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January 31, 2010COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M started out much like it has in Big 12 conference games, shooting dismally from the field. The Aggies didn't get their first field goal until 2:44 had ticked off the clock and Texas Tech raced out to a as much an eight-point lead in putting up 25 points in the first 10 minutes while shooting 89-percent from the field over that time.
But the Aggies (15-6, 4-3 Big 12) went to sophomore forward David Loubeau off the bench to keep them in the game, and Loubeau responded with 13 first half points. A&M got the message too as the Aggies continued to dump the ball into the post on their way to an 85-70 win in front of a Reed Arena record crowd of 13,648.
"I thought Texas Tech was phenomenal offensively, especially in the first 10 minutes of the game," said A&M head coach Mark Turgeon. "It took us a while to get used to all their screens and get through them. We quit jacking up 3s and started going inside and our offense got a lot better."
The Aggies took advantage of Tech's (14-7, 2-5) lack of depth in the paint as A&M got senior forward Darko Cohadarevic in foul trouble, limiting him to just 14 minutes before fouling out of the game. The Aggies continued to dump the ball in the post where Tech couldn't handle Loubeau or senior Bryan Davis.
"The foul trouble hurt in general hurt us," said Texas Tech associate head coach Chris Beard. "Obviously I think when you play A&M the more you can guard their posts one-on-one the better, and the only two kids we have on our team that can do that at all are Darko and Lewandowski. Both of them were in foul trouble."
The two Aggie big men owned the glass as well, and both actually had more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds as A&M picked up 19 offensive boards in the game compared to 18 on the defensive end.
Loubeau would finish with 19 points and nine rebounds, five offensive, with three assists, one block and two steals. Davis added 15 points and seven rebounds, four offensive, with four blocks and a steal.
"I was just getting more touches in the right spot tonight, and I was just executing and playing hard," Loubeau said. "It's pretty tough (to get offensive rebounds) because the Big 12 is really physical."
Defensively A&M limited Tech's star duo of juniors John Roberson and Mike Singletary to a combined 20 points. Singletary had 11 points, but shot just 4-12 from the field before leaving with what appeared to be a shoulder injury in the final minutes. Following the game, Beard said he didn't have any information on Singletary's injury.
Roberson had just nine points but did have a game-high 12 assists, but he also turned the ball over four times.
"I thought we did a great job on Singletary and Roberson, their two best players, and held them to 70 which is pretty good especially the way they started," Turgeon said. "We really picked up our defense."
Roberson's four turnovers equaled the Aggie total in the game, and the last was when the Aggies took a shot clock violation with four seconds remaining and the win in hand. The mark is the fewest turnovers ever by an Aggie team in Big 12 play.
"We had three and we took the one right at the end, and if I had known that I wouldn't have done it. I would've shot the ball," Turgeon said. "We have good guard play. We're really good passers and our passing doesn't look as good because we don't make jump shots. When we're making our shots everything looks pretty. We have three point guards really in Sloan, B.J. and Dash and that helps you when you have three point guards out there handling the ball."
Even though the Aggie big men saved the Aggies on the boards and in the paint, senior guard Donald Sloan had another big day. Sloan added 28 points, including shooting 12-14 from the free throw line.
The rest of A&M's guards, however, struggled once again from the field. A&M shot 12.5-percent (2-16) from the 3-point arc in the win. A&M's starting guard - Sloan, B.J. Holmes and Dash Harris - combined to go 0-11 from the 3-point arc.
"We really don't talk about it," Turgeon said. "We've been doing a lot more shooting in practice. We're trying to have more fun with our shooting, having more shooting contests and trying to have fun with it. The thing about our team is if you re-watch the game we really execute, and that's what coaches want. The way we've shot the ball, to be 4-3 says a lot about the group I have. They're tough and fight through things, and we know we have to get better though to win in this league."
A&M hits the road to face Missouri on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in a game televised by ESPNU.