The New Mexico State men's basketball team got career highs from Troy Gillenwater and Hernst Laroche as the Aggies cruised to a 92-76 season opening victory over Louisiana on Friday night. Gillenwater scored 30 points hitting five twos, five threes and five free throws. Laroche had a near perfect night from the field hitting 6-of-6 from the field including 4-of-4 from three point distance. His lone miss came from the free throw line finishing 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. Hamidu Rahman added 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds and finished 6-of-9 from the free throw line.
The Ragin' Cajuns jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead just over two minutes into the game but the Aggies would take an 8-7 lead on the first of Troy Gillenwater's five three pointers. The Aggies would score five more unanswered points to cap an 11-0 run taking a 13-7 lead with 14:06 left in the half. The Cajuns would trim the Aggies' lead to just two points at 16-14 with 11:29 left in the half but the Aggies would go on a quick 8-3 run to push their lead back out to seven points at 24-17.
Louisiana would cut the lead back down to two points at 24-22 with 6:56 left in the half but the Aggies would go on a 15-8 run over the next four and a half minutes to take an 11 point lead with just over two minutes left in the half. The Cajuns would close the half outscoring the Aggies 6-3 to send the teams to halftime with the Aggies leading 42-34.
Coming out of the break the Cajuns would cut the Aggies' lead to just five after a three pointer from Randell Daigle but the Aggies would answer with a three pointer from Hernst Laroche to go back up by eight points.
The Aggies would extend their lead to 14 points after a layup by Hamidu Rahman with 15:52 left to play and would push their lead to 17 points after another three pointer from Hernst Laroche with 12:41 left in the game. The Cajuns would make a push over the next four minutes and cut the Aggies' lead to just 11 points at 73-62 after a layup by Randell Daigle with 7:50 left but a three pointer by Hernst Laroche put the Aggies back up by 14.
Louisiana would trail by 12 points after a pair of free throws by Scottie Farrington but Troy Gillenwater would bury a three pointer to put the Aggies up by 15 at 83-68 with 4:40 left. The Aggies would hold their largest lead of the game at 88-69 after a dunk by Hamidu Rahman with 3:00 left. The Aggies would score their final points of the night on a dunk by B.J. West with 50 seconds left as the Aggies led 92-73. The Cajuns would add three more points to make the final score 92-76.
The Aggies finished the game shooting 51.7 percent from the floor and were red-hot in the second half hitting 78 percent of their shots. Louisiana shot 44.6 percent from the floor for the game.
The Aggies hit 12-of-25 three point attempts good for 48 percent while Louisiana converted 7-of-18 three point attempts for 38.9 percent. The Aggies were solid from the free throw line hitting 72 percent (18-of-25) while the Cajuns hit 67.9 percent (19-of-28).
The Aggies outrebounded the Cajuns 38-31 but were out-blocked on the night 5-3. The Aggies had 15 turnovers on the evening with 10 coming in the second half.
The Aggies return to action on Monday night when they open up their home schedule against Western New Mexico. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Pan American Center.