Liberty vs Texas A&M

No. 20 Texas A&M gets 20 from Turner, roll by Liberty

CBSSports.com wire reports
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- An early injury to standout guard Khris Middleton hardly slowed down Texas A&M.

Ray Turner scored a career-high 20 points and the 20th-ranked Aggies shot 65 percent from the field while cruising past Liberty 81-59 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.

"We came out and ran the floor just like we've been doing in practice," Turner said. "We've just got to keep playing consistent, hard, and not give up on loose-ball plays. We've got to keep the intensity up."

Texas A&M played without first-year coach Billy Kennedy, on leave following his recent diagnosis of an early stage of Parkinson's disease. Associate head coach Glynn Cyprien has run the team in Kennedy's absence.

Kennedy has visited the arena daily over the past week and Cyprien has said the coach is expected back full-time "soon." Kennedy was at Reed Arena for the game and talked to the team in the locker room afterward, Cyprien said.

Middleton left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury and is day to day, Cyprien said. Middleton played 10 minutes and scored six points.

Texas A&M put away the Flames early with a 24-4 run midway through the first half. The Aggies shot 59.3 percent (16 of 27) from the field in the first half and jumped to a 37-14 lead at the break before a crowd of 6,118.

"The guys played hard, and we were able to play a lot of guys a lot of minutes," Cyprien said. "The game plan was to play inside out, to get our big men involved early and work off of them."

Elston Turner had 16 points and David Loubeau added 14 for the Aggies, who began their 100th season in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. Next up, they host Southern on Sunday.

Texas A&M has won 61 straight non-conference home games dating to 2005.

David Minaya led Liberty with 14 points.

With the game well in hand, the Aggies shot 72 percent (18 of 25) in the second half and finished at 65.4 percent from the floor (34 for 52), the fifth-highest mark in school history. Still, the Flames outscored the Aggies 45-44 in the second half.

The Aggies outrebounded the Flames 39-29, with Elston Turner, Ray Turner and Keith Davis grabbing six boards apiece.

A&M is one of 12 teams in the country that has been to six consecutive NCAA tournaments.

"Their length and athleticism bothered us in the first half," Liberty coach Dale Layer said. "We played much more aggressive in the second half. We've gotten better over the last 24 hours. I'm not disappointed in our effort, just that we couldn't make enough shots to make it a game."

The Flames' 14 points over the first 20 minutes was the fourth-lowest total by a Texas A&M opponent in a first half. The Aggies have won 11 consecutive season openers and a dozen straight home openers.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Ray Turner goes up for a shot against Liberty.  He scores a career-high 20 points on 9-11 shooting. (Getty Images)
Ray Turner goes up for a shot against Liberty. He scores a career-high 20 points on 9-11 shooting. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Liberty (0-1)144559
Texas A&M #20 (1-0) «374481
LIB:J. Sanders 18 Pts
LIB:J. Vander Pol 5 Reb
LIB:J. Sanders 9 Ast
TXAM:R. Turner 20 Pts
TXAM:E. Turner 6 Reb
TXAM:J. Branch 6 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
LibertyTexas A&M
LIB
John Caleb Sanders
TXAM
Elston Turner
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
18231664
Liberty Flames
D. Minaya, G315-143-420214
J. Sanders, G312-84-64928
A. Burrus, F304-82-231410
C. Phillips, G240-30-05220
J. Vander Pol, C180-20-05040
J. Sanders, G266-153-323118
T. Speaks, G263-80-02036
S. Baird, F50-30-00020
K. Assinesi, G41-20-00113
A. Smith, F30-00-00000
H. Gliedman, F20-00-00000
J. Brown, GDid Not Play
S. Ogukwe, FDid Not Play
T. Hoyt, GDid Not Play
T. Gielo, FDid Not Play
E. Layer, GDid Not Play
Totals 21-6312-1523162159
 33.3%80.0% 
Texas A&M Aggies
E. Turner, G316-114-464116
R. Turner, F259-112-361120
D. Loubeau, F246-92-240214
D. Harris, G231-40-12433
K. Middleton, F103-50-03106
J. Branch, G203-40-02616
K. Roberson, F163-31-63127
N. Hibbert, G150-00-01110
J. Green, G111-21-23233
Z. Kinsley, G-F91-22-21114
K. Davis, C90-00-26020
D. Alexander, F71-10-01002
A. Baird, GDid Not Play
J. Jahns, FDid Not Play
B. McDonald, GDid Not Play
G. Jolly, FDid Not Play
Totals 34-5212-2238211781
 65.4%54.5% 
Big South
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Winthrop13-523-9130
High Point13-521-11157
UNC-Ash.12-622-12137
Coast. Car.12-621-12164
Gardner-Webb10-817-16209
Liberty10-813-19264
Radford9-916-15191
Campbell5-1312-18308
Presbyterian5-1311-20319
Longwood5-1310-23323
Char. So.5-139-21298

Big 12
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Kansas15-333-51
W. Virginia13-526-910
Oklahoma12-629-86
Texas11-720-1327
Iowa St.10-823-1223
Baylor10-822-1225
Texas Tech9-919-1336
Kansas St.5-1317-1690
Oklahoma St.3-1512-20172
TCU2-1612-21174
 
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Arizona 67