NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy says he planned to play Elston Turner no matter what. Turns out his senior guard had the same plan, even with his broken left pinkie.
Turner scored 22 points even with some of his left fingers wrapped up in a splint, and the Texas A&M Aggies beat Auburn 71-62 Wednesday night in their first Southeastern Conference tournament game.
"It's my last year, I've got to play with it, no matter what," Turner said. "My teammates did a great job just telling me to stay composed and to fight through it. That's what I did; my teammates were the ones that kept me going."
Turner broke the finger a week ago in a loss to LSU, an injury that kept him from playing last weekend in a defeat at Arkansas to end the regular season. The SEC's third-leading scorer was questionable Monday, practiced Tuesday and was ready to go Wednesday.
"It's a little splint," Turner said. "I put a piece of gauze around it, too, and taped it to my index finger. I put three pieces of tape around it. You can't really feel it unless somebody throws a 100-mph basketball at you. I'm playing through it and am going to keep playing."
Texas A&M (18-14) came to the tournament having lost four of five. But the 11th-seeded Aggies drew the SEC's last-place team in Auburn, and now they will play sixth-seeded Missouri on Thursday night in a matchup of the former Big 12 teams.
Turner said the game will be a battle since Missouri lost 70-68 to the Aggies on Feb. 7.
"They think that they should have won that game, and we think that we're able to play with anybody in this conference," Turner said. "It's going to be a tough test. Missouri's a great team. They're an NCAA tournament team. We've just got to have our best game of the year. It's going to take the whole team to do it, not just one or two people. The whole team's going to have to step up."