NMSU Men's Basketball Defeats Samford 58-48

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Timely defense down the stretch coupled with Eli Chuha’s career-high 16 points and 13 rebounds Wednesday night powered the NM State men’s basketball team over Samford in the opening game of the University of San Diego Classic.

“We have a lot of games and a short amount of practice time so it’s essential that we improve every single game,” Aggie head coach Paul Weir said. “We can’t go into a game letting the little things go. We fought through at the end and I like the way we’re defending.”

Neither team broke away in the first half, as NM State and Samford headed into the first media timeout knotted at 6-6. Sidy N’Dir gave the Aggies (2-1) a spark with 9:36 left in the first half when he drained a 3-pointer, free-throw line extended, to give NM State the 15-13 lead. A 7-2 run quickly ensued after for the Aggies and saw Samford (1-1) held without a field goal for 5:50 minutes. Wyatt Walker finally put a halt to that drought at the 8:41 mark. Both teams then exchanged a few buckets the remainder of the first half as NM State took a 28-24 lead into the locker room.

Marlon Jones scored on the Aggies’ first possession of the second half on a nice dump-off pass from N’Dir. A few minutes later, back-to-back jams from Jemerrio Jones and Braxton Huggins extended the NM State lead to 36-30 with 16:04 on the clocked.

Samford cut the Aggie lead down to two in two different instances, first at the 9:15 mark and then again at the 5:35 mark on the backend of two free-throws from Justin Hopkins.

The Aggie defense forced a huge shot-clock violation at the 4:34 mark in the second half. Then, on the offensive end, Johnathon Wilkins hit a crucial baseline jumper with the shot-clock winding down to give NM State the 48-42 lead. NM State capped off a 10-0 run on a short bunny from Chuha with 1:37 left on the clock before securing the 58-48 victory.

NM State finished the night shooting 39-percent from the floor and forced 19 turnovers. The Aggies’ ability to convert 19 Samford turnovers for 23 points, including a 12-2 edge in the second half, was critical in their win Wednesday night.

N’Dir finished with 10 points on a pair of 3-pointers while J. Jones contributed five rebounds and four assists.

New Mexico State now heads north to #Aggiequerque for the first installment of the Battle of I-25 at 7 p.m. (MT) on Friday, Nov. 18, against New Mexico. David Saltzman will have the call Friday night while Bill Herenda serves as the analyst on the ESPN3 broadcast.