Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
WACO, TX - The nonconference road season came to an unmerciful end Wednesday night as the undermanned New Mexico State Aggies fell to the Big 12’s Baylor Bears 66-55.
The Aggies (4-7), playing without reining WAC Player of the Year Daniel Mullings and preseason All-WAC center Tshilidzi Nephawe due to injuries, hung tough with the Bears (9-1) who are just outside the Top 25 rankings.
NM State trailed by just two with 17:28 to play at 34-32, before Baylor got a 3-pointer from Al Freeman that started a 15-4 run for the Bears to send the Aggies down 14 points. The Aggies never recovered.
“We mixed it up well with them for a while,” said NM State coach Marvin Menzies. “But we lost to a good team.”
“I thought we had some areas where we made some growth, but their big boys went to work on our babies and were just more physical.”
Turnovers were again NM State’s bane, suffering 19 in the contest against a stifling Baylor defense.
The Bears turned it over nine times, eight in the second half, as NM State closed the gap to eight points with six minutes to play. But the Bears posted a quick 6-0 run and squelched an Aggie comeback attempt.
“We did look good in spots,” Menzies added, “but we’ve got to play better than four minutes at a time.”
Senior Remi Barry led the Aggies with 14 points and five rebounds, while redshirt freshman Pascal Siakam added 12 points with four boards and four steals.
Senior DK Eldridge posted nine points, while redshirt freshman Johnathon Wilkins added eight points with five boards.
The Bears were paced by 16 points from Johnathan Motley, to go with 10 points each from Lester Medford and Al Freeman. Rico Gathers led all boardmen with 12 rebounds, while chalking up seven steals.
The Aggies did hold the Bears to just 39 percent shooting from the floor (24-of-61), just the second time this season Baylor was held to under 40 percent from the field.
NM State shot 46 percent from the field (21-of-46), better than the Bears average allowed of 37 percent this season.
The game was the final nonconference road contest for the Aggies who are 0-7 away from home to start the season, and the fifth contest against a team ranked or receiving votes in the Top 25 polls.
NM State returns to the Pan American Center to open a seven-game homestand with the Rio Grande Rivalry against New Mexico on Saturday night.
The Aggies bring a 14-game home court win streak into the contest that tips at 7 p.m.