Tigers' streak at home ends

Thursday, February 4, 2010
Missouri's Kim English, left, walks off the court as the Texas A&M team celebrates after Texas A&M's 77-74 victory Wednesday in Columbia, Mo. (L.G. PATTERSON ~ Associated Press)

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Texas A&M found a way to win on the road and at one of the toughest places to play in the Big 12, too.

David Loubeau scored all but five of his 17 points in the second half, and the Aggies held Missouri without a basket for nearly 11 minutes of the second half, ending the Tigers' 32-game homecourt winning streak with a 77-74 victory Wednesday night.

"We did what we had to do," coach Mark Turgeon said. "I'm really proud of my group to break this streak."

Donald Sloan had 17 points and eight rebounds and Khris Middleton had 16 points for the Aggies (16-6, 5-3 Big 12), who had been 1-4 on the road this season. Missouri coach Mike Anderson is 0-4 against Texas A&M, the only Big 12 school he has not defeated.

"We hope it continues a few more years," Turgeon said. "Mike's beat a lot of people, and he'll probably beat A&M soon."

Kim English had 15 points and Laurence Bowers added 11 points and 10 rebounds for Missouri (16-6, 4-3), which lost at home for the first time since Feb. 26, 2008 against Oklahoma State. The winning streak was halted two shy of the school record from 1988 to 1990 at the old Hearnes Center.

Missouri had been 13-0 at home this year, winning by an average of 28 points. The streak was tied with Siena for the second-longest in the nation behind Kansas' 54-game run.

A 20-3 run by Texas A&M turned a 55-46 deficit into a 66-58 lead with 2:15 to play. Marcus Denmon's 3-pointer made it 55-46 with 12:43 to go and Missouri's next basket came from J.T. Tiller in the lane with 1:55 to go.

"We put ourselves behind the 8 ball," Anderson said.

"We got away from what got us the lead. We took some hurried-up shots that got us out of rhythm."

Missouri players said they were perhaps too relaxed earlier in the half.

"Sometimes you play to play instead of playing to win," guard Zaire Taylor said. "I think we were a victim of that a little bit today. I guess that's the best way to put it."

Meanwhile, Texas A&M picked up the intensity.

"I thought our team defense got a lot better," Sloan said. "We just found ways to get stops. We did a pretty good job, and it showed at the end."

A big play just before Denmon's 3-pointer might have sparked the run. B.J. Holmes beat a coasting Zaire Taylor to the rebound after a missed layup on the fastbreak and passed to Sloan for an easy layup.

"That just let everybody know we weren't going to go away," Turgeon said. "We just kept telling the guys the way Missouri plays, we can get back in the game, and we did."

Missouri cut the deficit to one on a 3-pointer by English with 12.4 seconds to play and had a chance to force overtime, but Tiller's 3-point attempt hit off the front of the rim with 3 seconds to go. English was supposed to get the final shot but couldn't get open.

"When a play breaks down you've got to have a contingency plan," Tiller said. "It was a good look. It just wouldn't fall."

Texas A&M prevailed despite committing a season-high 21 turnovers and going 19 for 36 (53 percent) at the free-throw line. An overwhelming 44-26 rebounding advantage, including 16 offensive boards, balanced out those numbers.

Loubeau had six offensive rebounds for Texas A&M. Justin Safford and Keith Ramsey, Missouri's starting forwards, totaled one rebound apiece.

"I'm very disappointed," Anderson said. "For those two guys to play 48 minutes and get two rebounds between them, that's unacceptable. We have to get more of the blue-collar things."

Missouri appeared to take control at the start of the second half, outscoring Texas A&M 12-3 to grab its first double-digit lead at 49-39. The Tigers barely avoided trailing at halftime at home for the first time this season, taking their first lead at 37-36 on two free throws in the final minute by backup Steve Moore.

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