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Aggies Lose Round One Of Rio Grande Rivalry, 73-58 | bleedCrimson.net :: Your Source for NMSU Aggies Sports News

Aggies Lose Round One Of Rio Grande Rivalry, 73-58

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Better than expected defense contributed to a cold shooting night for New Mexico State led to a 73-58 loss at the hands of in-state rival New Mexico on Saturday afternoon in Albuquerque in front of a sellout crowd and nationally television audience.

Despite cleaning up their ball handling and free throw shooting the Aggies shot just 32.8 percent from the field (19-for-58) for the game and scored just 26 points in the second half caused by a stiff Lobo defense. "We didn't expect that," said Coach Menzies in the postgame press conference. "They were much more aggressive than we had thought."

The Aggies came into the game averaging over 17 turnovers but committed just eight, however, the Lobos made the Aggies pay dearly converting the eight turnovers into 17 points. The Aggies shot 16-of-19 from the charity stripe, a market improvement over their 63 percent road average this season but the effort was nullified by New Mexico's 35 free throw attempts of which the Lobos converted 26.

The Aggies took an early 2-0 lead but trailed the rest of the way after a 5-0 run by UNM. The Aggies trailed by a dozen twice in the first half but both times the Aggies were able to cut the lead down to six. The pivotal momentum swing in the game came as the Aggies had the ball with a chance to cut the lead to four or even three but the Aggies turned the ball over as Remi Barry tried to save the ball from going out of bounds on the sideline and it ended up in the hands of UNM's Kendall Williams who was fouled by K.C. Ross-Miller trying to prevent a breakaway basket. The officials determined the foul to be intentional and Williams hit both free throws and the Lobos also received the ball. Hugh Greenwood would bury an open three to give the Lobos an 11 point advantage. The Aggies would cut the lead to six with 43 second left in the half and that would be as tight as the score would get the remainder of the game.

With 6:14 remaining in the game the Lobos led by 18 points but Daniel Mullings scored eight straight Aggie points to trim the lead down to 12. The Aggies would trail by 12 with just under four minutes left to play after a three pointer from Terrel de Rouen, however, the Aggies were unable to get any closer scoring just three points over the final four minutes.

Seniors Bandja Sy and Tyrone Watson were a combined 2-for-19 from the floor with just nine points. The Aggies struggled mightily in the second half offensively hitting just 8-of-30 attempts from the floor.

Daniel Mullings led the Aggies with 14 points while the Lobos were led by Alex Kirk and Kendall Williams who each scored 15. The Lobos also blocked 11 shots in the game as part of the stifling defense played against the Aggies.

The two teams return to the court to face each other on Wednesday night in the Pan American Center.