By KRISTIE RIEKEN, AP Sports Writer Tue Feb 6, 3:43 AM ET
And he believes the quick turnaround will be a good tuneup for the rigors of thetournament.
Josh Carter scored 24 points, Acie Law had 21 points and 15 assists, and No. 6 Texas A&M beat Texas 100-82 in the only game involving a Top 25 team on Monday night.
The Aggies, coming off a big win at then-No. 6 Kansas on Saturday, won their 21st straight home game and maintained sole possession of first place in the Big 12.
"I don't know if it gets any tougher than that," Gillispie said. "But we did talk about if we're lucky enough to get into the tournament, that's the way it's going to be. I think those guys take things like that as challenges and they came through with flying colors tonight."
They had little time to prepare for the Longhorns after arriving home from Kansas early Sunday morning.
"I've never been a part of a deal other than the NCAA tournament where you had to expend so much energy physically and emotionally," Gillispie said. "We try to teach our guys to play to exhaustion and I think that's a real quality that hardly no one can do."
Kevin Durant had 28 points and 15 rebounds for the Longhorns (16-7, 6-3), but the Aggies finally found some scoring punch to go with one of the nation's stingiest defenses and that was too much for Texas and its super freshman.
Durant set a Longhorns freshman record with his 14th double-double. The previous mark was held by Ron Baxter, who had 13 in 1976-77.
Law's 15 assists tied a school record. Texas A&M (20-3, 8-1) led 69-63 when he hit the court hard and had to be helped to the locker room, biting his jersey in pain because of an ailing leg. The record crowd of 13,196 that included Texas Gov. Rick Perry chanted "A-cie! A-cie!" as he left the court.
With Joseph Jones already on the bench with four fouls, the Aggies were left to depend on Donald Sloan (11 points) and Bryan Davis (eight points).
But the pair came through. Sloan kept Durant in check and Davis added four points until Law returned about 3 minutes later.
"Sloan and Davis received a lot of attention before they got here and they showed you why tonight," Gillispie said. "They've got great freshman over there, but I believe we've got a few guys ourselves. I'm really proud of those guys stepping up in such a big game."
Even Law, A&M's senior point guard, was impressed by the pair.
"They're just maturing right before our eyes," Law said. "These past few games they've been playing extremely well and tonight on the biggest stage, in one of the biggest games for Texas A&M they played their best."
A 3-pointer by A.J. Abrams and two free throws by D.J. Augustin cut A&M's lead to 76-73, but the Longhorns got no closer. Augustin had 23 points and nine assists.
"We couldn't guard them," Gillispie said. "Augustin is great. They're all good and they're fast and just hard to deal with. We just couldn't keep them out of the paint."
Sloan continued to impress even after Law returned, converting a layup to make it 83-75. Carter added four straight points as A&M built a 12-point lead.
"We didn't guard anybody in the last 4 minutes," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "We were terrible. That's what I told our team. I'm disappointed."
Durant's 28 points were the most an opponent has scored against the Aggies this season. It was the first time Texas A&M allowed more than 70 points.
The Aggies were still able to hold Texas to less than 50 percent shooting, marking the nation-best 34th straight time Texas A&M has done that.
Durant scored 12 points in the first 6 minutes of the second half, including seven straight that gave the Longhorns a 58-57 lead, their first of the game.
A&M quickly got back on top on Carter's 3-pointer on the next possession, only to fall back into a tie when Augustin hit a pair of free throws.
Sloan made a quick 3 and Antanas Kavaliauskas sandwiched two baskets around a free throw by Durant to push Texas A&M's lead to 67-61 with 11:24 remaining. Kavaliauskas had 18 points.
Barnes was unhappy with his team's lackluster play down the stretch against A&M and also pointed to Saturday's loss to Kansas State.
"I'm just disappointed in our last two games when it's got down to where we need some stops and we don't do it," Barnes said.
Both teams shot 37 free throws, with the Longhorns making 27 and the Aggies 23. Jones and Dominique Kirk fouled out for A&M.
"We just wanted to go at them, but some guys came in for them and stepped up and played good," Augustin said.
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