Oklahoma St.-Texas A&M Preview
Texas A&M showed its success in non-conference play wasn't a fluke after opening the Big 12 season with an impressive road victory.
Oklahoma State made a statement in its first league game as well.
The 14th-ranked Aggies look to win their 12th straight Wednesday night when they host the Cowboys, who are coming off a win over another Top 25 team.
Texas A&M (14-1, 1-0) has equaled its best start since the 1919-20 team went 19-0. The Aggies have won 11 in a row, matching the longest winning streak of Mark Turgeon's coaching career and third-longest in school history.
"I'm happy with what we've done and where we are," Turgeon said. "The exciting thing for me is that I think we can get a lot better."
Texas A&M's only loss was a two-point defeat to Boston College on Nov. 25. The Aggies have two wins over ranked opponents and after two less-than-impressive victories against McNeese State and Nicholls State to close out their non-conference slate, they routed Oklahoma 69-51 on Saturday.
Sophomore Khris Middleton, the team's leading scorer, had 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting while Naji Hibbert added 14 and B.J. Holmes 13.
The Aggies put on another impressive defensive display, holding the Sooners to 34.8 percent shooting in the second half and outrebounding them 30-20.
Texas A&M hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than 57 points in the last four games. For the season it is holding opponents to 56.2 points per game, among the 10 best in Division I.
Some of the success on defense is due to its work on the boards. The Aggies have one of the best rebounding differentials in the nation, outrebounding their opponents by 12.5 per game. They average 14.0 offensive boards.
Oklahoma State (13-2, 1-0) leads the all-time series against Texas A&M 30-14, although the Aggies have won six of the last 10 meetings. The teams have split two games each of the last three seasons.
The Cowboys are coming off a 76-62 win over then-No. 17 Kansas State on Saturday.
"I want to see purely where we are. I think they're really good," Turgeon said of Oklahoma State. "It will be good for me to see where we really are and how tough we are."
After a loss to Gonzaga on Dec. 31 and a slow start in a win over UTSA on Jan. 3, the Cowboys were tied with the Wildcats at the half Saturday, but they held them to 30.4 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes.
Sophomore J.P. Olukemi had career highs of 22 points and 11 rebounds, including 11 points during a 27-7 run in the second half. Olukemi, who is averaging 10.9 points and has 38 in the last two games, scored 14 of his points after the break.
"I don't think we've played a team as good as Kansas State yet," said senior leading scorer Marshall Moses, who had 16 points and nine rebounds. "I think it's safe to say that, and to beat a team like this and prove to us that we can compete in this league, be a top three or four team in this league and make it to the NCAA tournament, we needed this win."