Winning on the road in the Big 12 was supposedly an impossible ordeal.
After all, league teams lost a total of just once at home against nonconference opposition, going 106-1.
But Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon, when pressed on the matter, said some teams tend to lose that edge once losses mount and their confidence wavers.
It's a reason why the Aggies have won three straight road games. The latest was a 60-56 win at Iowa State on Feb. 20. It came after A&M also won at Missouri and at Texas Tech, though the collective margin of defeat in the three outcomes was a mere nine points.
At 19-7 overall and 8-4 in the Big 12, the Aggies are tied for third with Missouri and remain in the hunt for a first-round bye in the conference tournament. They'll also remain in the polls, where they stood 24th going into the game at Iowa State.
A&M is not flawless by any means. It survived 39.6 percent shooting accuracy to nip the equally cold Cyclones. In addition, the Aggies managed just eight assists while turning it over 13 times. Yet defensively, they're a team that won't back down and has learned how to get it done on that end of the floor, even without one of the league's best stoppers, injured guard Derrick Roland.
"If you would have told me we'd be 8-4 after (Roland) went down, and some of the things that have happened to us, I would have said I'd take it," Turgeon said. "With that said, you never know when your next win is coming in this league. So we've got to get better."
--Getting to the free throw line is critical for most teams. The same is true of Texas A&M. In its four Big 12 defeats, the Aggies shot 10 free throws in the final five minutes, while opponents shot 27. While A&M settled for long jumpers down the stretch against Kansas, the Jayhawks made 7 of 10 free throws in the final five minutes. With the Aggies shooting just 44.1 percent on average, they've thrived by shooting more free throws (720) than all but one Big 12 rival, Kansas State (805).
--Although Texas A&M is tied for third in the Big 12 with an 8-4 record, it shares the 10th-place mark with Iowa State for scoring offense with a 72.1-point average. The Aggies rank 11th in the league in shooting accuracy at 44.1 percent and last from 3-point range at 31.7 percent.
ON THE SPOT: F David Loubeau continues to sparkle following his promotion to the starting lineup. He scored a game-high 17 points in a Feb. 15 loss against Kansas, the fifth time in six games he scored in double figures. He scored nine points at Iowa State, but made 4 of 7 shots, not bad considering the Aggies shot just 39.6 percent as a team.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We weren't attacking (against Kansas) and being as physical on offense and defense as we were early in the game. We have to stay in attack mode and do what is working for us." -- Texas A&M G Dash Harris.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: With three straight road wins, Texas A&M is keeping pace in the chase for second place behind Kansas in the Big 12. The Aggies' defense was good enough to upset the Jayhawks, but the inability to convert late on the offensive end caused A&M to lose control. Still, with the exception of Kansas, the Aggies are playing as well defensively as any Big 12 team in league play, allowing just 67.4 points while starting 8-4.
Texas A&M 67, Texas Tech 65.
Kansas 59, Texas A&M 54.
Texas A&M 60, Iowa State 56.
at Baylor, Wednesday, Feb. 24.
vs. Texas, Saturday, Feb. 27.
vs. Oklahoma State, Wednesday, March 3.
at Oklahoma, Saturday, March 6.
at Big 12 Tournament, March 10-13.
IN FOCUS: Texas A&M carries a three-game road winning streak into Baylor, a team the Aggies defeated 78-71 on Feb. 6 in College Station. Battling the Bears underneath is difficult, though they've struggled some in conference play, averaging 36.7 boards to rank seventh in the Big 12. A&M ranks fifth (37.2) in rebounding during league play. The Aggies have won five straight at home in the series against Texas.
--G Donald Sloan was icy at Iowa State, going just 4 of 16 from the field while missing all five 3-pointers he attempted. He still scored 12 points, but has managed 20 or more in five Big 12 games.
--F Bryan Davis finished with double-figure rebounds four times in the last five games, including 13 boards at Iowa State. He also shared team-high honors with three assists.
--F Khris Middleton, a freshman, led the Aggies with 14 points at Iowa State.