ANAHEIM, Calif. -- B.J. Holmes and Texas A&M passed their first test.
Holmes scored 20 points and Texas A&M upset No. 19 Clemson 69-60 on Thursday in the first round of the 76 Classic.David Loubeau added 12 points and nine rebounds and Davis had 10 points for the Aggies (4-0), who will face No. 8 West Virginia in a semifinal game on Friday."I think it's good early in the season to [play a lot of ranked teams] to see where we're at," Holmes said. "It's great to play back to back teams that's a high caliber and I think doing this is going to get us ready for the Big 12 and hopefully the post-season."Trevor Booker scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half for Clemson (4-1).Texas A&M led by as many as 17 early in the second half before Clemson pulled to 58-56 when Tanner Smith made two free throws with 5:14 remaining. Smith finished with 14 points.A free throw and then Holmes' 3-pointer gave the Aggies some breathing room and Clemson could never recover.Before the season started, the Aggies were picked to finish fifth in the coaches' preseason Big 12 poll. By beating Clemson, the team may have taken steps to get noticed nationally, but A&M head coach Mark Turgeon cautioned that it was just one game."We played OK, maybe Clemson didn't have their best day so it's just one day," Turgeon said. "I like our team, I think we're just going to get a lot better."How good are we? I don't know. If we guard like that [again], we're going to be pretty good."With the game tied at 18, Khris Middleton and Holmes made 3-pointers during the Aggies 15-2 run that included three layups from Donald Sloan to take a 33-20 halftime lead. Clemson's 20 points in the first half were the fewest the Tigers have scored since getting only 17 against Florida State on Feb. 19, 2008.Texas A&M head coach Mark Turegon said his team played "about as good as we could play defensively" for about 17 minutes in the first half to overcome a shaky start.Texas A&M extended its advantage to 44-29 before Clemson used a 13-4 run to get back into the game. The Tigers were done in by poor shooting (33.9 percent) and 18 turnovers."It was quite a physical ball game," Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell said. "I give Texas A&M a lot of credit. They came out with a lot of physical toughness and really guarded us pretty well. When we went in those droughts it affected us defensively."