It wasn't 40 points, but a Reed Arena-record 37 and a win was good enough for Elston Turner, who paved the way for Texas A&M's 69-67 victory over Ole Miss on Wednesday.
Turner scored an SEC season-best 40 points in A&M's win at Kentucky earlier this year, and he looked well on his way to repeating the feat Wednesday after making his first eight shots, four from 3-point range.
But Turner said he never felt he was on track for a milestone night.
"I just looked up and saw that I had that many points," Turner said. "When you are in a close game like that you really don't pay that much attention until it's over and your team wins."
Turner hit 7 of 10 from 3-point range and 13 of 20 from the field. He also drained the game's biggest shot on a fadeaway baseline jumper that gave A&M (15-9, 5-6) a 69-65 lead with 16.4 seconds left.
"I told Jarod [Jahns] to come screen for me, so they would switch," Turner said. "I saw I had the angle, and I knew I had to get the shot off. We didn't want them to come down just down two [points] and have a chance to hit a 3, so I knew I had to make that shot."
Turner's final basket broke the Reed Arena mark of 36 set by Baylor's Curtis Jerrells in the Bears' five-overtime victory in January 2008.
Turner credited extra work in the gym for breaking out of what he called a slump. He had gone eight games -- since the first Kentucky matchup -- since shooting at least 50 percent from the field.
"We've made all our guys come in after our Georgia experience [24 percent shooting] and seize the moment, and it paid off for sure," A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. "Elston had a phenomenal performance in the first half and in the second half made some big shots. We were able to ride him for the win."
Turner made every shot he took from the field in the first half and didn't misfire until 1 minute, 39 seconds into the second half. After he made his fifth straight 3-pointer to open the second half, he had 25 of the Aggies' 38 points.
"We talked for two days about how you can't give him space, that he's going to go to his right hand, and we gave him space and we let him get going early," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. "He played a whale of a game and made a hard shot at the end."
Despite Turner's effort, the Aggies trailed most of the first half and were down 42-40 after his first miss.
Ironically, A&M pulled ahead when Turner went through his toughest stretch.
"The difference was when they dominated the glass, when they had that little run in the second half where they finally missed some shots and we could not corral the rebound," Andy Kennedy said. "As a result, they stayed in the game when they went through their spell where they weren't making shots."
Ray Turner scored six of his eight points when A&M seized the lead for good. Ray Turner finished with 13 rebounds, four on the offensive end, and Kourtney Roberson added three offensive rebounds. All came in the second half when A&M had 11 offensive boards as a team.
"We went to the offensive glass at the beginning of the second half, and I thought that was a big part of us winning the game," Billy Kennedy said. "We attacked the glass the first five minutes, and I was proud of Ray Turner, the job he and Kourtney did in the second half.
"I told [Ray] at halftime you are so much better than what you're playing. You are capable of giving us more. I told him to take power shots, not jump shots, and to his credit every shot was 5 feet and in."
Elston Turner's hot-shooting display far overshadowed the SEC's leading scorer, Ole Miss' Marshall Henderson, who came in averaging 19.9 a game.
Henderson finished with 10 points, his second lowest output of the season.
"Elston, defensively, did a good job and Alex [Caruso] and the team did a good job on Marshall Henderson," Billy Kennedy said. "I thought that was critical. We started Alex out on him because we didn't want to wear Elston down. Alex set the tone. We were locked in, and we had guys that wanted to guard him."
A&M didn't have to guard Henderson on the final play. He fouled out when the Rebels had to foul to get the ball back at the end of the game.
After a rare Elston Turner miss -- he hit the back of the rim on the front end of a one-and-one -- the Rebels rebounded the ball and called timeout with 3.8 seconds left.
Ole Miss (18-6, 7-4) got the ball in to backup point guard Derrick Millinghaus, who dribbled to just inside the 3-point arc and threw up a shot that missed everything.
"He was the fourth option," Andy Kennedy said. "That is why he was furthest from the ball. It just so happened that's the decision the inbounder made, and [Millinghaus] didn't get the cleanest of looks, but he was the one that kept us in it. He's a true freshman in a tough spot, but it is what it is."
Millinghaus led the Rebels with 13 points along with Reginald Buckner, who had a game-high 15 rebounds. Ole Miss' LaDarius White had 12 points, and Murphy Holloway 10.
A&M's Faybon Harris, who played 39 minutes along with Elston Turner, scored 13 points.
Harris fell to the floor and stayed there at the end of the game, but he said he was OK. He aggravated a toe injury, an issue he had in junior college.