Aggie Men's Basketball Edges UMKC 62-61, Wins WAC Regular Season Title

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

KANSAS CITY, MO - The New Mexico State Aggies locked up a share of the 2016 regular season Western Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday with a come-from-behind 62-61 win over Missouri-Kansas City at Municipal Auditorium.

The Aggies (21-9, 12-1) claimed its third WAC regular season title in 11 seasons. UMKC (10-18, 3-10) lost its third straight game and the second to NM State by one point this season.

It wasn’t an easy one for the Aggies.

After calling timeout trailing 40-31 with 15:59 to play, the Aggies answered with a 22-8 run over 10-and-a half minutes to an Aggie lead.

“The guys executed perfectly out of the timeout,” said NM State head coach Marvin Menzies. “We get a quick duck-in from Tanveer (Bhullar) and Pascal (Siakam) gets fouled and they got their heads back into it. We handled the pressure a little better in the second half and we got comfortable in our offense.”

Sophomore Pascal Siakam led the way for the Aggies with his 24th double-double of the season. The 6-9 forward from Douala, Cameroon, chalked up 17 points with 11 rebounds and two steals.

Junior Ian Baker posted 16 points with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals and hit one of the biggest shots of the afternoon for the Aggies. The 6-0 guard from Washington, D.C., buried a guarded top-of-the-key 3-pointer with 3:01 to play with the shot clock expiring to give the Aggies a 59-53 lead. It was the last field goal of the game for NM State.

Sophomore Tanveer Bhullar got his third double-digit scoring game this season. The 7-3 backup center from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, hit 4-of-5 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the foul line on his way to 11 points with seven rebounds and an assist.

The Aggies saw a final flurry from the ’Roos in the final 30 seconds of the game. UMKC’s LaVell Boyd buried a 3-pointer with 19.3 to go to pull within three at 59-56.

NM State sophomore Braxton Huggins was fouled before the ball came in, and calmly went to the foul line and buried a pair of free throws extending the lead to 61-56.

The ’Roos Martez Harrison drove around the Aggies for a layup with 11.5 to play, cutting it to 61-58. UMKC then fouled Siakam, who made one of two free throws for a 62-58 Aggie advantage.

UMKC got the ball to Harrison for a left corner 3-pointer with 2.7 to go, but the Aggies got the ball up the sideline quickly and the clock ran out before the ’Roos could foul to end the game.

“It’s always great to get a road win,” said Menzies “It was good to see how we handled the adversity and the response because that’s what you’re going to have going forward.”

Harrison led UMKC with 20 points, while Boyd added 11 and Kyle Steward scored nine points with nine rebounds.

NM State has one regular season game remaining next Saturday at UT Rio Grande Valley.

The Aggie had already clinched the top seed for the WAC Tournament. The tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas is March 10-12.