Archive for Sunday, January 27, 2002

Aggies impressed by KU

January 27, 2002


— Ifs and buts were nowhere to be found in Texas A&M; coach Melvin Watkins' postgame remarks on Saturday.

No. 2-ranked Kansas had just posted an 86-74 victory over the Aggies and Watkins made it sound like if the two teams met nine more times the Jayhawks would go 10-0.

"You saw what type of team they are," Watkins said. "Our guys fought and didn't give up. (Kansas) has so many weapons. We just played a team better than we are. You've got to give them credit."

Guard Bernard King, who led the Aggies with 22 points although missing 11 of 19 shots, echoed his coach's sentiments.

"They're good," King said about the Jayhawks. "They aren't the No. 2 team in the country for nothing. We kept playing hard, but they'd always hit a big shot or something to end our run."

A&M;'s most impressive run began with about eight minutes remaining after Nick Collison's close-in shot had given the Jayhawks a 24-point (72-48) lead. At that point, Kansas appeared well on its way to the century mark, but A&M; drilled its next six shots and cut the margin to 14.

KU guard Jeff Boschee stopped the bleeding with a three-point goal his lone trey of the day at the 5:08 mark.

"It looked for a while," said Bradley Jackson, the Aggies' point guard, "like we were going to get back in the game. But then they hit a couple of shots ."

A&M;'s players and coaches would have loved to have had a healthy Keith Bean on the floor during that stretch, but the 6-foot-8 Bean had suffered a shoulder injury in the first half, tried to play in the second half and finally had to give up.

"When Bean went down his presence it hurt," King said.

Bean finished with nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds despite playing just 17 minutes.

"The doctors are looking at him," Watkins said minutes after the game. "They think his shoulder popped out and he'll be sore for a few days, but should be able to play at Iowa State (on Tuesday)."

Watkins acknowledged the Aggies missed Bean's 255 pounds under the basket, but noted his reserves did a good job. In fact, the Aggies' bench contributed 25 points while KU's reserves counted 15 points.

Texas A&M; dropped to 8-12 in all games and 2-4 in the Big 12, but this is not the same Aggies' team that dropped early-season games to Illinois-Chicago, Louisiana-Monroe and Loyola Marymount.

"Our whole team has stepped up," Watkins said. "We're more focused. I'm proud of my team now."

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