Donald Sloan scored 23 points and Bryan Davis had a key three-point play win a minute to play as No. 23 Texas A&M held off an upset-minded Nebraska, 70-64, in a Big 12 tournament quarterfinal on Thursday afternoon in Kansas City.
Nebraska, trying to become the first No. 12 seed to win two Big 12 tourney games, trailed the entire game but got close in the final minutes before Sloan and Khris Middleton hit big shots to seal an Aggie victory.
Texas A&M jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first four minutes of play.
The Aggies extended their lead to eleven, 24-13, when Sloan hit a jumper at the 8:48 mark in the first half.
Nebraska pulled back to within five, 33-28, with a minute to play in teh first half before the Aggies scored four to take a 37-28 halftime lead.
The Aggies scored the first seven points of the second half to open up a sixteen point lead, 44-28.
Nebraska fought back with a 19-5 run to pull within two, 49-47, when Ryan Anderson hit a 3-pointer with 9:05 left in the second half.
A Brian Diaz jumper made it a one-point game, 54-53, with 4:24 to go in the game.
Sloan hit a key 3-pointer at the four-minute mark to give the Aggies a four point lead, 57-53.
"I was in the flow of the game knowing we needed something big," Sloan said. "It feels good when you make it, but had I missed -- totally different story."
Nebraska coach Doc Sadler agreed it was a clutch shot.
"He stepped up and made that play," he said. "You've got to give him credit. Was it big? It was huge. But he made the shot."
After Anderson hit a jumper to pull Nebraska back to within two, Khris Middleton connected on a three to give A&M a 60-55 lead with under three minutes to play.
Aggie coach mark Turgeon said of Sloan's and Middle's clutch three-pointers, "Sloan hit a big 3, just a huge 3. And Khris hit a big 3 also. We really executed against the zone late."
Another Sloan jumper extended A&M's lead to a more comfortable seven, 62-55, with two minutes left.
Nebraska cut the lead to 62-58 with 1:35 left on Sek Henry's 3-pointer, but Bryan Davis managed to get behind the Nebraska defense for a layup, was fouled by Diaz and made the free throw to restore A&M's seven point lead, 65-58.
From that point Nebraska never got closer than four as the Aggies cruised to a 70-64 win.
In addition to Sloan's 23 points, Middleton scored 17 and B.J. Holmes 11 for the fourth-seeded Aggies.
Ryan Anderson had 16 points for the Huskers, Diaz 14 and Sek 13.
In Friday's Big 12 semifinal, Texas A&M (23-8) gets a rematch with No. 1 Kansas, which beat them last month 59-54.
The Aggies, now assured of a school-record fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance, are playing for pride and a higher seeding in the NCAA tourney..
Nebraska (15-18) upset No. 5 seed Missouri in the first round, but with Friday's loss to the Aggies will miss the NCAA tournament for the 12th straight season.