January 5, 2009

A&M overcomes North Dakota, 76-62

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Four Aggies scored in double figures and junior center Chinemelu Elonu had his fourth double-double of the season in leading Texas A&M to its 10th consecutive win Monday at Reed Arena, but head coach Mark Turgeon isn't anywhere near happy as his Aggies wrapped up their non-conference schedule with a 76-62 win over North Dakota.

The Aggies (14-1) never trailed the Fighting Sioux (8-6) throughout and led by as much as 18 points in the second half, but A&M replicated what has been seen all season by allowing North Dakota back into the game time after time Monday evening. Three times the Aggies reached at least a 14-point lead, but UND was able to make a comeback every time. The lack of a killer instinct has been and continues to be a frustrating concern for Turgeon as the Aggies head into Big 12 conference play.

"We've been talking about that for about six weeks haven't we?" Turgeon said. "It's a killer instinct and a consistency among each other, the inconsistency from game to game, practice to practice, substitution to substitution among the players. That's got to improve. The Big 12 starts and I think that's going to help. Maybe they'll concentrate a little bit better."

A&M seemed to finally start applying their boot to eh necks of the Fighting Sioux in the first half as the Aggies worked up an 11-point lead with 12:32 left in the game, which was cut to six less than four minutes later. But A&M was able to work up a 15-point lead over the next four minutes that seemed to put UND away.

But North Dakota pulled out a 9-2 run over the rest of the half to pull within six once again at halftime, holding A&M's lead to just 33-26.

It's that type of play that has been indicative of the Aggies throughout the season. Despite a schedule ranked in the bottom half of the NCAA, the Aggies haven't been able to blow out opponents. Instead, A&M has played to its opponent's level, digging deep for wins on the road at Alabama, on a neutral court against LSU and at home against Arizona, but skating through against teams with losing records that are usual fodder for teams of A&M's stature.

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