STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Mired at 4-4 in the Big 12 standings in early February, Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon wasn't sure the Aggies would be competitive over the long haul in the conference.
Two weeks and four wins later, Turgeon is a bit more confident in his team. The Aggies' current streak includes three straight road wins, including a 67-66 decision on Saturday at Oklahoma State.
David Loubeau scored 22 points for Texas A&M (21-5, 8-4) and B.J. Holmes hit two key free throws with 15.9 seconds left to give the Aggies the win and allowed them to maintain their hold on third place in the conference behind No. 1 Kansas and No. 3 Texas.
``This group is starting to maximize what we are,' Turgeon said.
``I don't want to say it was pretty ... but it was a heck of a college basketball game.'
The Aggies have won three straight against Oklahoma State (16-10, 4-8) and four of the last five in the series. The loss put a damper on Oklahoma State's already tenuous NCAA tournament hopes, and it won't get easier soon for the Cowboys, who visit No. 1 Kansas on Monday.
Reger Dowell - who didn't even play in two of Oklahoma State's previous three games - scored a career-high 22 points and put the Cowboys up 66-65 with two free throws with 17 seconds left.
``We had no answer for him,' Turgeon said.
But immediately after making those free throws, Dowell fouled Holmes in the backcourt. Dowell said he was trying to slow Holmes and force him to use more time bringing the ball up the court, but ``he kind of used his momentum against me and got the contact and flopped. The ref called it. It was a boneheaded mistake on my part.'
Holmes, a 78 percent free-throw shooter, made both shots to put the Aggies ahead 67-66.
``I'll take it,' Turgeon said. ``...It was just a physical game and B.J. is pretty good at drawing fouls.'
Without a timeout, Dowell looked to penetrate the lane and the Cowboys eventually worked the ball inside to Matt Pilgrim, who appeared ready to shoot when Texas A&M's Dash Harris knocked the ball out of bounds with 2.7 seconds left. On the ensuing play, Dowell inbounded to Pilgrim, who missed a deep shot from the corner as time expired.
``We just kicked ourselves in the foot all night long,' Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. ``It's amazing we had the lead with however many seconds it was to go because we made way too many mistakes tonight to even be in this basketball game.'
Ford said Dowell ``did a lot of good things' and that his late foul ``definitely wasn't what cost us the game. You fight so hard just to get to that point but there were so many more mistakes than just that.'
Oklahoma State suffered only its fifth home loss in 45 games during Ford's three seasons. Two of those losses have come this season, to the Aggies and to Texas.
``It's a huge disappointment,' Oklahoma State guard Keiton Page said. ``We had to win this game. We're at home with our crowd. We're tough to beat here ... so it's disappointing to lose this type of game in our own gym.'
Texas A&M beat the Cowboys by 23 on Jan. 13 but it wasn't so easy for the Aggies in the rematch. Neither team led by more than eight points and the game included 13 lead changes and 14 ties. The Aggies' leading scorer, Khris Middleton, didn't score until 6:35 remained but finished with 12 points, helping keep Oklahoma State at bay in the final minutes.
``Khris was about as bad as he's been for 30 minutes, then he was about as good as he's been,' Turgeon said.
Oklahoma State played most of the second half without leading scorer and rebounder Marshall Moses, who Ford said has been sick for a couple of days. Moses played only seven minutes and went scoreless for the first time this season.
The teams combined for 48 fouls - 26 on Oklahoma State, 22 on Texas A&M. The Aggies finished 27 of 35 from the free-throw line, while Oklahoma State was 23 of 29.
Ford was slapped with a technical less than 5 minutes into the game and Holmes made both free throws to put the Aggies up 11-4. Over the next 7 minutes, the teams combined for one basket and six points.
Three Cowboys - Markel Brown, Jarred Shaw and Roger Franklin - each had three fouls by halftime. Brown received a technical foul after a skirmish with Texas A&M's Nathan Walkup.
Page added 12 points for the Cowboys while Jean-Paul Olukemi had 11. Pilgrim finished with nine points and 11 rebounds as Oklahoma State outrebounded Texas A&M 30-22. Texas A&M entered the game eighth in the nation in rebounding margin.
The Associated Press News Service
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