Aggie Men's Basketball Falls At Grand Canyon 79-75

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

PHOENIX, AZ - The battle between Western Athletic Conference heavyweights was fought all the way to the end, but the New Mexico State Aggies came up on the short end as the Grand Canyon Antelopes won 79-75 Saturday night at the GCU Arena.

The Aggies (9-8, 1-1) saw their 14-game winning streak against WAC teams come to an end, while the 'Lopes (15-2, 2-0) beat NM State for the first time in program history.

NM State jumped out to a nine-point lead early in the game, as the Aggies hit their first seven shots. But GCU battled back before the Aggies closed with a four-point 39-35 lead at intermission.

In the second half, the 'Lopes opened the half with a 10-4 and took the lead for good on a 3-point jumper from Gerard Martin – his only score of the night – with 16:54 to play.

The game built up to a six-point 69-63 GCU advantage with 3:21 to play when the Aggies got an answer from sophomore Matt Taylor who buried a three to start a 6-0 run. NM State tied the game on sophomore Johnathon Wilkins jumper with 1:37 to play.

The 'Lopes answered with a Matt Jackson jumper and single free throws from DeWayne Russell and Joshua Braun to take a four-point 73-69 lead with 30 seconds left.

Aggie sophomore Pascal Siakam answered with a layup with14 seconds left, followed by a foul and Braun nailing two free throws with 12 seconds to play.

Aggie Ian Baker gave NM State one more chance, quickly hitting a 28-foot 3-pointer from the top of the key with 7.7 seconds to play to pull NM State within one at 75-74.

But the Aggies had to foul and that led to a free throw contest that was ultimately won by GCU as Braun hit all four of his free throws down in the last six seconds, while the Aggies went 1-of-2.

"It was a very good college basketball game. Great environment and good offensive play," said NM State head coach Marvin Menzies. "It was a great game to watch and a great game to coach. Obviously I was disappointed and our guys are down that we didn't get a win.

"It was one of those games where I though Grand Canyon was more physical than we were and took advantage of it. But we didn't play badly and I would have loved to come off this road trip with two wins but we didn't."

The Aggies outshot GCU 49.2 percent to 48.3 percent from the floor and hit 7-of-14 (50 percent) from the 3-point arc compared to the 'Lopes 5-of-12 (41.7 percent). NM State also outrebounded GCU 38-30.

But the game was decided on the foul line. The Aggies hit 10 of their 18 foul shots (55.6 percent), while GCU hit 18-of-26 (69.2 percent) from the charity stripe.

The Aggies got another strong performance from Siakam, who chalked up his NCAA-leading 15th double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds along with a blocked shot.

Aggie redshirt freshman guard Sidy Ndir came off the bench with 14 points, hitting 4-of-6 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the 3-point arc. Baker added 13 points with a career-high eight assists and a blocked shots. Wilkins scored 10 points with five boards and two blocks.

Braun led Grand Canyon with 23 points, hitting 14-of-17 from the foul line. He double-doubled with 11 rebounds for the 'Lopes. Grandy Glaze scored 15 points, while DeWayne Russel chipped in 11 points.

NM State now prepares for the Aggies first WAC game at the Pan American Center in 2016 on Thursday night at 7 p.m. by hosting Missouri-Kansas City. The Kangaroos are also 1-1 in league play after losing at home to CSU Bakersfield 83-72.