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January 9, 2007WACO, Texas (AP) -- Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie kept asking Joseph Jones if he was feeling OK.
Gillispie wasn't sure after what he heard in the cramped locker room at halftime, when Jones was "vehemently" vomiting because of a nervous stomach. But Jones kept saying everything was all right, and he proved it when the Aggies (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today; No. 8 AP) needed him most.
Jones had six points and three rebounds in the 3-minute stretch that finally put the Aggies ahead to stay, and Acie Law IV drove for consecutive layups late to push them to their seventh straight victory, 61-51 over Baylor on Tuesday night.
"I've never heard anybody throw up quite like that, and for as long," Gillispie said. "He kept saying `I'm fine.' That's only because he's a tough guy and a team player."
After a nearly 3-minute break on the bench, Jones returned to the game with two free throws with 11? minutes left to tie it at 41. After Baylor regained the lead on two free throws by Patrick Fields, Jones hit two more free throws and then grabbed a rebound that led to Donald Sloan's driving baseline layup with 10 minutes left.
The Aggies (14-2, 2-0 Big 12) led for good after that, extending the lead to 47-43 when Jones scored on a putback after Law missed a shot.
"I wanted to get in there and have an inside presence for my team," Jones said. "I have to be aggressive and go to the ball. That's what I had to do."
Gillispie said it's not the first time the nerves have gotten the best of the 6-foot-9 forward in the locker room. Jones showed no signs of that on the court, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
"I saw some stuff in his eyes I've never seen before," Gillispie said. "He was saying yes for all the right reasons. He wanted to help his team."
Law finished with 20 points.
Jones was only 2-of-7 from the field, but went 10-of-11 from the line to increase his Big 12-leading free throw percentage to .872 (68-of-78).
The Aggies' second seven-game winning streak of the season has come since consecutive losses to No. 13 LSU and No. 4 UCLA. The Aggies are off to their best start since opening 16-2 in 1959-60.
Kevin Rogers had 19 points and nine rebounds to lead Baylor (10-5, 0-2), which has lost 25 straight games against ranked teams since a win at Oklahoma State on Feb. 15, 2003.
The Bears were within 50-47 with 3 minutes left until Law drove for the consecutive layups, the second after a rebound by Jones.
"We did some things well enough to win," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "Credit A&M for making a lot of free throws and big plays down the stretch."
Texas A&M is the only team in the country that hasn't allowed more than 65 points in a game this season. UCLA was the nation's top-ranked team when it beat the Aggies 65-62 on Dec. 9, their last loss. Baylor was averaging 81 points a game.
The Aggies have won nine straight Big 12 games, their longest conference winning streak since they won 11 Southwest Conference games in a row over two seasons from 1979-80. The Aggies are 2-0 in the Big 12 for the first time in the 11-year-old league.
Still looking for a signature victory under Drew, the Bears led 39-34 when Curtis Jerrells hit a 3-pointer off an inbounds pass from Tweety Carter with 13 minutes left. Josh Carter then hit a 3-pointer for A&M before Jones took over.
"We got complacent with the lead," said Carter, one of seven underclassmen who played for Baylor. "You've got to slow down and play defense. A&M did a good job pressuring the ball."
Rogers scored 13 points after halftime, including the first two Baylor baskets to tie the game at 28.
Jerrells had 11 points and Carter had 10 for the Bears.
Baylor led 14-12 after Rogers hit a long jumper from the top of the key midway through the first half. The Bears then had a chance to add to that lead when Jerrells had a steal and passed to Patrick Fields for a breakaway layup -- but Sloan got back and drew a charging foul.
Sloan then hit a 3-pointer and Law added another 3 in an 8-1 run that pushed the Aggies ahead for the rest of the half.
Jerrells cut Baylor's halftime deficit to 26-24 when he made a free throw with 3.9 seconds left, then grabbed the rebound of his miss on the second and made a 12-foot jumper.