Aggies Defeat UTEP 89-73 In Home Opener

Senior forward Wendell McKines scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the New Mexico State basketball team cruised to a 17-point victory over I-10 rival UTEP on Saturday night. Leading by just four at halftime, the Aggies ratcheted up their defense and opened the second half on a 15-4 run to take a commanding 15 point lead five and a half minutes into the second half. The Miners would close to within 10 points with 4:14 left to play but the Aggies would keep the Miners at arms length winning by 16.

Christian Kabongo opened the game hitting two three pointers as the Aggies jumped to a 6-0 lead forcing a Miner timeout just a minute into the game but UTEP would battle back and take a 21-20 lead with 9:27 left in the first half. UTEP maintained a four point lead but with just under six and a half minutes left in the half Wendell McKines would bury a three pointer from the top of the key to cut UTEP's lead to one at 29-28. WIth UTEP leading 32-30, Bandja Sy would hit a three pointer to give the Aggies a 33-32 lead and New Mexico State would not trail the rest of the game as the Aggies finished the half on a 17-9 run to take a 42-38 lead into halftime.

The Aggies outreounded UTEP 41-24 grabbing 21 offensive rebounds. The Aggies held UTEP to just 37.8 percent shooting in the second half while shooting 51.9 percent. The Aggies also shot 50 percent from three point distance hitting 9-of-18 attempts.

Hernst Laroche and Christian Kabongo each scored 15 points with Kabongo going 9-for-10 from the free throw line. The Aggies shot 39 free throws on the night converting 28.

The Aggies improve to 3-0 on the season and are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since the 2003-04 season.