Big Second Half Powers Aggies Past Fresno State 86-77

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The Aggie men's basketball team erased a nine point halftime deficit outscoring Fresno State by 18 points in the second half en-route to a nine point victory over Fresno State on Saturday night. The Aggies improved to 11-7 overall and 4-1 in WAC play and took over sole possession of second place behind unbeaten Louisiana Tech (17-2, 5-0).

The Aggies took an early 3-0 lead when Jonathan Gibson hit a three pointer on the Aggies' first possession however Fresno State would counter with a Paul George three pointer to tie things up. The Aggies and Bulldogs traded the lead back and forth over the next three minutes as the Bulldogs held a 12-10 lead with 16:14 left in the first half.

The Bulldogs would go on a 9-4 run to extend their lead to seven points at 21-14 with 12:19 left in the first half. The Bulldogs would continue to lead the Aggies throughout the remainder of the half taking a 13-point lead at 36-23 with 3:41 left to play. The Aggies would cut the lead down to nine points at 43-34 after a jumper by Wendell McKines with a minute to go in the half.

Coming out of the halftime break the Aggies would quickly cut into the lead scoring five quick points in the first minute off of a layup from Hamidu Rahman and a three pointer from Jonathan Gibson. A Wendell McKines jumper to gave the Aggies a 48-47 lead with 16:13 left to play, their first lead since the 15:33 mark of the first half when they led 10-9.

The Bulldogs would retake the lead and go up by three with 14:30 left to play but a layup by Jahmar Young and a three pointer by Jonathan Gibson at the 13:18 mark would give the Aggies a 55-54 lead. The Aggies would then go on a 14-0 lead to give themselves a 15-point cushion with 9:46 left to play.

The Aggies maintained a double digit lead until the 2:55 mark when Sylvester Seay completed a three point play to cut the lead to nine at 79-70. A quick three by Paul George cut the Aggie lead to six at 79-73 with 2:31 left to play. After a Hamidu Rahman free throw gave the Aggies a seven point lead at 80-73 with 1:58 remaining, the Bulldogs would get four quick points to cut the Aggies' lead to just three points with just over a minute left to play. However, that was as close as the Bulldogs got as the Aggies got a layup from Jonathan Gibson to push the lead back to five and then Jahmar Young hit a pair of free throws to push the lead to seven with 23 seconds remaining. Jahmar Young would hit a layup with three seconds left to give the Aggies a nine point lead which would be the final margin of victory.

Jahmar Young led the Aggies with 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting. He finished 4-of-10 from behind the three point arc and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Jonathan Gibson scored 25 points on 8-of-18 shooting and was 6-of-14 from three point distance. Gibson was also 3-of-3 from the free throw line. Wendell McKines had a double-double grabbing 15 rebounds to go along with 13 points. Hamidu Rahman scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds and had two blocks but the stat of the night went to sophomore point guard Hernst Laroche who played 38 minutes and had 10 assists and zero turnovers.

The Bulldogs had four players finish in double-figures in scoring as Sylvester Seay scored 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting and was 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Paul George finished the game with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Greg Smith scored 10 opints and Mike Ladd scored 15 and grabbed five rebounds.

The Aggies held the Bulldogs to 7-of-25 shooting from three point distance while hitting 12-of-32 from behind the three point arc. The Aggies had just 10 turnovers on the night.

New Mexico State improves to 11-7 overall and 4-1 in league play while Fresno State drops to 10-9 and 3-2 in league play.

The Aggies play at Hawai'i on Thursday night.