Aggies' Rally At UMKC Falls Short

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

KANSAS CITY, MO - Senior forward Renaldo Dixon posted a career-high 34 points against Missouri-Kansas City, but that wasn’t enough as the New Mexico State men’s basketball team fell 68-66 in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 18. NM State drops to 14-7 on the year and 3-2 in Western Athletic Conference play, while UMKC moves to 6-11 overall and 3-2 in the league.

The Aggies outscored the Kangaroos 38-31 in the second half and were down 66-63 with :13 seconds remaining in the game before senior guard Kevin Aronis hit a 3-pointer with six seconds remaining to tie the game up at 66-all. The Aggies then committed a foul as UMKC’s Matez Harrison dribbled the ball up the sideline with four second left. Harrison made both free throws to give the ‘Roos a 68-66 lead and NM State committed a turnover taking away any chance for a last second shot.

Dixon scored his 34 points on 13-of-19 shooting, including one 3-pointer, while going 6-of-8 from the free throw line. The Aggies as a team, although, struggled once again from the charity stripe hitting 17-of-27 attempts. Dixon also added eight rebounds, an assists, three blocks and a steal.

NM State outrebounded the Kangaroos 34-33 and scored 19 second chance points but UMKC was able to get in the paint and score posting 36 points in the paint, compared to NM State’s 34 points from inside the key. Junior forward Tshilidzi Nephawe was the only other Aggie in double-figures scoring as he posted 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting and 6-of-9 from the free throw line. Nephawe also had nine rebounds and a game-high four block.

The Aggies scored the first two points of the game but UMKC tied it up early on at 7-7. The NM State defense struggled a bit and the Kangaroos used a 20-6 run to go up 27-13 with 7:16 left in the half. The Aggies got the game back to under 10 after Dixon worked hard for a dunk making it a 31-20 ball game with 3:37 in the half. The Aggies got to within seven when Dixon scored on a layup with 2:28 remaining but UMKC extended its lead back to nine at 37-28 at halftime.

NM State shot 37 percent from the field and was only 1-of-5 from behind the 3-point arc, while Dixon led all scorers with 13 points in the first half while junior guard Daniel Mullings led the Aggies with five rebounds, but was held scoreless in the half.

NM State fought back in the second half and pulled to within three when Nephawe grabbed a rebound and immediately put the ball back in for two. The Aggies stayed within three points of UMKC when Mullings put in his first field goal of the game at the 12:41 mark making it a 43-40 ball game.

Ross-Miller hit two free throws with 6:31 on the clock to help get his team within two points at 54-52. Nephawe was fouled in the paint and hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it a 57-55 game in favor of the ‘Roos with 4:45 on the clock. NM State didn’t stop fighting and tied the game 62-62 when Nephawe tipped the ball in with :55 seconds on the clock. UMKC’s Nelson Kirksey scored four straight points for his team to put the ‘Roos up by four before Aronis tied the game with six second to play.

NM State has a week off and continues WAC play, Saturday, January 25th when it faces Texas-Pan American in Las Cruces. The game will air on TV as a part of the AggieVision productions and fans should check with their local cable or satellite provider for airtimes. Hall of Fame announcer Jack Nixon will also give play-by-play action on the radio with coverage on the Aggie Sports Network.