Originally posted on Fox Sports Kansas City  |  Last updated 11/21/12
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Somewhere behind closed doors, senior guard Elston Turner was at the center of a celebration, the shouts and claps that lifted from Texas A&M's locker room a release. This satisfied. This was sweet. Less than 10 minutes earlier, Turner had swished a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left, giving the Aggies a 55-54 victory over Washington State in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic consolation game at Sprint Center. Later, Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy praised his team's second-half effort, and Turner called the triumph "a team win." But here, in the moments after the end Tuesday, there was nothing but elation. This is November, but for the Aggies, Turner's dramatics produced March joy. "Yes, sir!" someone shouted in the locker room. Turner's shot served as a jolt to a drowsy night. The Aggies and Cougars tipped before a crowd fit for a mausoleum, with what looked like 200 fans in the stands. In the first half, the teams shot with a bricklayer's touch -- Texas A&M went 30.4 percent from the floor and Washington State 33.3 -- and little appealed about this undercard matchup before a Kansas-Saint Louis final. But a tone change occurred early in the second half, one that allowed Turner to push the Aggies to a 4-1 record. After the Cougars entered halftime with a 21-16 lead, the Aggies went on a 13-5 run, a spurt that included nine consecutive points after Washington State held a 26-20 advantage. Texas A&M's rise fulfilled Kennedy's vision. He needed something, anything, to spark his team after a dismal opening 20 minutes on offense. His message before play began after the break was simple, pointed and direct. "We need to shoot the ball and believe we can make it," Kennedy recalls saying. This is what belief looked like: Turner dribbling near the top of the key in the closing seconds, waving off Texas A&M senior forward Ray Turner after Washington State's switch. At the time, Elston Turner was paired against 6-foot-10 junior forward D.J. Shelton. The veteran player wanted to avoid allowing a more nimble defender back in the play. The strategy worked. Turner backpedaled toward the opposite end, wagging his tongue after the clinching shot. He traded high-fives and chest bumps with anyone around him. He understood the importance of recovering after a 21-point letdown loss to Saint Louis on Monday, and he savored the moment. "We executed what we needed to do," said Turner, who finished with 10 points. "They switched, and I didn't think they were going to switch but they did. Our team brought us back into it. Our role players played a heckuva game, and I'm glad we just came up with the win." Few games hold deep meaning in November, but this result could give the Aggies a lift. They're a young team their roster includes three seniors and eight underclassmen so earning one victory in two tries on this Kansas City trip could be more valuable than it might appear. "We stepped up in competition with a new team," Kennedy said. "Last night was a tough game against a very good Saint Louis team. We get to go home with some confidence." Why? "Because it shows everyone that we can compete and come home with a win," said Ray Turner, who finished with a team-high 14 points. "The shot was amazing. Elston he's going to shoot that. He needs to shoot that, especially when he got mix-matched. I'm very proud of that." There's no reason to remind Elston Turner, an honorable all-Big 12 Conference selection last season. He entered as Texas A&M's horse in scoring (16.8 points per game) and minutes played (34 per game). He had made 11 of 25 3-point tries before Tuesday, though he was a frigid 1 of 12 from the floor before lifting the Aggies to victory. But leadership is like sweat: It's most visible when the heat is on. Texas A&M needed someone to come through in the clutch, and Turner proved his value again. "We did a great job until Turner hit the shot," Washington State coach Ken Bone said. "We planned on switching everything. Fortunately, we had a 6-10 kid on him. He made about a, what, 25-, 28-footer? That's all I saw. There's no play involved. Nothing else. He just dribbled around out there, and he's a great shooter." Somewhere behind closed doors, in a celebration that carried on long after the buzzer, Turner's team thought so too. The calendar reads November. The emotion says March. You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at seanmkeeler@gmail.com
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tim Tebow: ‘I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in’

Olympic athletes warned about Rio's 'human crap' waters

T.J. Ward: Broncos defense doesn’t care who’s playing QB

Tokyo already dealing with rising costs for 2020 Olympics

Bears first-round pick Leonard Floyd carted off practice field

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Bills and Tyrod Taylor continue to talk extension

Report: Title contender planning to poach Curry from Warriors

Fitzpatrick on negotiations: I wouldn’t wish it on anybody

NBA players to fund health insurance for former players

Report: Geno Smith 'intent' on beating out Ryan Fitzpatrick

Greg Jennings: Ryan Tannehill has had his hands tied by coaches

Royals want to package Ian Kennedy, Wade Davis in trades

Wild offer to make Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy' new goal song

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

Canucks don't dismiss acquiring player with past issues

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ordered to pay $900K to auction house

Six potential landing spots for Nick Foles

Jack Nicklaus puzzled by Tiger Woods' woes, golf absence

Brown responds to Marshall's high-stakes challenge

Seven most mind-boggling NFL contracts of 2016

Is Jackie Bradley Jr. the Red Sox’s MVP?

Did Joey Votto reject kid who asked for his batting gloves?

Rams got it right releasing Nick Foles, trusting Jared Goff

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker