for this game

Sloan, Texas A&M rally past Missouri

Feb 10, 2008 - 12:23 AM COLUMBIA, Missouri (Ticker) -- Donald Sloan and Texas A&M extended their winning streak and avoided becoming Missouri's latest upset victim.

Sloan scored a career-high 21 points Saturday afternoon as the 18th-ranked Aggies rallied for a 77-69 Big 12 Conference triumph over shorthanded Missouri.

It was the fifth consecutive victory for Texas A&M (20-4, 6-3 Big 12), which trailed at halftime and was in danger of becoming the latest ranked team to lose at Mizzou Arena.

"We were disappointed in our performance in the first half," Aggies coach Mark Turgeon. "I told the guys at halftime that we haven't played well and we are only down five, we should feel pretty good about ourselves."

Turgeon spoke of the challenge his team faced here.

"I was a nervous wreck," he said of his state of mind prior to the game.

"And maybe that is why our kids played the way that they did in the first 20 minutes. I was really concerned. I know what their fans are like. We practiced real hard this week to prepare for this game, a little harder than we should have, and maybe that is why we came out kind of sluggish."

But after shooting just 39 percent (11-of-28) in the first half, the Aggies opened the second stanza with a 19-2 run to take a 44-32 lead and win for just the second time in their last seven trips here.

Freshman DeAndre Jordan scored six of his eight points during the pivotal six-minute run and capped the spurt with a thunderous dunk. Josh Carter drilled a 3-pointer two minutes into the second half to give the Aggies a 31-30 advantage - a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.

The second half was a huge turnaround as Texas A&M shot 56 percent (14-of-25) from the floor.

"We talk a lot about starting and finishing halves," Turgeon said. "I wasn't happy with the way we finished in the last minute of the first half. But we started the second half great, a lot of guys played well in that stretch. We only had one guy play well in the first half, but all of our guys played well in the second."

Missouri, which already had ousted Texas and Kansas State here this season, clawed to within seven in the final minute. But Sloan scored nine points over the game's final 72 seconds, making seven free throws over that stretch.

"It was a tough day," Missouri coach Mike Anderson. "I thought it was a tale of two halves. Our last game here was a tale of two halves. I've always said that the half you want to win is that second half. And today it was Texas A&M. They dictated the tempo (of the entire game)."

"In the first half. ... at the end there we had great energy," said Tigers freshman forward Justin Safford, who had 10 points. "I think coming out in the second half we just came out flat. There was no energy in the first five minutes (of the second half) and it allowed (Texas A&M) to get back into their game and do what they wanted to do."

Carter finished with 14 points and Bryan Davis chipped in 14 and 11 rebounds for Texas A&M, which clinched its fourth straight season with at least 20 wins.

Conversely, Missouri (13-11, 3-6) struggled in the wake of the program's latest off-court incident.

The Tigers, who have lost five of their last seven games, were without leading scorer Stefhon Hannah, who was arrested for third-degree misdemeanor assault Friday night.

One of several players involved in a nightclub altercation on January 27, Hannah - who suffered a broken jaw during the incident - was not on the Tigers' bench Saturday.

The pesky Tigers opened a 30-25 halftime lead but could not slow down the Aggies in the second half and fell to 1-3 since the nightclub fight.

Leo Lyons, who had a one-game suspension stemming from the altercation, scored a career-high 24 points off the bench to pace Missouri.

Lyons was a big reason the Tigers' bench held a 43-16 edge in points over the Aggies' reserves.

"I thought there was a sense of urgency (in the last five minutes)," Anderson said. "He saw some things he could exploit. I thought he could have done those things in the first half, but he hid at times. He's a hard matchup, but I want him to be a hard matchup the entire game."