Aggie Basketball Cruises To 98-72 Exhibition Victory Over Eastern New Mexico

Troy GillenwaterThe New Mexico State men's basketball team defeated in-state foe Eastern New Mexico in an exhibition game on Monday night. The Aggies routed the Greyhounds 98-72 pulling away late in the first half.

The Aggies were led in scoring by junior Troy Gillenwater who finished with 18 points, five rebounds and four blocks in just 22 minutes of action. Aaron Edwards led the Greyhounds with 22 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes of play.

The Greyhounds held a slim lead through the first six and a half minutes of action but the Aggies took a 12-11 lead on a layup by Tyrone Watson and did not relinquish the lead the rest of the game.

The Greyhounds trailed by just one point with 9:53 remaining in the first half but the Aggies would go on a quick 7-0 run to take a 22-14 lead with 8:10 remaining. The Aggies' run was fueled by a three pointer by Gordo Castillo, one of three he would hit on the night. Following Castillo's three pointer, Tyrone Watson would get a layup on an assist from Castillo who would then cap the scoring with a jumper after a pair of blocks on the defensive end by freshman Renaldo Dixon and junior Abdoulaye N'doye.

The Aggies would stretch the lead to 11 points as they led 34-23 with exactly four minutes left in the first half. The Greyhounds would cut the lead down to seven points at 36-29 with 2:56 left in the half but the Aggies would close the half on a 12-2 run to take a 48-31 into the break.

The Greyhounds would score the first six points of the second half to cut the Aggies' lead to 11 at 48-37 with 18:51 to play but the Aggies would respond with a quick 9-0 run that saw Hernst Laroche score four points, Gillenwater score on a layup and Gordo Castillo hit a three. The run put the Aggies up 57-37 with 18:17 left to play.

The Aggies lead would increase to 23 points with 11:30 to play after a layup by Gordo Castillo gave the Aggies a 72-49 lead. The Aggies would maintain a comfortable cushion as the Greyhounds would get no closer than 16 points and the Aggies would push their lead out to 24 points with 5:59 left to play after a dunk by freshman Tshilidzi Nephawe.

With just under three minutes remaining to play the only question would be whether the Aggies would hit the century mark. They would come close as a pair of Renaldo Dixon free throws would give the Aggies 98 points with 12 seconds left. The Aggies would have one final chance to hit 100 but a dunk attempt by Tyrone Watson bounced off the rim and freshman guard Drew Herig missed a layup at the buzzer. The final score would read 98-72 as the Aggies wrapped up their only tuneup before the start of the regular season on Friday at Louisiana.

The Aggies finished with five players in double-figure scoring with Troy Gillenwater leading the way with 18. Hernst Laroche finished with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. Laroche added seven rebounds, four assists and three steals but had an uncharacteristic six turnover night. Gordo Castillo finished with 13 points and went 3-of-6 from behind the three point arc. Hamidu Rahman finished with 11 points and eight rebounds while Tshilidzi Nephawe finished with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting and also added five rebounds. Bandja Sy finished with eight points, Tyrone Watson added six, Renaldo Dixon had five in his Aggie debut scoring all five from the free throw line. Christian Kabongo finished with four points, Makhtar Diop hit a late three pointer for his only points and Abdoulaye Ndoye added two points.

Aaron Edwards finished with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting and was 3-of-6 from behind the three point arc. Tyler Jefferson scored 14 points while Tralyn Hardden scored 11.

The Aggies outrebounded the smaller Greyhounds 55-20. The Aggies recorded 12blocks on the night. The Aggies committed 29 turnovers while ENMU had 17. The Aggies finished with 16 assists on their 41 baskets while ENMU had 16 assists on the 24 baskets.

The Aggies shot 61.2 percent from the floor for the game, 21-of-32 in the first half (65.6 percent) and 20-of-35 in the second half (57.1) percent. The Greyhounds shot just 37.5 percent for the game and were 12-of-32 in each half.

The Aggies hit 5-of-14 three point attempts good for 35.7 percent while Eastern New Mexico hit 10-of-26 three pointers (38.5 percent). The Aggies struggled from the free throw line hitting just 11-of-20 (55 percent). ENMU convertor on 14-of-20 free throw attempts (70 percent).

The Aggies open up the regular season on Friday night as they travel to Lafayette, Louisiana to take on the Ragin' Cajuns. Tip-off for the game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. MT.