Feb. 1, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Pierre Jackson coming through with the game on the line is becoming a trend for No. 6 Baylor.
Jackson hit a 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining to put Baylor on top and added two free throws to give the Bears a 63-60 victory over Texas A&M on Wednesday night.
It was his second straight game with a big play late after he hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in Baylor's 76-71 win over Texas on Saturday.
Baylor coach Scott Drew wishes he knew what it was about Jackson that causes him to excel under pressure.
"I don't know, but if we could clone it or duplicate it, we'd inject it in a lot of people," he said. "The bigger the moment, the bigger the play, the better he performs. You've either got it or you don't and he definitely has it."
The Bears (20-2, 7-2 Big 12) were up by four points with 5 minutes left before A&M used a 9-3 run capped by a short jump shot by David Loubeau to take a 60-58 lead with 29 seconds remaining.
Jackson's second 3 of the game put the Bears on top before A&M's Elston Turner missed a 3-pointer forcing the Aggies (12-9, 3-6) to foul.
Jackson missed his first free throw attempt, but was fouled again after the rebound and made the insurance shots.
He was glad to have a chance to redeem himself after missing a 3-pointer just before Loubeau's shot that put the Aggies on top.
"I missed and I was wide open, and my teammates just told me the next one was going to fall and it did," Jackson said.
Perry Jones III said they love seeing the ball in Jackson's hands in key situations.
"He's been taking big shots since he got here," Jones said. "Anytime he's open, we're looking for him."
Loubeau had 16 points for Texas A&M, which was without two starters.
"They've got a lot of weapons and we made them have to use them," Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. "I'm proud of the way our guys competed in a difficult situation."
The win gives Baylor its first 7-2 conference start since 1968-69 and its fourth 20-win season in the last five.
Baylor has won five straight over the Aggies in this rivalry which has been played every year since 1930-31 but is in jeopardy with Texas A&M leaving for the Southeastern Conference.
Wednesday's victory leaves the Bears tied with No. 4 Missouri for second place in the Big 12. They are one game behind league leader No. 8 Kansas.
The Bears got 15 points from Jones and Jackson finished with 14 points and five assists. Quincy Acy added 11 points and Quincy Miller had 11 rebounds and nine points.
They finished with a season-low seven turnovers and limited A&M to 39.3 percent shooting, the fourth time in league play they have kept an opponent below 40 percent.
The Bears were down by five before scoring nine consecutive points to take a 53-49 lead with 6 minutes remaining. Acy had two dunks in that span to quiet the crowd a bit.
The Bears led by nine points early in the second half before A&M used a 14-3 run to take a 44-42 lead with about 12 minutes remaining. Daniel Alexander started the spurt with a 3-pointer and A&M had two steals which ended with easy layups to keep it going.
Anthony Jones had a tip-in for Baylor to tie it before A&M scored five straight points, led by a dunk by Loubeau, to take a 49-44 lead with about 10 minutes left.
Things got testy in this one with Loubeau and Acy having to be separated by teammates and officials after two other players tussled on the court for a loose ball midway through the second half.
Acy liked how intense the game got and the fervor of A&M's fans.
"It's always like that," he said. "It's A&M and that's the rivalry."
Alexander finished with 12 points and six rebounds for A&M and Ray Turner had 13 points. The Bears were able to limit Elston Turner, who had scored at least 23 points in three straight games, to eight points.
The Aggies were without second-leading scorer Khris Middleton (right knee) for the third straight game and point guard Dash Harris (right foot) for the second. Kennedy said Monday that he hoped Harris could play, but when he appeared on crutches during warmups it became apparent that he would sit out again.
Acy was impressed with A&M's performance on Wednesday while playing shorthanded.
"Those are two of their better players and they showed a lot of heart and that says a lot about them and their coach," he said.
Baylor used a 16-5 run to take a 31-23 lead about 3 minutes before halftime. The Bears led 36-25 at halftime.