Sunday, December 4, 2011

No. 25 Texas A&M beats Stephen F. Austin, 55-42


— Texas A&M;'s shooting continues to be a work in progress.

Elston Turner scored a season-high 17 points to help the 25th-ranked Aggies overcome another slow start in a 55-42 victory over Stephen F. Austin on Saturday night.

A&M; — which came shooting 48 percent from the field, third-best in the Big 12 — was 42 percent (20 for 48). After going 0 for 17 on 3-pointers in a win over Alcorn State on Wednesday, the Aggies were 4 for 12 against SFA — led by Turner's 4-for-7.

"We're going to make shots at some point, and we're working and shooting more in the gym," A&M; coach Billy Kennedy said. "Shooting is not a strength of ours, but in this offense when guys are open, I want them to shoot it."

Ray Turner had 12 points for the Aggies (6-1) and David Loubeau added 11 points and eight rebounds. A&M;, which has not topped 60 points in five straight games, won its fourth straight overall and its 65th straight nonconference home game.

"We know in order to beat the better teams as we move on, we're going to have to start making shots," Elston Turner said.

The Aggies led 26-15 at halftime, and managed to keep Stephen F. Austin at bay the rest of the game.

Jereal Scott scored 12 points to lead the Lumberjacks (3-3), and Antonio Bostic had 10.

The Lumberjacks shot 29 percent (15 of 52) with no player going better than 50 percent.

"I'm not very happy with the way we played," SFA coach Danny Kaspar said. "We didn't play to our full potential out there."

A&M; had 18 turnovers each in its past two games, but reduced that to 12 against SFA. The Aggies overpowered the smaller Lumberjacks, in holding a 28-14 advantage in points in the paint, and outrebounding them 44-28.

"A&M; has some good big men, and we let them score too much inside," Kaspar said. "We worked on that all week, but they still exploited their size advantage over us."

A&M; was without its best player, junior guard Khris Middleton, who's expected back in about a week following surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus.

"When we get Khris back it will help our shooting," Elston Turner said. "Because he's a great shooter."

The Aggies have held an opponent under 45 points in three straight games for the first time in five years, and they have limited the opposition to an average of 16 points in the first half during that stretch.

"We didn't play a great 40 minutes defensively," Kennedy said, "but progress was made."

Elston Turner, who was 5 of 11 from the field, matched his career high with the four 3-pointers.

Elston Turner was 5 of 11 from the field and Ray Turner made six of his seven shots, including a spectacular slam dunk that lifted A&M; to a 30-17 lead nearly 2 minutes into the second half.

The Aggies won their 14th consecutive game against SFA and lead the all-time series 18-3.

"I was pleased with today's effort," Kennedy said, "on both ends of the floor."


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