for this game

Late run pushes Texas A&M past Washington

Nov 22, 2007 - 4:40 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) - It was a bad night for junior Josh Carter and an awful performance by 15th-ranked Texas A&M at the foul line. Other than that, the Aggies did enough to win.

Despite getting five points from Carter and missing 18 foul shots, Texas A&M managed to advance to the finals of the NIT Season Tip-Off with a 77-63 victory over Washington on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

The Aggies will face Ohio State, a 79-65 winner over Syracuse, in Friday's championship game.

A&M advanced despite leading scorer Carter shooting 2-of-11 and will also play for the title after going 22-of-40 from the line.

"We make it hard on ourself," Aggies coach Mark Turgeon said. "We miss a lot of free throws. We had a lot of turnovers but we were still good enough to overcome it."

Texas A&M was 18-of-29 from the line in the second but did make 15 of its final 20 foul shots. The Aggies also committed just five of their 17 turnovers and shot 48 percent in the second half.

"We didn't shoot them very well," Aggies forward Joseph Jones said. "But once we got settled in and started concentrating a little more, we started knocking them down."

The poor foul shooting marked a season-low for Texas A&M, which has yet to shoot above 67 percent from the line this season.

While Carter faltered, others stepped up for first-year coach Turgeon, who had seen the junior forward average 16 points and make 12-of-23 3-pointers in the first four games.

"Josh I think he had some open shots in the second half, he just didn't follow his weight sometimes," A&M guard Dominique Kirk said. "But usually Josh always hit it. He had open looks. They didn't fall his way tonight but we're going to keep giving them to him. He's going to keep taking them and eventually they're going to in."

Sophomore Donald Sloan led the Aggies with a career-high 18 points, while Jones added 17 points despite missing five foul shots.

A starter for the first time in his career, Sloan enjoyed his finest game with the Aggies. He had shot only 8-of-27 in his first four contests but was 6-of-10 Wednesday.

"I really just had the mind-set from my hitting them, just when I hit one, just keep playing to get out of the slump," Sloan said. "I'm glad he kept me in basically. It was hard."

Kirk chipped in 15 and highly touted freshman DeAndre Jordan collected 10 rebounds, but missed a double-double because he was 0-of-6 from the line. Jordan had nine of his boards in the shaky first half and also helped the Aggies to a 48-39 advantage.

Sloan, who did not start a game as a freshman, hit a 3-pointer with 7:34 remaining that gave the Aggies a 54-51 lead.

That was short-lived when Joe Wolfinger hit a 3-pointer on the next possession, but the Aggies pulled away with a 12-2 run to take a 66-56 lead with just under two minutes to play in the contest.

Senior Jon Brockman collected 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Huskies. It was his second double-double and 21st career but most of it came during the first half when Washington opened a 36-32 lead at the break.

Brockman took just three shots in the final 7:57 as Jones and the rest of the Aggies held Washington to 12 points over the final eight minutes and limited them to 1-of-10 from the floor down the stretch.

"I think they did a little bit better job of making contact in the post and them bringing in that second guy on the double," Brockman said. "Also, just as a team, they did a better job of picking us up in transition and cutting that off."

"We went inside to Johnny (Brockman) and he scored and he got some blocked," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. "Then we began to miss from the perimeter and we came up short. That's a good basketball team."

The stingy defense by Jones and his teammates also kept the Huskies away from the basket and limited them to 2-of-13 from 3-point range, including a 2-of-10 showing in the second.

"Coach just said to get involved," Jones said. "He made a switch and I tried to do the best job I can. He's a great player and guarding him down low, I just tried to do the best job I could do."