COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) _ Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie
told Dominique Kirk if he hesitated on an open shot one more time,
he wouldn't play anymore.
Looks like he'll remain in the starting lineup.
After his chat with the coach, Kirk scored 12 points in a two-minute span to break open a close game and A&M (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today; No. 8 AP) went on to a 97-87 win over the Bears on Saturday. Before the second-half spurt,
that included two 3-pointers, A&M (24-4, 12-2 Big 12) led by just
"I told him prior to that time that if he thought about his
shot again instead of catching the ball and shooting it that he
wasn't going to play again," Gillispie said. "And he made two big
3s. He's a big shot maker. But he was thinking a little bit too
much early and you can't think about making a shot."
Acie Law scored a season-high 31 points and Joseph Jones added
22 to help A&M's effort. Kirk finished with 17 points.
The win is A&M's sixth straight over the Bears and is Baylor's
24th straight Big 12 conference road loss.
Instead of relying on their normally stingy defense, the Aggies
got into a shootout with the struggling, but scrappy Bears. The
Aggies, who entered the game allowing just 56.5 points, gave up
their most points of the season to Baylor.
The Kirk-led lead was their second 10-point lead of the game
after they stretched their advantage to 10 on a 3 by Josh Carter
early in the second half. Baylor (13-14, 3-11) then went on a 10-2
run, punctuated by a three-point play by Kevin Rogers, that cut the
lead to 44-42 with just more than 16 minutes remaining.
The victory marks the first time the Aggies have won 12
conference games in the history of the Big 12.
Kirk's quick output was made possible by the Aggies taking
advantage of a double team on Jones.
"That's what makes A&M good this year," Baylor coach Scott
Drew said. "Not only do they have the (stars), but they also have
improved their play around the total team. What good players do is
they make you pay and Dominique did."
Law said the emergence of role players such as Kirk should help
the Aggies as they prepare for the NCAA tournament.
"That's going to be huge for us as teams focus on Joe and AK
(Antanas Kavaliauskas) and myself and try take Josh from the
3-point line," he said. "When Dominique is shooting like he can,
it really leaves them with no options as far as the double team."
The Bears would get close one more time when they went on an 8-0
run fueled by six points from Henry Dugat to make it 69-65 with
about eight minutes left. But they wouldn't get any closer and a 3
by Law with just under six minutes left put A&M ahead 77-68.
Law's performance is just the third 30-point game of his career
and the first since scoring a career-high 35 last January against
Baylor's Curtis Jerrells was encouraged by the fight his team
showed on Saturday and that his team hasn't given up, despite it's
"When things are going downhill like that when we didn't expect
it to, it's just a positive when your team can stay together," he
said. "We're down to the end of the season and we've won only
three conference games and our whole team is out there playing like
that against one of the top-10 teams in the country."
Law agreed and was impressed by Baylor's play.
"Credit to them for never quitting," Law said. "A regular
team would just give up when you're down on the road in a hostile
environment and they continued to fight and were able to get back
in the ball game."
A highlight for Baylor came on Jerrells' alley-oop pass to
Rogers for a two-handed dunk late in the second half. Kavaliauskas
was called for a foul on the play, despite ducking to avoid being
kicked by the dangling legs of the soaring Rogers.
Jerrells led Baylor with 27 points and Dugat added 22 points.
Texas A&M took advantage of 31 Baylor fouls and made 35-of-44
free throws. But Baylor shot 48 percent to stay in it against a
team that entered the game allowing a nation's-best 36 percent
Baylor hasn't won a conference road game since beating the
Aggies 67-61 in February 2004.
The Aggies jumped out to a 5-0 lead, never trailed and were
ahead 37-31 at halftime.