COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Elston Turner scored 28 points and Ray Turner 16 to help Texas A&M to a 74-56 win over South Carolina on Saturday night in the first-ever meeting between the new Southeastern Conference foes.
The Aggies trailed by two points early in the second half before using a big run to take a 46-36 lead. South Carolina couldn't get anything going on offense for the first 10 minutes after halftime en route to just over 29-percent shooting in the second half.
The victory broke a two-game skid for Texas A&M (17-12, 7-9), and was the ninth loss in 10 games for South Carolina (13-16, 3-13).
Michael Carrera's 16 points led the Gamecocks and Bruce Ellington added 10 points.
Texas A&M Men’s Basketball
Texas A&M 74, South Carolina 56
March 2, 2013 ● Reed Arena
TEAM RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
● With the victory, Texas A&M improved to 17-12 on the season with a 7-9 mark in SEC play.
● South Carolina, meanwhile, saw its overall record fall to 13-16 with a 3-13 league mark.
● A&M now owns a 1-0 advantage in the all-time series with the Gamecocks.
● The teams went to halftime tied 32-32, but Texas A&M owned a 42-24 edge in second half scoring.
● South Carolina scored the first four points of the second half but went cold from the floor going 10:38 minutes between field goals (19:07 to 8:29) … It allowed the Aggies to go on a 14-0 run.
● The 14-0 run was part of a 21-3 Aggie surge that gave A&M a 14-point advantage, 53-39, with 6:31 to play.
● Texas A&M owned a 34-18 edge in points in the paint and an 18-4 advantage in points off turnovers … South Carolina committed 17 turnovers in the contest.
● Freshman guard Alex Caruso collected two steals in the game to give him 58 this season, the most ever by a Texas A&M freshman … The previous high-water mark for an A&M rookie was 56 steals by Todd Holloway during the 1983-84 campaign.
● Senior guard Elston Turner once again led the Aggies in scoring, collecting a game-high 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor … The Sacramento, Calif., native is averaging 27.2 points during the last six games ... Additionally, Turner tied his career-high with four steals in the contest.
● Senior forward Ray Turner contributed 16 points on the night, making 8-of-10 shots including four dunks … The Houston product set a new personal best with four blocks.
● Junior guard Fabyon Harris added 12 points off the A&M bench.
● The Aggies will honor their senior class before their home finale on Wednesday night when they host LSU at Reed Arena … The game will be televised by the SEC Network.
● South Carolina, meanwhile, will return to Columbia, S.C., to host Mississippi State on Wednesday.
Texas A&M Basketball
Texas A&M 74, South Carolina 56
March 2, 2013 ● Reed Arena
Texas A&M Head Coach Billy Kennedy
“It’s good to get a win at home and not have to sweat it out at the end. Fortunately, we went to our zone because we had a lot of trouble guarding them man-to-man, and Carrera gave us a lot of problems. South Carolina did a good job of running their offense, but the zone did some things for us and helped us to win the game.”
On early defensive troubles
“We struggled keeping them off the boards and really guarding the one on one in the post. They do a good job running their offense and they shot the ball well in the first half. We didn’t do a good job guarding them.”
On Ray Turner
“It was his best game. A lot of it was transition baskets and offensive rebounds. He had four blocked shots so he was active. It was the most active he had been in a while, so hopefully his confidence level is up because we need him to play well in these last few games. He played well and defensively he competed around the basket.”
On Elston Turner’s chances for First Team All-SEC
“Elston does so many good things for us on both ends of the floor that I’d be surprised if he is not first-team.”
On upcoming home finale against LSU
“It is the last home game of the year against a good LSU team. We have been playing fairly well, even against Ole Miss, we just haven’t tasted victory enough. Our guys’ mind set and desire and their emotion and energy in practice has kept us playing on an even keel. Hopefully we can build off this win. LSU is a dangerous team because they can really score the ball. “
Texas A&M Senior Guard Elston Turner
On the key to A&M’s second half run
“We were just getting stops. We switched defenses and played zone a lot, and I think it bothered them a little bit. We were able to run in transition and Ray was being active on the glass. We were just a much different team than we were in the first half.”
On Ray Turner’s dunks
“It gets us excited anytime Ray makes a big play. We get a new sense of excitement and our defense turns up to a whole new level. It’s fun to be in.”
On A&M’s slow second half start
“I think we turned the ball over a little, and we missed some free throws. We didn’t allow them to score either, so we were still playing defense pretty well. They got a lot of offensive rebounds so we switched to the zone and we were able to box out, get rebounds and run in transition. We are going to play defense and we are going to work as hard as we can and offense will come.”
Texas A&M Senior Forward Ray Turner
On the excitement of the game
“It was an exciting game and we got going in the second half. We got our momentum back. We knew we had to pick it up in the second half and we did that.”
On the motivation he gets from dunking
“I love to dunk, so when I dunk that gets me going. That definitely got my momentum going and I just tried to keep being aggressive and tried to make plays.”
South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin
“Too many missed open shots and too many bad turnovers in the second half. We let Elston Turner get some open floor looks and he is too good of a player. We did a pretty good job in the first half because we didn’t let them get all over the place. Then in the second half the game got hard and I had some guys in foul trouble and our subs didn’t do a very good job on offense, which led to some open court opportunities. I’ve had the fortune of coaching against Elston, and when you let him see the basket it’s going to open the door to a long, long night.”
On Ray Turner
“He was really active. I thought that in the second half the game was pretty physical and he did a great job. I’m playing with two freshmen; that’s what upperclassmen on good teams do to freshman guys on the other teams; they play for 40 minutes and just keep playing. Ray showed his experience and did it right.”
On offensive struggles
“When you keep missing open shot after open shot, it’s hard to win. When you play on the road, your defense better be good, you better not turn it over, and you better make your open shots. Our defense was pretty good, but we turned it over too much and never made an open shot. When two walk-ons are the guys making open shots, that’s a problem.”
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