Bakersfield Stunds Aggies At The Buzzer 57-54 in WAC Tournament Final

Photos of the men's championship game between No. 1 NM State and No. 2 CSU Bakersfield. (Photos by Mark Nessia)

Posted by Western Athletic Conference on Saturday, March 12, 2016

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS VEGAS, NV - In a case of déjà vu but with a mirror image, CSU Bakersfield’s Dedrick Basile buried a 26-foot 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds to play to break the New Mexico State Aggies hold on the WAC Tournament Championship with a 57-54 win at the Orleans Arena Saturday night.

The Aggies (23-10) fell in the tournament championship game for the first time since winning four straight titles starting in 2012. For CSU Bakersfield (24-8) it was their first WAC Tournament win and the ’Runners first victory over NM State in 12 tries.

“That was a heart-wrenching three,” said NM State head coach Marvin Menzies. “But (CSUB) earned the win. They played really good basketball when they needed to in spurts. They needed big shots and got them every time.”

The Aggies played from behind all night, but turned it on late and got the game tied for the first time since 10-all when Tanveer Bhullar hit one of two free throws with 13 seconds to play to knot the game at 54-all. Then came Basile’s dagger.

“I’m very proud of my guys,” said NM State head coach Marvin Menzies. “When baskets just weren’t dropping – point blank baskets that we normally make just weren’t dropping – it kept us from getting our offense going. We’d been playing some pretty good offense against pressure, but it wasn’t meant to be tonight.”

The Aggies were led by the 7-3 sophomore Bhullar, who came off the bench with his second career double-double of 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Sophomore Braxton Huggins also came off the bench with 11 points with seven rebounds to match sophomore Pascal Siakam. Junior Ian Baker scored 10 points as well for the Aggies. Siakam and Baker were selected to the All-WAC Tournament team

Basile led CSUB with 18 points, while Damiyne Durham collected 15 points with nine rebounds. Jaylin Arrington scored 12 points for the ‘’Runners. The trio were named to the WAC All-Tournament team, with Basile as the most valuable player.

The loss ended the Aggies dreams of winning a fifth-straight tournament title and the NCAA Tournament bid that goes with it.

Instead the Aggies will be awarded the automatic bid to the NIT for winning the regular season WAC Championship.

“We still have our goals in front of us of winning some postseason games with the automatic bid to the NIT. It’s hard to think of that now, but we will refocus. We’ll move forward, we’ve got some character kids and we’ll bounce back,” said Menzies.

The NIT bracket selection will be announced on Sunday night at 6:30 Mountain time. The selection show will air on ESPNU.