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Aggies Drop Home Finale to K-State, 76-70

February 28, 2012
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
COLLEGE STATION--Elston Turner scored a team-high 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting, but Texas A&M fell just short in a 76-70 loss to Kansas State Tuesday night at Reed Arena.

Rodney McGruder scored 26 points with five 3-pointers to lead Kansas State (20-9, 9-8 Big 12).

Texas A&M (13-16, 4-13) used a 6-0 run, capped by a jump shot by Dash Harris, to cut Kansas State's lead to 66-63 with about 3 minutes left.

McGruder responded with a 3-pointer before a layup by Harris on the other end. A put-back dunk by Jordan Henriquez and a pair of free throws by Angel Rodriguez stretched the lead to 73-65 with less than a minute remaining.

David Loubeau added 13 for the Aggies, while Ray Turner scored 12 and Harris 11.

K-State took a 44-33 lead into the locker room, connecting on 8-of-9 three pointers in the first half. The Wildcats finished the night 12-of-17 from behind the arc.


- The senior class of Dash Harris, David Loubeau, Alex Baird and Zach Kinsley played its final home game at Reed Arena ... the group wrapped their home careers with 57 victories at Reed ... they have totaled 85 career victories overall to rank fifth all-time among senior classes at Texas A&M.

- David Loubeau played in his 130th game all-time at A&M, tying him for sixth all-time on the school's career charts with B.J. Holmes ... Loubeau also appeared in his 65th conference game, a school record.

- Elston Turner connected on four three-pointers, giving him 65 for the season ... that number ranks eighth on the school's all-time single-season charts.

- Turner has hit 42 treys in Big 12 play, the second-most in a conference season in school history ... he trails only Bernard King (48 in 2000).

- Dash Harris had 5 assists to pass Tony Milton (1988-90) and Donald Sloan (2006-10) into seventh place on the school's all-time career charts (371 total).

- Harris posted 5 steals, a season high ... it gives him 138 for his career, passing Freddie Ricks (1987-91) into eighth-place all-time at Texas A&M (138 total).

- Tuesday's home finale crowd of 5,461 gave A&M a season total of 132,900 fans at Reed Arena (7,383 average in 18 games).



Opening statement

I thought our guys fought hard besides the first three or four minutes of the game. I was proud of our seniors Dash and David and Kinsley, I thought they played as hard as they can. Unfortunately in this game you have to be productive. When you have opportunities to score, you have to score. I thought McGruder and Samuels took over the game. Kansas State shot the ball well. You have to give those guys credit.

On the shooting of both teams

They've been struggling shooting the ball. When you guard the dribble you have to help so much and it leaves guys open. They got some open looks in the first half. Unfortunately when we got good looks, we didn't produce. We battled and fought hard, but we weren't productive enough.

On Elston missing three free throws and Kansas State hitting a three right after.

Big swing. I thought that swing was big, and in the first half it was 24-23 and we got a steal and missed the layup. You can't do that on this level. We played hard, but you can't cheat the game.

Was that missed layup kind of like the whole season has been?

Yeah, it's kind of been like that. I've got a lot of breaks and been blessed a lot of years. But this year, I think we haven't gotten a lot of breaks. It's gone that way for us this year. But if you keep fighting and continue to recruit well, it'll get better.


On having many opportunities in the game

Yeah, we did have a lot of opportunities. We were just talking about it in the locker room, it went all the way back to the first half. We missed some chippies, and we thought for a while they just hit some big shots down the stretch.

How do you get back up for Saturday?

Just know that it's the last game of conference. We want to build some momentum going into the Big 12 tournament knowing we'll play Oklahoma in the first round. Our guys are tough. And after Saturday, it's a new season. We can go into the Big 12 tournament and change everything.


How much did you want this one for Senior Night?

Both me and Dash wanted it. It's the way you end your career, and you hate to end it on a loss, but you have to just keep fighting and make a big run in the tournament.


On working well with Khris Middleton when you've not worked together as well

We haven't really talked about it, we've just been playing. I think it has a lot to do with two things: us trying to mesh together and hitting shots. Tonight, I was just hitting shots.

On strange things happening and not being able to capitalize.

Yeah, I was just talking about this game it seemed like we did things that seemed like never happen. Dash missed a layup, I missed three free throws. And in a key situation, you have to take advantage of those to win games.

Did you not guard the outside shot as much because they have been struggling from three?

Our game plan was to guard inside out and make them make contested shots. They hit 12 threes tonight. When any team hits 12 threes, it's going to be tough to beat them. We had a lot of open looks, and second half we did a better job of contesting threes but they already got into their groove.



What did those three-point shots help you with?

Winning. We lost our share of games because we can't make it. I thought our spacing was good, I thought guys didn't hold the ball. When you don't make shots, people usually think it's about shooting. 90 percent of the time, it's about passing. We have guys that can make shots, we just have to a better job of passing the ball and spacing.

Was that three by Rodney what you wanted?

At the Iowa State game I was extremely frustrated, because every call we said run this, and not once did we come out and execute. We came out of that timeout and got exactly what we wanted.

On A&M's run, what you did to come back defensively

I thought it was the WWE for a little while. We punched them, they lay down on the ropes, they punch us, we lay down. We've matured as a team, we were able to manage that moment and not lose our composure. Rodney had a lot more to do with that than me. We were able to deal with that and then stay the course defensively.

How pleased were you with Jamar?

He's been great all year. You can't play good at the end of the year if you've been bad all year. He's worked so hard all year to put himself in the moment that he reacted with a bad day yesterday with a good shoot around today and that translated today.

On winning on the road, but not being able to win at home

How crazy is that huh? That we've been real good at home the last 5 years, been mixed on the road and this year we can't win at home. With a young team and a team that's had its difficult moments, you can't look to deep into it. We could have very easily won 7 road games-- that's how close they've been. We're right there, and losing at home is not something we like. And we get one more opportunity to get that taste out of our mouth.


Did hitting those first two threes help you get going?

It did help me get it going. To see the rim and see it go in, it helps any shooter. You see the firs two shooters, it gives you a little confidence.

Does hitting shots help you have a margin for error?

You still can't make that many errors. Even though you're hitting shots, you're going to miss at some point. You have to capitalize on defense and take advantage.

On leading with his composure

Coach called the play and I was ready. I knew if I had any space or room I was going to shoot the ball. I just told my teammates that basketball is a game of runs, everyone goes on runs. We just have to stay the course and play.

How good has Jamar Samuels been?

Excellent. He's more prepared and focused. He knows his time is running short, so he's doing whatever he can do to help his team.

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