COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Texas A&M knows a five-point home win over the worst team in the Big 12 isn't all that impressive.
But their latest victory got the Aggies to 20 wins for a seventh straight season, and that's what matters to them.
Nathan Walkup scored 19 points and No. 21 Texas A&M held off Iowa State 71-66 on Wednesday night.
The Aggies (20-5, 7-4 Big 12) were up by seven before Iowa State cut the lead to 66-62 on a 3-pointer by Scott Christopherson with 1 1/2 minutes remaining. Texas A&M's Khris Middleton made three free throws in the next minute to push the lead back to seven, and the Aggies held on.
``If you would have told me before the season that this team would have been 20-5 and 7-4, I never would have believed it,' coach Mark Turgeon said. ``This team, even though it's not pretty, figures out a way to win games. It's been a remarkable run to this point. It's not easy this time of year to get wins.'
Walkup, a senior, is proud this team was able to reach 20 wins again.
``You always want to fill the shoes of the people before you,' he said. ``It feels good to keep carrying it on. You don't want to be the streak-buster or the one that ends something like that.'
Before the current streak, the Aggies had reached 20 wins just six times in their history.
The victory was Texas A&M's third straight overall and eighth in a row over the Cyclones.
Iowa State (14-12, 1-10), which was led by Jake Anderson's 18 points, dropped its eighth consecutive game.
``We really fought tonight,' coach Fred Hoiberg said. ``I was very proud of our guys' effort.'
Iowa State erased a 10-point deficit with a 13-2 run capped by a 3-pointer by Diante Garrett to take a 48-47 lead with about 14 minutes remaining. But the Aggies answered with a 10-4 spurt to regain the lead for good. Texas A&M had two 3-pointers in that run, including one from Walkup.
``Our execution was just OK and we just seemed a little flat all night,' Turgeon said. ``We looked really tired. I've got to figure out a way to get us tougher and fresh as we go down the stretch.'
Walkup said the Aggies understood they couldn't underestimate Iowa State, and this was a lesson in playing with the same energy no matter the opponent.
``This was a good win for us,' Walkup said. ``Everybody kind of felt relived that we survived their 11 3s and found a way to win.'
Middleton added 14 points for Texas A&M and David Loubeau and Dash Harris chipped in 11 apiece.
One of the highlights of the night came from Walkup, who brought the crowd to its feet with a one-handed dunk that ended with him falling to the court after he was tripped up and fouled with about 3 minutes left. He missed the free throw, but added two more points when he got an offensive rebound and putback to make it 66-59 a few seconds later.
Iowa State's 15 turnovers were just three more than Texas A&M committed. The difference was that the Aggies scored 20 points off Cyclones miscues, while Iowa State managed just seven off Texas A&M's errors.
``Where this game was lost was in the turnover column,' Hoiberg said. ``You've got to do a better job, especially on the road, of taking care of the ball.'
The Cyclones are in the middle of a brutal stretch with four straight games against ranked teams, just the third time in school history they've faced such a slate. They lost to No. 1 Kansas before playing the Aggies, then face No. 20 Missouri on Saturday and third-ranked Texas on Tuesday.
Freshman Calvin Godfrey returned to the Iowa State lineup after missing the previous three games for violating team rules. He had 11 points but fouled out with about 3 minutes remaining. The return of Godfrey was offset by the absence of Jamie Vanderbeken, who sat out with a sprained left ankle, leaving the Cyclones with just seven scholarship players.
``I think we wore them down in the end,' Turgeon said. ``Those poor guys, they don't have any subs.'
Christopherson made three 3-pointers for his 28th straight game with at least one, setting an Iowa State record. The Cyclones finished with 11 3-pointers.
Iowa State was up by two points with just under 14 minutes remaining in the first half before Texas A&M used a 17-4 run to take a 29-18 lead 4 minutes before halftime. The Cyclones went more than 4 minutes without scoring in that span.
Texas A&M led 35-28 at halftime after Anderson hit a 3 just before the buzzer.
The Aggies wore uniforms with camouflage accents as part of military appreciation night and they gave away free tickets to veterans and active military personnel.
The Associated Press News Service
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