Kirk, Texas A&M pulls away from UC IrvineDec 22, 2007 - 11:03 PM COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Ticker) -- Dominique Kirk gave Texas A&M some momentum heading into halftime and his team did not let up from there.
Kirk buried a pair of 3-pointers in the closing seconds of the first half and the 11th-ranked Aggies cruised afterwards to an 88-66 victory over UC Irvine on Saturday.
It was Texas A&M's 43rd consecutive regular-season home win against a non-conference opponent.
"I knew coming into this game UC Irvine was much better than their record," Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon. "They've been on the road a lot and they've played some pretty good teams.
"We saw a really good Irvine team today. They came out and made some shots early and got their confidence up."
The Aggies (11-1) held a mere 38-34 lead over the Anteaters with time winding down in the first half. But Kirk knocked down a 3-pointer with 41 seconds remaining, then banked in another off an assist from Bryan Davis at the buzzer to send Texas A&M into the locker room ahead, 44-34.
"We run that in practice all the time," said Kirk about the play right before the half. "I think we executed it well and fortunately I got the shot off and it went in."
Trey Harris opened the second half with a jumper to pull UC Irvine (4-7) within single digits of their hosts.
But the Aggies scored the next six points, including a layup and a dunk by freshman DeAndre Jordan, to regain the momentum. The Anteaters would not get within single digits of Texas A&M again.
"Obviously we knew coming in that A&M is one of the more solid clubs in the country," UC Irvine coach Pat Douglass said. "This was a test for us and we were going to try and survive. I was proud of our kids effort."
The Aggies opened a 21-point advantage midway through the second half on a dunk by Chinemelu Elonu to give Texas A&M a 74-53 lead.
Kirk finished with 14 points and shot 4-of-6 on 3-pointers. Donald Sloan also added 14 points with a pair of 3-pointers.
Jordan had 12 points and Derrick Roland chipped in with 11. Josh Carter and Joseph Jones each added 10 points to round out six Aggie players in double figures.
"Our post guys did a good job of recognizing when they had a chance to score, and when they got double-teamed, throwing it out," Turgeon said. "Our guards did a nice job of hitting shots."
The Aggies shot 63 percent (34-for-64) from the field and they held the Anteaters to just 44 percent (24-of-54) shooting.
Darren Fells led all scorers with 19 points, and Chad DeCasas was the only other UC Irvine player to reach double digits with 11 points.
"We had no answer for (Darren) Fells early," Turgeon said. "Besides that I thought offensively we played about as well as we've played for 40 minutes. We did a lot of very good things."
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
UC IRVINE 34 32 66
TEXAS A&M (11) 44 44 88 FINAL
Dec 22 3:51 PM
- NCAA BB
UC IRVINE 34
(11) TEXAS A&M 44 HALFTIME
Dec 22 2:50 PM
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