NMSU Men's Basketball Falls On The Road To Rival UNM 72-59

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A game-high 25 points from senior Ian Baker wasn’t enough Friday night as the NM State men’s basketball team dropped the first installment in the Battle of I-25 against New Mexico 72-59 at WisePies Arena.

Despite shooting 3-of-8 to New Mexico’s 5-of-6 heading into the first media timeout, a 3-pointer from Braxton Huggins followed by a lay-up from Tanveer Bhullar kept the Aggies within 10-8 of the Lobos.

After a 4-0 run by UNM (3-0) to take a 16-10 lead, Jalyn Pennie’s 3-pointer followed by a fantastic give-and-go between Sidy N’Dir and Baker brought the Aggies within 16-15 of New Mexico at the 7:41 media break.

Bhullar gave NM State (2-2) its first lead of the game, 17-16, at the 6:25 mark on the entry pass from Huggins. The lead, however, was short-lived as UNM’s Tim Williams knocked down both free throws to give the Lobos their first points in 4:50 minutes.

Down 23-17, a pair of free throws from Eli Chuha followed by back-to-back steals and lay-ups from the Aggie backcourt tied things up at 23 with 3:25 left in the first half.

Baker, the Aggies’ lone senior, finally found his stroke beyond the arc late in the first half and knocked down back-to-back long balls, giving NM State a 30-29 lead at halftime.

With the game tied at 33 after a third triple from Baker, the home team went on an 11-0 run before the Aggie bench called a timeout to try to cool the Lobos down with 11:50 left to play down 44-33.

Out of the media timeout, Baker snapped the Aggies’ 7:31 minutes drought without a field goal and started a 9-0 spurt to cut the UNM lead down to 44-42. The Lobos answered with a 5-0 run of their own before Baker’s jumper made it 48-44 with 7:28 remaining.

However, a scoring lull by NM State led to a 20-9 run by the Lobos and gave them their largest lead of the night, 64-51, with 2:12 left in the game. The Aggies were able to cut the lead down to 63-53 with 53 second left to play before falling 72-59.

Bhullar finished the night with nine points and 10 boards in his 2016-17 debut, while N’Dir chipped in with 14 points, three assists and three boards. Baker finally found his stroke behind the arc, knocking down 4-of-8 3-pointers

New Mexico State returns home to the Pan American Center with another quick turnaround as it hosts Bethune-Cookman for a 3 p.m. (MT) tip-off on Sunday, Nov. 20, in its second game of the University of San Diego Classic.

POSTGAME NOTES: Bhullar and Jermaine Haley made their 2016-17 debut for the Aggies Friday night while Haley also made his collegiate debut as an Aggie…the 25 points from Baker was just shy of his career-high 26 points back in 2015 at UTEP…the last time NM State had 20 turnovers in a game was against Wichita State late last season…the Aggies had a 10-5 edge in points off turnovers at the break, but allowed the Lobos to have a 15-3 advantage in the second half.