The cover picture says it all. Willie Cauley-Stein, the big seven foot freshman for Kentucky, had just finished a Mack Brown-esque clapping session after stopping Elston Turner from driving around him as the shot clock expired. With only a few seconds remaining, Turner responded by a quick dribble to the side and launching a bomb from about 24 feet out. A picture is worth a thousand words.
There were a lot of words that got silenced by the Aggies and 40 point explosion from Elston Turner. After losing to Southern, many believed the writing was on the wall for a repeat of last basketball season. Since that loss, this Aggie basketball team has been slowly improving on small parts of their game, one game at a time. The team showed what the coaches had been focusing on in ugly, yet gritty wins against Army and Houston Baptist University. Then, there was the first SEC game against Arkansas. The Aggies showed a sense of urgency and aggressiveness on the glass that fans had been waiting to see since the start of last season. After today's victory, the staff and players have shown that they can hang with anyone in the country.
Elston Turner will undoubtedly be the National Player of the Week after his 40 point, 6 rebound, 4 assist game tonight. Turner shot 14 of 19 from the field and 6 of 10 from the three point line in an SEC road game at Rupp Arena. Although he fell five points short of the visiting scorer record set by the great David Robinson, his efforts were certainly historic and ground breaking for the Aggies. Halftime adjustments from Coach Calipari and Kentucky seemed to have slowed down Turner and the Aggie offense as both teams changed leads throughout the second half. After another deep three from Turner and then a dagger three point from the corner by Fabyon Harris (which was assisted by Elston Turner), the fans at Rupp Arena started heading for the exits. The win served Coach Calipari his first loss at home in SEC play as the head coach at Kentucky.
Social media was buzzing throughout the entire game and national sports media writers were joining in. Elston Turner was trending nationally at one point in time, even though the Ravens and Broncos were playing their AFC playoff game on CBS. Many Aggies are just now awakening from their post-Cotton Bowl celebrations and had yet to pay attention to this basketball team. The Aggie fan base needed a swift kick in the rear to get behind this talented roster and it was served up by the Aggies basketball team today. Everyone remembers the great moments in Aggie basketball history like Acie Law's shot against Texas and the victory over Kansas on the road in Lawrence. Elston Turner's 40 point showing and the Aggie victory over Kentucky at Rupp Arena deserve a spot among the greatest moments in Aggie Basketball history. It's not just winning at Rupp Arena that matters in this one. It's Elston Turner changing his future with his performance today. It's winning by 12 on the road while walkon Jared Jahns logs 30 minutes of playing time in the game of his life. It's the first showing of game-to-game consistency of winning the rebounding battle and taking care of the basketball. It hasn't been the smoothest of rides, but the Aggie coaches have this program headed in the right direction.
Next Game: Thursday, 1/17 at Reed Arena vs. #11 Florida, 6PM Central.