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January 12, 2008
Aggies win eighth straight by 15 or more points
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Texas A&M didn't feel much like celebrating after opening Big 12 play with a convincing win.
The team that prides itself on defense deemed its performance in that area subpar, despite an easy 86-69 win over Colorado on Saturday.
"I don't get on guys very often," coach Mark Turgeon said. "I don't get on them especially after a 17-point win, but they know I was disappointed in their defense today."
Dominique Kirk scored 15 points and freshman DeAndre Jordan added 14 as the 11th-ranked Aggies got their eighth straight win by at least 15 points.
The Aggies were unhappy Colorado shot 62 percent from the field, a figure bolstered by a 77 percent effort in the second half.
"We've still got to get better especially on the defensive end," Kirk said. "Allowing 60-something percent shooting, that's not our style."
"They are really hard to guard," Turgeon added, "but I was disappointed with our defensive focus in the second half."
For the Buffaloes it was another dismal start to conference play as they lost their 11th straight Big 12 opener. Colorado (8-7, 0-1) has won just once in a league opener since the inception of the Big 12.
The only time the Aggies (15-1, 1-0) trailed in this one was when a 3 by Cory Higgins made it 3-0 in the opening minute. They led by 15 points at halftime and had built their lead to 61-42 after a layup by Bryan Davis about eight minutes into the second half.
A dunk by Marcus King-Stockton capped a 12-6 run for Colorado and cut A&M's lead to 67-54. Kirk answered the run with a jump shot and a 3-pointer to put the game out of reach.
Higgins had 15 points for the Buffaloes and Xavier Silas and Richard Roby added 14 apiece.
"What we need to do is learn from this game," Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "Whether we had won or lost we need to grow from this game."
Texas A&M counteracted Colorado's strong shooting by shooting just as well and controlling the boards, finishing with a 24-16 rebound advantage.
Colorado had trouble defending A&M's balanced scoring attack, which featured six players who scored in double figures. Along with Jordan and Kirk, Davis, Josh Carter, Joseph Jones and Donald Sloan all scored at least 10 points.
The rowdy crowd of 12,634 was delighted by several flashy plays from the Aggies. Sloan got a pass low in the lane and made the sidearm layup despite having his back to the basket.
Jordan, who had nine rebounds, thrilled them when he took a fast break pass from Carter and finished with a two-handed slam dunk before pointing at the sold-out student section. He also had a crowd-pleasing, one-handed putback slam in the first half.
"He's pretty special," Turgeon said. "I expect him to do stuff like that."
Those displays are fine, but he'll be more likely to stay on Turgeon's good side with big plays on defense.
"The first half DeAndre was really, really good on defense," Turgeon said. "The second half his defense was nonexistent. He's got to act like a 7-footer for us."
Near the end of the game with the outcome all but decided, a nifty reverse layup by Silas drew a chorus of '`Wow" from some fans.
The Aggies went on an 10-2 run in the first half to take a 13-5 lead. The Buffaloes cut that lead to 16-13 before the Aggies outscored them 20-8 over the next 7 minutes.
Texas A&M led 42-27 at halftime.
The Aggies got a boost from freshman Nathan Walkup in the first half when he made two 3-pointers in 5 minutes.
"In the first half I thought we settled a little bit -- too many 3s," Bzdelik said. "We allowed them to get too many uncontested looks from beyond the arc."