Feb. 14, 2009
WACO, Texas (AP) - Texas A&M simply couldn't stay with Baylor's Curtis Jerrells when it mattered most Saturday night.
Jerrells broke loose for a key layup with 12 seconds to play, then eluded Aggies defenders long enough to dribble out the final seconds in a 72-68 victory that ended the Bears' six-game losing streak.
A physical game that included two first-half technicals ended with some pushing and shoving after the buzzer, and coaches and referees had to separate players and lead them off the court. There were no official ejections.
"I thought it was unfortunate that the game had to end like that because you had two teams that played extremely hard," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "It was a well-played game. The fans, the fifth-largest crowd in Ferrell Center history, were really into it. It was a great game for them to watch."
Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon said the Aggies (17-8, 3-7 Big 12) got caught watching on Jerrells' clinching bucket.
A five-point lead for the Bears (16-9, 4-7) was cut to 70-68 on a 3-pointer by Texas A&M's Donald Sloan with 43 seconds left, and Baylor put the ball in Jerrells' hands at the other end.
Jerrells was face-to-face with Sloan, who ran into a screen by Kevin Rogers. Jerrells then paused for a half-second in front of Bryan Davis and blew past him for the layup and a four-point lead with 12 seconds left.
"Bryan was supposed to show hard on that ball screen and he didn't," Turgeon said. "He was flat. He was late. It was pretty obvious the ball screen was coming. We just didn't guard it right. Jerrells made a good play. He kind of hesitated, looked the guy off and made a big-time play."
After Sloan missed another 3-point try and Texas A&M quickly fouled, Jerrells took an inbounds pass and dribbled out the clock before the Aggies could foul him.
"We just have to learn how to finish games," said Texas A&M's Josh Carter, who scored 20 points. "The last couple of games have come down to the wire, and we just havent found a way to finish them out."
Jerrells and Tweety Carter scored 14 points apiece to lead Baylor in a game featuring two teams desperate to hang on to fading NCAA tournament hopes.
"As a player, you try not to listen to the talk about the six-game losing streak," Jerrells said. "You try to focus on the next game that is front of you. That is what we did tonight."
Davis had 13 points and nine rebounds for Texas A&M, while Sloan and Derrick Roland also scored 13 apiece.
The first half was spirited, with players from both teams picking up technical fouls. Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn was whistled with 12:31 to play and A&M's Davis got called for one at the 10:14 mark.
After Quincy Acy scored the opening basket of the second half to give Baylor a 42-28 lead, Texas A&M quickly closed the deficit to seven. Davis converted a three-point play, Roland made two free throws and a layup and Chinemelu Elonu made two free shots for the Aggies.
Baylor took a 50-42 lead on a dunk by Rogers with 15 minutes remaining, but A&M pulled within one on a 3-pointer and another jumper by Sloan and a jumper from Roland.