Aggies Blow by Sooners in Conference Opener

NORMAN, Okla. — For the second straight year, the Sooners dropped their conference opener, as the Texas A&M Aggies stormed in and smothered them 69-51 in front of 7,527 Saturday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center.

"First of all, congrats to A&M," said OU head coach Jeff Capel. "They're a good team, very well coached, mature, very good leadership on the floor. They have a group that seems like they're all about winning."

That was the case from the very beginning, when Aggie forward David Loubeau hit a layup just 13 seconds in to put the pressure on a Sooner team that was forced to battle back throughout the contest.

"The majority of the game we were playing catch-up, just really trying to fight and play as hard as we could, trying to catch up," said forward Andrew Fitzgerald. "But when you're down to a team like that it's hard to catch up."

A&M sprinted out to a 17-6 advantage in the first 8:32 and led by as much as 13 in the first half.

The Aggies took a healthy eight-point lead into intermission at 36-28, although OU used a 6-0 spurt in the closing minutes of the first to trail as few as seven in that span.

"I was really disappointed with the way we finished the half," said A&M head coach Mark Turgeon. "We gave up two three point plays in a row and went from 13 down to seven pretty quick. Khris [Middleton] missed a front end of a one-and-one, and Ray [Turner] was 1-of-2 from the line, so we didn't finish the half the way I was hoping we would."

But after surrendering the first points of the second half, they were strong the rest of the way.

The Sooners couldn't get any type of flow going offensively, shooting only 34.8 percent in the second half, and the Aggies capitalized off that.

"It was a little bit of both [poor shooting and their defense]," Capel said. "Some of that credit goes to Texas A&M. They took us out of some stuff. They knew the stuff that we were running, were jumping plays and stuff. But still, we didn't screen, we weren't as effective screening as we need to be in order for our offense to be effective. We were just kind of rolling around out there instead of putting bodies on people."

Guard Cade Davis emphasized the same thing.

"We just didn't execute," Davis said. "Our screening was off. I think part of that was our defense. We lacked on defense, we weren't getting rebounds and we weren't getting out and pushing it in transition. They were making their shots and executing and they were running on us and getting layups, so that takes us out of what we're wanting to do a little bit. We were slow getting into the offensive flow."

Because of that, by the 11:24 mark, the A&M lead was up to 14, and in the next four minutes, it swelled to 20, when the visitors led 60-40.

It was all over at that point, and the Aggies coasted in.

Fitzgerald led all scorers in the contest with 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting from the field.

Guard Cade Davis also finished in double figures at 13.

The Aggies were led by Middleton, who scored 16 points on a near-perfect afternoon, converting 6-of-7 shots.

Guards Naji Hibbert and B.J. Holmes scored in doubles as well, with 14 and 13, respectively.

Holmes was particularly effective against the Sooner defensive, also distributing five dimes without a single turnover.

"I try to be aggressive in all areas of the court and not just shooting," Holmes said. "If I see an open lane, I try and take advantage of it."

With the loss, OU drops to 8-7 on the year and 0-1 in Big 12 play.

A&M improves to 14-1 and 1-0 in the conference.

The Sooners now hit the road for an 8 p.m. Tuesday matchup with Baylor in Waco, Texas, while the Aggies return home to face Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Other postgame analysis:

Report Card:

OU head coach Jeff Capel's Postgame Press Conference:

Sooner Player Postgame Interviews:

A&M head coach Mark Turgeon's Postgame Press Conference:

A&M Player Postgame Interviews:

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