A&M edges St. Johns, 58-57
Published: Sunday, November 20, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
Junior guard Elston Turner's 12-foot jumper with 6 seconds left in regulation gave the No. 18 Aggies a 58-57 win against St. John's and a third-place finish in the 2K Sports Classic on Friday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
"Well, the play didn't really go as planned," Turner said. "I tried to get [junior forward] Ray [Turner] to come up and set a screen but they forced me away from it, which gave me an open lane to it. And as soon as he did that I was like, 'I have to make this shot', especially because I feel I could have played a lot better tonight. I wasn't going to let my team down."
Turner scored eight points on the night and his game-winner was his only field goal of the second half. After falling 69-60 to Mississippi State the night before, the Aggies needed the win to avoid returning to Aggieland as the only tournament team to lose every game.
Ray Turner put up a two-point, four-rebound stink bomb against Mississippi State. He responded in a big way against the Red Storm, leading all scorers with 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
"The guys stayed on me about keeping my head up and trying to stay focused," Turner said. "They told me to keep my head up and focus on the next game, and that day was behind us. And that's what I did."
A&M scored 38 points in paint compared to 18 by St. John's. Ray Turner hit double-figures in scoring for the third time in four games this year, and sophomore forward Kourtney Roberson pulled down a career-high 11 boards.
"Our guys fought hard and have been through some adverse situations over the last month and a half," Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said. "We found a way to get it done."
A&M built a steady lead in the first half and led the Red Storm by 11 with 7:53 in the first. But St. John's fought back to a 32-30 deficit at the half, thanks in large part to the charity stripe. St. John's visited the free throw line 38 times on the night while the Aggies mustered only three trips.
"I don't think I've ever played in a game like that, 38 to 3," Turner said. "The whole game, especially the second half, we were just talking about the free throw advantage they had and we just kept fighting and fighting and we came away with a win."
ElstonTurner's jumper with 6 seconds left gave St. John's ample time to go for the win. Nurideen Lindsay took the ball in and was fouled by Ray Turner, giving the guard two free throws with 2.8 seconds left and his team trailing by one. But the freshman was unable to connect on either shot, coming up short on the first attempt and clanking the back rim on the second.
"We obviously got to the line a lot," freshman guard D'Angelo Harrison said. "You can't just blame Nuri [Nurideen Lindsey], everybody missed free throws, more than at least two. At least two or three. Hey, I missed two free throws, so I feel like I lost the game."
St. John's head coach Steve Lavin hopes that his young team's jitters will subside before Big East conference play starts.
"The challenge is finding that balance between being patient, because we're young, but also needing to accelerate their learning curve because we're St. John's, and naturally, moral victories is not why we're here," Lavin said.
Kennedy was proud of how his team overcame the free throw discrepancy and found a way to win on the road.
"We're still figuring ourselves out, and it was good to see some resiliency," Kennedy said. "It may be that's how our games will be this year. We struggled scoring, we struggled guarding the ball, and maybe we will have to win ugly games. But we'll take it."