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December 2, 2007TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Jerryd Bayless scored a season-high 26 points, and Arizona rallied from a 20-point first-half deficit to defeat No. 9 Texas A&M 78-67 on Sunday, handing the Aggies their first loss.
Bayless, a freshman from Phoenix, has led Arizona in scoring in four of his first seven college games. He also had six assists and one turnover in 37 minutes.
Chase Budinger added 19 points and Jordan Hill had 13 for the Wildcats (5-2), who won for only the second time in their last eight home games against major-conference opponents.
Trailing 60-59 with 6 minutes to play, the Wildcats scored 12 of the next 16 points to take command. The Aggies scored one basket in the final 4:10.
Josh Carter scored 17 points and Joseph Jones had 13 for Texas A&M (7-1).
The Wildcats took a quick 5-2 lead but then went more than six minutes until their next field goal. The Aggies went on a 17-1 run during that stretch to take a 19-6 lead midway through the half.
Texas A&M stretched its lead to 32-12 before Bayless began to assert himself. He scored seven straight points to spark 16-6 run and cut the Aggies' lead to 40-28 at halftime.
Bayless scored the first four points after intermission on a pair of free throws and a fallaway jumper as the Wildcats pulled within 40-32.
Midway through the second half, Arizona took a 51-47 lead on an 11-0 run capped by 3-pointers from Jawann McClellan and Budinger.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats turned up their defensive effort. After letting Texas A&M shoot 60 percent from the floor in the first half, Arizona limited the Aggies to 34.5 percent (10-for-29) after intermission.
It was Arizona's seventh game under interim coach Kevin O'Neill, who replaced Lute Olson when the Hall of Famer went on a personal leave of absence on Nov. 4. Olson has attended practices, but his return to the sideline is not known.
The victory came seven days after Arizona lost in overtime at then-No. 4 Kansas.