Elston Turner was on fire on Saturday afternoon and Kentucky had no answer for him.
Turner scored 25 points in the first half on 10-of-13 shooting and the senior wasn’t done there. The 6-foot-5 guard added 15 more after the halftime intermission, finishing the game with a career-high 40 points. More importantly, Texas A&M scooped up a statement victory on the road, beating the Wildcats by a final score of 83-71.
If the Aggies are going to dance once March rolls around, Turner has to be the leader of this squad. Victories like the one that came on Saturday are a clear indication that Turner is ready to fit that role. Entering the game, the senior was leading the team, averaging 15.5 points per game, a statistic that will obviously increase following his 40-point outing.
Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, 11 rebounds, seven blocks, six assists and four steals, but it all came in a losing effort. Wildcats’ head coach John Calipari was also T’d up in the loss.
The story however, is all about Turner and the Aggies’ early season success. One of two newcomers to the SEC this season, Texas A&M is now 12-3 overall, with a 2-0 mark within the league. Turner finished the contest shooting 14-of-19 from the field and 6-of-10 from beyond the arc.
While criticism is sure to come for the Wildcats following yet another loss and yet another defeat at home, Texas A&M and Turner are the ones that deserve the credit. Kentucky had no response for Turner, even after the halftime break.
The Aggies have not lost since Dec. 22 and will look to keep the ball rolling heading into next week’s contest with Florida. With tons of momentum and a red-hot Turner, Texas A&M could have the makings of a squad that could really emerge within the contention discussion should they be able to upset the Gators on Thursday.
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS