Oklahoma sets school defensive record in 64-37 rout of Texas A&M
NORMAN, Okla. -- As the minutes ticked off and Texas A&M continued its futile attempts to score, Oklahoma center Longar Longar claimed not to notice.
"We just kept defending," Longar said. "We didn't look at the scoreboard. They struggled some with their shots, but I thought our defense was really good."
It was, in a record-setting sort of way. Longar had 14 points and eight rebounds as Oklahoma held Texas A&M scoreless for more than 16 straight minutes en route to a 64-37 win on Saturday afternoon.
Oklahoma (19-10, 7-7 Big 12 Conference) snapped a two-game losing skid and kept its hopes alive of possibly securing a first-round bye in the upcoming conference tournament. Oklahoma and Texas A&M are tied with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech for fifth in the league standings, one game behind Baylor, which now would receive the final bye.
The Sooners set what is thought to be an NCAA record for the longest time holding an opponent scoreless, since the advent of the shot clock in 1986, by blanking Texas A&M for 16 minutes and 12 seconds. The record entering this season was 13 minutes and 53 seconds, set by Utah State against Idaho on Feb. 15, 2006.
Texas A&M's 10 first-half points set a Big 12 record for the fewest points scored in a half of a conference game and a school record for fewest points in a half in any game. The 10 points also were the fewest allowed by the Sooners in a half since giving up 9 to Coppin State on Dec. 10, 2006.
Oklahoma also set a school record for the fewest points allowed against a Big 12 opponent. The previous record of 41 had come against Colorado on March 7, 1997, and was matched against Baylor on March 6, 2004.
It was the third time in coach Jeff Capel's two seasons at Oklahoma that the Sooners have held an opponent below 40 points. Last season, the Sooners allowed 35 points in a win over Texas Christian and 36 in a win over Norfolk State.
"To hold a team to 10 points in the first half, I hope people talk about it as much as they talked about us scoring 12" in the first half at Nebraska in a 63-45 loss on Wednesday, Capel said. "We heard a lot about that. I thought our defense was very good. I felt we forced them to run their offense a little bit farther out and took away some things.
"Other times we got lucky. They missed some shots, too."
Oklahoma is 26-4 all-time against Texas A&M, but had lost three in a row to the Aggies before Saturday.
Texas A&M (21-8, 7-7) had snapped a three-game losing streak with a 44-point rout of Texas Tech on Wednesday, the Aggies' largest margin of victory in a Big 12 game.
But the Aggies, who entered the game second in the Big 12 in field-goal percentage, made just 13 of 51 shots (25.5 percent) against Oklahoma, including 2 of 16 from 3-point range. The Aggies hadn't shot under 30 percent from the field in a game since shooting 26 percent against Texas on Feb. 16, 2005.
"I am at a loss," Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon said. "I cannot believe the way we played. We committed one mistake after another and didn't play with much intelligence. Some guys had deer-in-the-headlights look. It is too late in the season for that.
"This team has worn me down trying to figure them out."
Josh Carter and DeAndre Jordan led the Aggies with 10 points each.
Oklahoma dominated the boards, posting a 42-28 rebounding advantage over a team that entered the game ranked fifth in Division I in rebounding margin.
Oklahoma's previous two wins, against Texas Tech and Baylor, came in the waning seconds on difficult shots, but the Sooners' defense ensured there would be no drama against the Aggies.
Texas A&M, unranked for the first time all season, led 10-9 after a dunk by Jordan with 12:51 left in the first half, but didn't score again before halftime. The Aggies made just 5 of 27 shots in the half.
Oklahoma had a 5-minute scoring drought of its own, but soon enough, the Sooners began pulling away, scoring the final 19 points of the half to take a 28-10 lead.
The second half didn't start much better for the Aggies, as a 3-pointer by Austin Johnson and a follow shot by Cade Davis pushed Oklahoma's margin to 33-10 with 18:21 left, resulting in a time-out by Turgeon.
"We had some pretty good looks, not great looks, and let our offense affect our defense," Turgeon said.
Bryan Davis' dunk with 16:39 left ended the Aggies' scoreless stretch, but Texas A&M never seriously threatened in the second half. Oklahoma built its lead to as many as 29 points.
"We knew coming into this game that it was going to be a big game for us," Johnson said. "... We knew we wanted to play hard and go out there and show some passion, and we did it."
Johnson and Blake Griffin each scored 13 points for Oklahoma. Griffin also had eight rebounds. He missed about eight minutes of the first half after suffering an apparent knee injury, but returned late in the half and played the entire second half. Capel said Griffin would undergo an MRI test to determine the extent of the injury.
The Sooners shot 48 percent from the field, going 24 of 50.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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