Aggies Hold Off Pacific 69-64; Earn Third Consecutive Victory

Lou HensonThe New Mexico State men's basketball team picked up its third consecutive victory defeating Pacific 69-64 on Saturday night in the Lou Henson Classic. With legendary head coach Lou Henson on the bench with the Aggies, the young team playing without five of the players who led them to victory over Pacific in last season's Bracketbusters matchup, earned their first come-from-behind victory this season overcoming a five-point halftime deficit.

Senior guard Gordo Castillo played 28 minutes and led all scorers with 17 points including three three pointers and a 6-of-7 performance from the free throw line including two free throws with five seconds left to seal the victory.

The Aggies trailed 31-26 at halftime thanks to three free throws from Gordo Castillo right before the break as he was fouled while shooting a three pointer. The Aggies led early 7-4 but an 8-0 run by the Tigers would send the Aggies to a five-point deficit with 14:17 left to play. The Tigers would extend their lead to seven points after a three pointer from Jose Rivera, one of five three pointers in the first half by Pacific. The Tigers would lead late in the half by eight points but Castillo would be fouled shooting a three pointer and hit all three free throws to bring the Aggies to within five at the break.

The Aggies would start quickly in the second half getting a three pointer from B.J. West followed by a dunk from Renaldo Dixon to draw even with the Tigers. Pacific would go on a quick 5-0 run behind a three pointer from Pat Eveland and a jumper from Terrell Smith but the Aggies would take their first lead of the second half with 15:17 left to play at B.J. West would hit a long jumper from just inside the three point arc. The Aggies would get a three point from Gordo Castillo and back-to-back buckets from Renaldo Dixon to push their lead to eight points with 13:14 left to play.

Pacific would draw to within five points at 46-41 but the Aggies would get a three pointer from Gordo Castillo and a three pointer from Bandja Sy to go up by nine points. The Tigers would again draw to within five points after a jumper from Pat Eveland but the Aggies would extend their lead back to nine points at 60-51 after a fastbreak layup from Hernst Laroche.

The Aggies would lead by seven with 1:22 left to play but a three pointer from Demetrece Young would cut the Aggies' lead to four at 66-62 with 1:04 left to play. Tshilidzi Nephawe would hit one of two free throws to extend their lead to five with 28 seconds remaining. After missing a layup, the Tigers would steal the Aggies' inbound pass and get a layup to cut the Aggie lead to three at 67-64 with 6.4 seconds remaining. Joe Rivera would foul Gordo Castillo who would hit both free throws to seal the 69-64 victory.

The Aggies finished the game shooting 53.2 percent from the field including 61.5 percent in the second half. The Aggies hit four of their six second half three point attempts after failing to hit a three in the first half. The Aggies finished 15-of-22 from the free throw stripe in the game. Freshman Renaldo Dixon finished with 13 points and was perfect from the field hitting 5-of-5 shots and 3-of-3 free throws. Dixon added five rebounds including three offensive boards and also had a block and two steals.

The Aggies held the dangerous shooting Tigers to just 8-of-22 from the three point arc as the Tigers shot just 40.4 percent from the field for the game.

The Aggies improve to 5-7 on the season and host Louisiana on Tuesday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m.