The New Mexico State men's basketball team improved to 7-4 in conference play with a 75-57 victory over Louisiana Tech on Monday night in the Pan American Center. Troy Gillenwater scored a game-high 19 points but left late in the second half and did not return after injuring his right ankle. Tyrone Watson matched his career-high scoring 17 points and grabbing four rebounds, dishing out four assists, two steals and a block.
New Mexico State jumped out to a 6-0 lead but led by just one, 9-8, after a three pointer from the Bulldogs' DeAndre Brown, part of his team-high 18 points. The Aggies would respond with a 16-4 run to extend their lead to 13 points with 9:18 left in the first half and would go up by 14 at 30-16 with 7:41 left to play in the first half on a three pointer by Christian Kabongo. Louisiana Tech would cut into the Aggie lead over the next five minutes as they would get to within just four points, 32-28, after a layup from DeAndre Brown. The Aggies would answer with a 7-2 run over the final two and a half minutes of the half to go into the break leading 39-30.
The Aggies would open the second half on a 7-0 run to go up by 15 points and extended their lead to 23 points, 56-33, on a dunk by B.J. West. The Bulldogs would counter with a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 13 capped by a three pointer from Lonnie Smith but the Aggies would answer back with a 5-0 run to take a 61-43 lead with 9:03 left in the game. The Aggies would push their lead out to 20 after a jumper from B.J. West with 3:26 left to play and the Aggies would hold on down the stretch for the 75-57 victory.
The Aggies shot 51.9 percent for the game and hit 6-of-19 three point field goals while the Bulldogs shot 41.5 percent for the game hitting 9-of-23 from three point distance but just 22 baskets on the night. New Mexico State out-shot LA Tech 20-8 from the free throw lineand the Aggies hit 75 percent for the game (15-of-20) and 13-of-16 in the second half.
DeAndre Brown scored 18 points for the Bulldogs while New Mexico State held Olu Ashaolu to 10 points and seven rebounds and forced him into six turnovers. Hernst Laroche added 13 points to go along with Gillenwater's 19 and Watson's 17. Tshilidzi Nephawe grabbed seven rebounds and scored five points in 26 minutes of action has he started in place of injured Hamidu Rahman.
The Aggies and Bulldogs meet again on Saturday in Ruston, LA with a tip-off scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (MT).