The New Mexico State men's basketball team defeated a pesky Arkansas-Pine Bluff team 81-65 in the final game of the 2011 calendar year. Five Aggies finished in double-figures led by Wendell McKines' 22 points and 14 rebounds, his fourth consecutive double-double and fourth consecutive game scoring at least 20 points. Hernst Laroche grabbed a season-high seven rebounds and scored 15 points with four assists and just a single turnover.
The Aggies trailed Arkansas-Pine Bluff 10-8 at the first media timeout but would go on a 13-4 run over the next three and a half minutes to take a 21-14 lead. The Aggies would extend the run to 22-10 taking a 12-point lead at the 6:09 mark. The Aggies would lead by 14 at 42-28 with 2:17 left in the half after a three pointer from Hernst Laroche but the Golden Lions would score four unanswered to cut the lead back to 10. Daniel Mullings would bury a three pointer with 19 seconds left in the half to give the Aggies a 13-point lead at the break.
The Aggies would stretch their lead to 17 points through the first four and a half minutes as Bandja Sy would drain a triple with 15:22 left to play in the game. Arkansas Pine-Bluff would respond with an 8-0 run to cut the Aggies' lead to just nine points at 56-47. The Aggies once again pushed their lead back to 17 points but an 11-1 run would trim the Aggies' lead to just seven at 66-59 with 6:06 left to play. The Aggies would outscore the Golden Lions 13-4 over the next four and a half minutes to go back up by 16 and would hold on for the 16 point victory.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff's Mitchell Anderson scored 20 points on 8-of-22 shooting and was one of two Golden Lions to play all 40 minutes joining teammate Savalce Townsend who finished with 13 points and six rebounds. Daniel Broughton scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds for UAPB.
The Aggies improve to 9-5 and finished the five-game home stand with a 4-1 record. New Mexico State heads back out on the road to face Cal State-Bakersfield on Monday night before returning home to open conference play against Utah State on Thursday night.
NOTES: Christian Kabongo and Renaldo Dixon did not play for New Mexico State and will not travel with the team to Bakersfield per coaches' decision.