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Aggies Lose To UNM 97-87 In Round One Of The Rio Grande Rivalry | bleedCrimson.net :: Your Source for NMSU Aggies Sports News

Aggies Lose To UNM 97-87 In Round One Of The Rio Grande Rivalry

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Jahmar YoungA furious second half rally by the Aggie basketball team came up short as Aggies fell 97-87 to in-state rival New Mexico on Tuesday night. The Aggies found themselves down by 16 points at halftime, 52-36, as the Lobos sliced through the Aggie defense and hit 64.5% of their shots in the first half including 7-of-12 from behind the three point arc. The Aggie offense struggled in the first half despite hitting 46 percent of their shots. Hamidu Rahman led the Aggies in the first half scoring 12 of his 14 points in the first 20 minutes. Jahmar Young was a non-factor for the Aggies in the first half scoring just four points.

Coming out of halftime the Aggies found themselves down by 19 points, 55-36, just 1:07 into the second half and it appeared that the rout was on. However, the Aggies would chip away at the lead and over the next five minutes the Aggies would go on a 21-4 run to cut the Lobo lead to just two points at 59-57 with 13:50 left to play. However, the Lobos would quickly push the margin back out to seven points over the next minute of play. Once again the Aggies would make a run, this time taking 68-67 lead with 10:34 let to play. The Aggies would extend their lead to 71-67 with exactly 10 minutes left to play before the Lobos responded with an 8-2 run to retake the lead with 8:21 left to play.

The Aggies would never regain the lead as a pivotal moment in the game occurred with the Aggies trailing by five points at 79-74. Jonathan Gibson turned the ball over and on the ensuing runout, Kelly Merker was called for an intentional foul as he tried to break up the three on one fast break. The two free throws by Dairese Gary gave the Lobos a seven point cushion at 81-74 and the Aggies would never get closer than five points the rest of the game.

UNM finished with four players in double figures in scoring led by Phillip McDonald with 27 points. The Aggies' nemesis, Roman Martinez, scored 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field including 4-of-8 from behind the three point arc. Martinez also provided timely baskets for the Lobos as the Aggies made their second half comeback attempt making key three point baskets and offensive rebound tip-in baskets. Rounding out the top scoring for the Lobos was Darrington Hobson with 17 points and Dairese Gary with 14 points.

The Aggies were led by Jahmar Young who came alive in the second half scoring 22 of his 26 points in the final 20 minutes including 14-of-16 from the free throw stripe. Jonathan Gibson finished the night with 17 points and was 5-of-8 from three point distance. Hernst Laroche finished with 15 points, five assists and no turnovers and Hamidu Rahman finished the game with 14 points but only scored two points, both on free throws, in the second half.

The Aggies were out rebounded 41-33 and could not corral several critical rebounds in the final few minutes of the game. The two teams committed just 26 turnovers, 14 by the Aggies and 12 by the Lobos. The Aggie defense after allowing the Lobos to shoot 64.5 pecent in the first half, clamped down and held them to just 35.3 percent in the second half and finished the game shooting 49.2 percent. The Aggies 42.9 percent in the second half and 44.6 percent for the game.

The Aggies shot 36 free throws, converting on 27 of them good for 75 percent. The Aggies shot 23 free throws in the second half hitting 20 of them. The Lobos shot 31 free throws, converting 21 good for 67.7 percent.

The Aggies drop to 0-2 on the season while the Lobos improve to 2-0. The two teams will face each other again for the second half of the annual home-and-home series on December 5th at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. The Aggies face Panhandle State on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. as they search for their first victory of the season.