2008 Big 12 Tournament
Kansas City, Mo. With roughly 16 hours between games, Texas A&M men's basketball coach Mark Turgeon won't have a whole lot to say to his team about Kansas University.
"All we're going to do," Turgeon said, "is rest."
A good night of sleep, a meal or two and a bus ride to the Sprint Center. That's really all there's time for after Texas A&M beat Kansas State, 63-60, late Friday night in the Big 12 tournament's last quarterfinal game.
The Aggies now get ready for the Jayhawks in a 3:20 p.m. semifinal showdown today. And "get ready" means "show up."
"We pretty much know Kansas," Texas A&M's Dominique Kirk said.
They should. It was just a week ago that the Aggies (24-9) were stomped by the Jayhawks, 72-59, in the regular-season finale.
Of course, it seemed a bit unlikely that the two schools would meet again so soon. Slumping Texas A&M entered the Big 12 tournament as the sixth seed, having lost five of its last seven.
But a 60-47 victory over No. 11 Iowa State on Thursday was followed by a big victory over No. 3-seeded Kansas State on Friday, one that had Aggies hugging at center court and Turgeon clapping his hands at nobody in particular in the locker room afterward.
It was just the Aggies' night Friday, and reminders of it were scattered throughout the game. With the pro-Kansas State crowd buzzing midway through the second half, Kirk heaved a desperation three-pointer to beat the shot clock. It banked in, giving Texas A&M a 52-46 advantage and silencing the Sprint Center.
Kansas State (20-11) fought back and briefly took the lead at 57-56 on a Bill Walker layup. But the Aggies retook control for good, and the final bit of fortune came with nine seconds left when a point-blank shot by KSU phenom Michael Beasley rattled in and out.
Texas A&M held onto its 61-60 lead with that miss and added two free throws by Josh Carter with 7.9 seconds left. A last possession by Kansas State was sloppy and featured two guarded shots - neither by Beasley, who finished with 25 points and nine rebounds.
A happy Turgeon summed it up afterward: "We'll take it."
He'll take it right into his third game in three days, this one against second-seeded Kansas. Several Aggies said that playing KU a week ago would be helpful, though Turgeon said the Jayhawks' lackluster performance in a 64-54 victory over Nebraska on Friday wouldn't help his team today.
Quite the opposite.
"I'm a little concerned," said Turgeon, a former KU player. "They didn't play well tonight for them. They're going to start with a lot more energy than they did tonight.
"KU to me is all about energy. When they have high energy, they're good. : I'm a little nervous going into (today) knowing they will be a lot fresher than we are. And we will have to be a little bit deeper and play with a little more depth."
That could hinge on the queasy stomach of center DeAndre Jordan, who has been held back by a stomach virus. Jordan played just five minutes Friday after sitting out Thursday's game. He's questionable for today's showdown.
"I hope we have him," Turgeon said. "We need a little bit more depth."