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November 13, 2007COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Josh Carter scored 15 points and Chinemelu Elonukeyed a second-half spurt to help No. 15 Texas A&M beat Oral Roberts 67-53 on Tuesday night.
The Aggies (2-0) came out sloppy in the second half and when they committed their fourth turnover before the 16-minute mark, coach Mark Turgeon had seen enough. He benched all of his starters except for Dominique Kirk.
By then, Texas A&M's 20-point halftime lead had shrunk to 40-26. After a jumper by Moses Ehambe, Robert Jarvis hit a long 3 to cut the Aggies lead to nine.
Turgeon started slowly putting his starters back in the game and the Aggies scored the next eight points, with five coming from Elonu. He had played just two minutes in the first half and was in for less than a minute when he sparked A&M's run to fend off the Golden Eagles. He finished with seven points.
Carter scored seven of A&M's next nine points to stretch the lead to 58-39 with about 8 minutes left and it wouldn't be close again.
Freshman DeAndre Jordan again entertained the crowd with several two-handed dunks and his block of a shot by Curtis Allen drew the biggest cheers of the night. Jordan finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Joseph Jones added 13 for A&M.
Oral Roberts (1-1) was led by Adam Liberty with 13 points and Robert Jarvis had 12.
Texas A&M will meet Texas-El Paso on Wednesday in the south regional championship. UTEP beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 77-62 earlier Tuesday. The winner of that game will advance to the NIT semifinals next week at Madison Square Garden.
The Golden Eagles were hurt by the early foul trouble of Shawn King. He had two fouls four minutes into the game and fouled out with about seven minutes left in the game. The 6-foot-10 player looked tentative while hampered by the fouls and finished with 10 points.
Oral Roberts led 12-10 before Jones hit a 3-pointer with about 12 minutes left in the first half to put A&M on top. After the 3 by Jones, the Aggies scored 10 straight points to take a 22-10 lead.
Texas A&M outscored Oral Roberts 11-2 in the last six minutes of the first half to lead 37-17 at halftime.
Turgeon, in his first year at Texas A&M, is already making fans among the Aggie students after spending $10,000 to buy tickets for them to attend this tournament.
This is the first time the Aggies have appeared in the preseason NIT, since the first year of the event in 1985.
For more coverage of Texas A&M, visit AggieYell.com.