Aggies survive scare against Buffaloes 73-70
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Mark Turgeon and his good friend Tad Boyle tend to think alike.
So with the game on the line at the end of regulation, Turgeon, the coach of No. 22 Texas A&M, drew up a play on the fly to confuse his Colorado counterpart.
That improvisation caught Boyle, the Buffs and the whole building by surprise.
B.J. Holmes hit a long 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime, helping the Aggies rally for a 73-70 victory over Colorado on Wednesday night and snap a three-game skid.
"We beat a really good basketball team," Turgeon said. "It looked like they had it and B.J. made the big 3."
Originally, the play wasn't even designed for Holmes.
During a late timeout, Turgeon squiggled lines on his dry-eraser board as he hatched a plan to get the ball to leading scorer Khris Middleton.
Then, he looked in the direction of Holmes, who's made a couple of big shots in his career.
"Coach asked me if I had another one in me," the senior guard said. "I said, 'Yeah.'"
Turgeon wiped the play for Middleton away and started again.
His plan worked to perfection as a wide-open Holmes drilled the long 3-pointer to rescue the game and possibly even the season for the Aggies (18-5, 5-4 Big 12).
Once in overtime, Texas A&M took control early, scoring the first six points. The Buffaloes (15-10, 4-6) worked their way back into the game, trailing 73-70 with 8 seconds remaining.
But Levi Knutson's shot at the buzzer came up short as the Buffs lost their eighth straight to Texas A&M.
"We had the game won and we let it get away," a dejected Boyle said. "I won't sleep a wink tonight."
With 5:28 left in regulation, the Buffs reclaimed the lead on a trip down the floor that resulted in seven points, turning a one-point deficit into a 54-48 advantage.
Alec Burks was fouled by Middleton on his way to the basket and then given an elbow from Kourtney Roberson as well, resulting in a technical foul on Roberson. Burks converted two free throws and Cory Higgins nailed a pair on the technical.
After getting the ball on the side, Higgins drained a 3-pointer.
The momentum was firmly in Colorado's court.
And then it began to shift.
Burks grabbed a rebound with 10.6 seconds remaining and was immediately fouled. He made both free throws, extending the lead to 60-57 and setting the stage for Holmes, who didn't even hesitate as he launched the deep 3-pointer.
"That gave us a boost of confidence," said Nathan Walkup, who led the Aggies with 18 points. "It was our game."
Early in the second half, Turgeon, incensed over a no call, was assessed a technical.
The outburst lit a fire under the Aggies, who stormed back from a seven-point deficit to take a 48-47 lead on Walkup's runner.
"Our coach got a technical sticking up for his players," Holmes said. "That's the kind of coach you want."
With a soft shot 3 minutes into the second half, Burks became the 27th player in team history to reach 1,000 points. The talented sophomore needed 55 games to achieve the milestone, the same number as former Buffaloes great Chauncey Billups, who finished with 1,020 points during his two seasons in Boulder.
Burks finished the contest with a team-high 24 points, while Higgins added 19.
"Tough," Burks said. "We fought back. We didn't hit our shots at the end."
This was the first meeting between Boyle and Turgeon, who forged a bond while playing for the Kansas Jayhawks in the 1980s.
The tandem spent more than a decade coaching together, beginning as assistants at Oregon. Boyle then followed Turgeon to Jacksonville State and later Wichita State.
The buddies split up the partnership after Boyle received his first head coaching gig at Northern Colorado, where he resurrected the Bears' program before bolting for the Buffs.
Turgeon hasn't been looking forward to coaching against his friend, saying, "Hopefully we don't have to do it in the future."
They may not for a while, especially since Colorado will move to the newly formed Pac-12 next season.
From their coaching styles to their fashion sense -- black suits, white shirt and school-colored ties -- they tend to think along the same lines.
They even feel for each other.
"When he loses, I hurt. I really do," Turgeon said. "I hurt, because I know how much he puts into it."
Updated February 9, 2011