There wasn’t even a sniff of a chance for a frenzied comeback for the Texas A&M Aggies against former Big 12 rival Oklahoma on Thursday night, only the pain of elimination from the NCAA Tournament.
Four days after staging the biggest last-minute comeback in NCAA Division I history, the third-seeded Aggies were blown out 77-63 by Jordan Woodard, Buddy Hield and the rest of the second-seeded Oklahoma Sooners in the Sweet 16.
Little went right for the Aggies, and this one was over well before halftime.
“We ran into a very good team that played extremely well,” Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said. “Every mistake that we made they made us pay. Jordan Woodard played a heck of a game. We just felt like we had a tough time matching up with their quickness and when we had opportunities to score we struggled.
“I’m really proud of these guys and proud of our team. I just wish we would have played better in this game because we definitely are capable of playing better than we played,” Kennedy said.
Woodard scored 22 points and Hield had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Sooners (28-7) advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2009. They'll play at 5 p.m. Saturday against Oregon, which beat Duke on Thursday night.
Tyler Davis scored 17 for A&M (28-9), which reached the Sweet 16 with a thrilling double-overtime victory against Northern Iowa after rallying from 12 points down in the final 44 seconds of regulation.
The Sooners blew open a close game by going on a 19-4 run during the last 7:42 of the first half to take a 45-26 lead. The Sooners forced the Aggies into bad shots and turnovers, and Woodard was the catalyst on the offensive end.
Woodard started the decisive first half run with a 3-pointer and had another shot from behind the arc with 3:15 to go. He also fed Khadeem Lattin for a slam dunk and then hit a sweet, off-balance bank shot as the shot clock was close to expiring with about 20 seconds left.
The Aggies went more than seven minutes without a field goal. Tonny Trocha-Morelos made a layup to pull them to 24-20 with 9:32 to go before halftime. The Aggies didn’t make another shot from the field in the half until Davis had a putback with 2:10 to go. By then, it was 40-24 Sooners.
The Aggies did have a nice start, jumping to a 13-6 lead behind two 3-pointers by Jalen Jones and one by Anthony Collins.
It didn’t take the Sooners long to catch up, though.
Alex Caruso didn’t think there was a hangover from the Aggies’ big comeback Sunday.
“I feel like we were ready. I mean, we came out firing on all cylinders in the first five minutes of the game, and they made a little bit of a run and we didn’t answer it the way we should have,” Caruso said. “Then they extended it, so we dug ourselves a bit of a hole. Against a good team like that, you’re not going to be able to come back. We just didn’t get it done.”
The Sooners advanced to the regional finals for the first time since 2009, when they lost to North Carolina in the South Regional. Oklahoma is trying to reach the Final Four for the first time since 2002, when it lost to Indiana in the national semifinals.
Oklahoma shot 49.2 percent while holding the Aggies to 34.2 percent. Texas A&M added to its misery by making only six of 28 3-pointers and just 13 of 24 free throws.
Woodard made five of six 3-pointers. Hield wasn’t as effective as normal from behind the arc, making just two of seven.
Christian James added 12 points for Oklahoma while Ryan Spangler and Lattin had 10 apiece.
Jones had 11 for the Aggies while Danuel House scored 10.
“It hurts,” Jones said. “We know we’re a way better team than the way we played tonight. We can’t sit up here and sulk in our performance. We have to give a lot of credit to Oklahoma. They came out prepared and ready to go, and the shots that we usually make weren’t falling.”
Texas A&M: The Aggies dropped to 4-1 against teams from its old conference, the Big 12.
Oklahoma: The Sooners, one of the nation’s most lethal teams from behind the 3-point line, made 11 of 25 (44 percent) long shots.
Oklahoma plays Saturday against the winner of No. 4 Duke vs. No. 1 Oregon.