Aggies Snap Losing Streak To UNM WIth 62-53 Victory

The New Mexico State men's basketball snapped a seven game losing streak against New Mexico and won their first game in The Pit since December 15, 2002 as the Aggies knocked off the Lobos 62-53 in a game dominated by defense.

The Aggies held the Lobos to just 19 percent shooting (4-of-21) in the second half and just 28 percent (14-of-50) overall, the Lobos' worst offensive performance under head coach Steve Alford. It was also the lowest point total the Lobos have scored against the Aggies since a 67-48 victory by the Aggies on December 3, 2003. The 53 points by the Lobos was also the fewest allowed in an Aggie win in Albuquerque since a 60-49 victory by the Aggies in 1957.

Wendell McKines scored all 14 of his points in the second half and the Aggies would hit five straight free throws in the final 54 seconds to seal the game after struggling from the line the entire night.

New Mexico State trailed 45-52 midway through the second half but would go on an 8-0 run to take a 50-45 lead capped by a steal and a fast break layup from Daniel Mullings with 7:27 left and the Aggies would not trail the rest of the night. New Mexico would close to within one point at 53-52 after a pair of free throws from Jamal Fenton with 4:54 remaining but the Aggies would hold the Lobos to just one free throw the rest of the game and ending the final four and a half minutes by outscoring the Lobos 9-1.

The two teams struggled to find any offensive consistency all night long as the game started slowly with the Aggies holding a slim 8-7 lead through the first six minutes. New Mexico State would push their lead out to five after a layup by Bandja Sy with 10:48 left to go in the half and would maintain the five point advantage after a layup from Tshilidzi Nephawe with 7:54 left on the first half clock. The Lobos would go on a 15-1 run over the next three and a half minutes to take a nine point advantage at 27-18. The Aggies would get a three pointer from Bandja Sy to cut the deficit down to six at 27-21 but UNM would push the lead back to eight on a jump from Tony Snell with 2:46 left in the half. The Aggies would score final three points of the half to go into halftime trailing 31-26.

The Aggies would go on an 8-2 run to start the second half taking a 35-33 lead with 15:30 left to play but the two teams would trade the lead back and forth over the next four minutes leaving the Aggies with a slim 42-41 lead with 11:53 left to play. The Lobos would lead by three, 45-42 with 9:43 left to play after Hugh Greenwood hit one of two free throws. Hamidu Rahman would hit one of two free throws to bring the Aggies to within two a three point play by Wendell McKines would give the Aggies a 46-45 lead which they would not relinquish the remainder of the game.

New Mexico State shot 42.2 percent for the game and overcame 28 percent shooting (7-of-25) in the first half by shooting 60 percent (12-of-20) in the second half. The Aggies got to the free throw line 38 times converting 21 times (55.3 percent). New Mexico shot 34.5 percent (10-of-29) in the first half but could not find the bottom of the net in the second half as the Aggie defense held them to 19 percent shooting (4-of-21) in the second half. The Lobos hit seven threes on the night shooting 7-of-19 from behind the arc (36.8 percent) while the Aggies hit three of their 11 three point attempts.

Three Aggies were in double figures in scoring led by McKines' 14 points. Bandja Sy scored 12 points while Hamidu Rahman scored 10 points and grabbed five boards.

UNM was led by Tony Snell's 18 points and five rebounds but no other Lobo scored more than eight points as every Lobo that played scored and all but one Aggie who played scored.

The two teams will face each other again as the Lobos visit Las Cruces on Wednesday, December 28th.