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March 10, 2006

A&M crushes Colorado

Box score

DALLAS - Texas A&M finally got to play a Friday game in the Big 12 tournament. The Aggies will get to stick around and find out what it's like playing on the weekend.

Joseph Jones had 21 points and Josh Carter 15, including four of Texas A&M's season-high 12 3-pointers, and the Aggies won in the Big 12 tournament for the first time, beating Colorado 86-53 in the quarterfinals.

The Aggies (21-7), who have won a league-high eight straight games, play No. 8 Texas (26-5) in the semifinals Saturday. That comes 10 days after Acie Law hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer in a 46-43 victory over the Longhorns.

In what might have been an NCAA elimination game, Colorado (20-9) was only 18-of-60 shooting and was never in the game after jumping out to a quick 9-2 lead. The Buffaloes will have to wait until Sunday to find out if they go to the NCAAs for first time since 2003, and third time in 10 1/2 seasons under coach Ricardo Patton.

Jayson Obazuaye and Richard Roby had 12 points each for Colorado. Roby, a sophomore and an All-Big 12 pick, was a season-worst 3-of-18 shooting.

Texas A&M had never played on the second day of the Big 12 tournament, having lost in the first round nine straight years before getting a first-round bye as the No. 4 seed this year.

With the way the game began, it looked as if the Aggies might extend their dubious postseason streak. Then they started hitting long-range shots.

The Aggies trailed until Carter's first 3-pointer made it 13-11 with 10:46 left in the first half. They never trailed again and went on to their biggest margin of victory in a postseason game.

After Roby missed, Carter made another 3-pointer while being fouled and added the free throw.

Even when Colorado extended its defensive pressure beyond the arc, and the shot clock was running down, Law made a long 3-pointer. The shot clock was nearing zero again on the next possession when Dominique Kirk hit, pushing the Aggies ahead 23-13.

Those four 3-pointers were part of a 23-2 spurt that ended when Jones made a tough baseline jumper while being fouled. He missed the free throw, but it was still 29-13 with 5 minutes left.

Jones didn't have any of the 3-pointers, but was 8-of-10 shooting.

The Aggies led 38-24 at halftime, then opened the second half with Jones making a layup and then a free throw after being fouled. Colorado never got closer than 14 points after that, and trailed by at least 20 the final 12 minutes after Carter hit another 3-pointer to make it 53-33.

Since a five-game winning streak to end January, when they were 15-3, the Buffaloes have since gone 5-6. All the losses were on the road, and five were by double figures.

After Colorado struggled to beat 12th-seeded Baylor 65-61 in the opening round Thursday, Chris Copeland had a 3-pointer and a layup in the opening 9-2 spurt against Texas A&M. The team's second-leading scorer behind Roy didn't score again, missing his last nine shots.

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