Wildcats outlast Aggies
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Freshman Nerlens Noel had a season-high 19 points and Julius Mays scored 19, including five in overtime, to lead Kentucky to a 72-68 win over Texas A&M on Saturday.
The Wildcats (15-6, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) led by one point before Mays made two free throws with 15 seconds left. Texas A&M (13-8, 3-5) had a chance to tie it after that, but Elston Turner's 3-pointer bounced off the rim with 5 seconds left. Mays added another free throw with a second left to secure the win.
The Wildcats opened overtime with a 7-1 run thanks to a jump shot by Noel and five free throws to take a 69-63 lead.
Turner's 3-pointer with about 2 minutes left in overtime got A&M within 69-66.
Kourtney Roberson's layup made it 69-68 with 16 seconds left before the free throws by Mays.
Turner's 21 points led the Aggies, who played to overtime for the second straight game. Turner scored a career-high 40 points in a 83-71 win over Kentucky last month. Fabyon Harris added 14 points and Ray Turner had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Texas A&M.
Noel, who had a school record 12 blocks in Kentucky's last game, also had 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks on Saturday.
The 19 points by Mays were also a season high.
Kentucky was ahead by eight points before A&M used a 6-0 run to get within 60-58 in the second half. Alex Poythress made a pair of free throws for the Wildcats, but the Aggies cut it to two points again with a layup by Harris with 19 seconds left in regulation.
Turner got a steal and after a timeout tied it with a jump shot. He shook a defender with a double pump fake, and the ball clanged off the rim and into the air before falling back in with less than 2 seconds left in regulation.
Texas A&M stole a long pass by Kentucky to send it to overtime.
The Wildcats led by eight points with about 4 minutes remaining. Texas A&M started a run on a goaltending call on a layup by Roberson. Kentucky's Kyle Wiltjer got an offensive foul and Turner hit a floater in the lane to make it 60-56.
A turnover by Wiltjer gave A&M the ball again, and Ray Turner took advantage of it with a layup to cut the lead to two with about a minute remaining.
Texas A&M cut the lead to four points with a layup by Roberson with eight minutes remaining. A pair of turnovers by the Aggies and three free throws by Kentucky pushed the lead to 57-50 about 2 1/2 minutes later.
Ray Turner added two free throws for the Aggies, but Kentucky answered when Mays connected on a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to make it 60-52 with less than four minutes to play.
The Wildcats led by 10 points early in the second half when the Aggies went on a 7-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Harris, to get within 35-30 with about 17 minutes left.
Kentucky was up by eight points a short time later before Texas A&M scored six straight points to make to 40-38 with about 13 minutes remaining. Alex Caruso grabbed a steal and took it down the court for a dunk to end the run and bring the rowdy crowd to its feet.
Ryan Harrow quieted the A&M fans when he responded with a 3-pointer a few seconds later.
The game was tied at 13-all about 6 1/2 minutes before halftime. The Wildcats then scored five straight points to take an 18-13 lead.
Kentucky was up by four points about a minute later before using a 9-0 run to extend their advantage to 30-17 with about 1 1/2 minutes left in the first half. Mays started off that run with a 3-pointer, and Noel added a dunk in that span.
The Aggies scored the last four points of the half to cut the lead to 30-21 at halftime.