius Dunn let go of the shot from the top of the key, and the ball hit the rim a couple of times before finally falling through the hoop for Baylor.
``I popped back and I was wide open,'' Dunn said.
The next one from the right corner swished the net.
Those consecutive 3-pointers late by Dunn in a 33-second span, both coming right after Texas A&M had made 3s, kept the No. 24 Bears in front and they held on for a 70-66 victory over the No. 22 Aggies on Wednesday night.
``We did a nice job on Lace until the very end,'' Aggies coach Mark Turgeon said. ``Lace's two 3s were huge, especially the second one after we'd cut it back to one.''
Texas A&M (19-8, 8-5 Big 12) had cut what was a 13-point deficit to one when Donald Sloan hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with 4:08 left. Then came Dunn's rim-rattler before B.J. Holmes hit from long range and Baylor's sharpshooter responded with another.
``I just wanted to come out and take good shots,'' said Dunn, who finished with 23 points. ``Coach (Scott) Drew always tells me that my first couple of looks ought to be good so the rest of the game will be a little bit more smooth for me.''
Dunn made a pair of 3-pointers in the first 4 minutes to push Baylor ahead 10-6. His other two came when they were needed the most.
Baylor (21-6, 8-5) had had gone 4 1/2 minutes without a field goal, since Dunn made a floater in traffic to make it 56-46 with 8:16 left, before making the first of his late 3-pointers.
After A&M had gotten within one again, Dunn hit two free throws with 17 seconds left.
Sloan, who led A&M with 22 points, then missed what would have been a tying 3-pointer. Quincy Acy was fouled on the rebound with 2.2 seconds left, then made one of his free throws.
``It is probably one of the most physical games that we know we have on our schedule all year,'' Sloan said. ``It is going to be tough, it is going to be scrappy. We knew it was going to be a good game.''
The Aggies were within 67-66 in the final minute when Ray Turner made two free throws after being fouled by Ekpe Udoh, who had just had a turnover following Sloan's twisting baseline jumper.
But Udoh made up for that when he rebounded a miss by teammate Tweety Carter, and Dunn hit two free throws after being fouled on the same possession.
Josh Lomers added 10 points and seven rebounds for Baylor, while Udoh and Acy both had nine points.
Bryan Davis had 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Holmes had 11 points for Texas A&M, which had won five of six with a 78-71 victory over Baylor 2 1/2 weeks ago.
The 201st meeting between the schools located only about 90 miles apart and at different points on the Brazos River was only the second when both were in the Top 25. The other was two years ago, when Baylor won 116-110 in five overtimes at College Station.
``It was a typical Baylor vs. Texas A&M game,'' Drew said.
With only three games left in the regular season, Baylor and Texas A&M are tied with Texas for fourth place in the Big 12. The top four teams in the standings get a first-round bye in the conference tournaments.
``It will probably be decided on the last day of the season,'' said Drew, the seventh-year coach now 102-101 at Baylor. ``I am very excited about that opportunity with these guys.''
Baylor has games left at Oklahoma and Texas Tech before playing the regular-season finale at home against No. 21 Texas. A&M hosts Texas and Oklahoma State before going to Oklahoma.
Baylor surged ahead 52-39 with 10-0 run in the second half.
Acy made a strong move inside to score over Ray Turner, then Carter made a bounce pass to Dunn streaking wide open for a layup before A.J. Walton and Fred Ellis both hit 3-pointers.
Texas A&M was ahead for the first time since the opening minute, when David Loubeau picked up a loose ball after a block by Udoh and scored to make it 27-25 with just under 5 minutes left in the first half.
But the Bears never trailed after the 6-foot-10 Udoh hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 31-28 only 2:22 before halftime.
Baylor built a 21-12 lead less than 8 1/2 minutes into the game on Acy's two-handed slam. That came after consecutive missed 3-pointers by Dunn still led to three-point plays, Dunn getting his own rebound on one of them and driving for a rebound and Anthony Jones with a putback on the other. Both were fouled and made the free throws.