NMSU Men's Basketball Defeats Long Beach State 93-85

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Led by Braxton Huggins’ game-high 26 points and 4-of-5 starters reaching double-figures, NM State picked up its fifth-straight win Saturday night with a 93-85 victory over former Big West Conference rival Long Beach State inside the Pan American Center.

“I think offensively it was encouraging on a lot of levels,” head coach Paul Weir said. “I feel good about the trajectory of our offense. The way they guarded their ball screens, we wanted to attack and we did. We were able to get to the foul line in the second half where they went zone. It really opened some things up and we made some shots. I thought we were in a really good rhythm at that point and we were able to carry that in the rest of the game.”

The win Saturday night also extended the NM State home winning-streak to 15, dating back to last season.

Eli Chuha opened things up for New Mexico State, knocking down a fade-away 3-pointer with the shot clock at one, but a 10-0 run by LBSU ensued right after and wasn’t halted until Huggins’ hit a 3-pointer with 17:26 on the clock.

Five-straight points from Jones, including an offensive board and put-back at the 11:56 mark, cut the Long Beach State lead to 15-11 and forced the Beach to call a timeout.

After a 6-2 run by the Beach, Weir called a timeout with 7:37 left to play in the first half. The timeout sparked a 23-9 run for the Aggies that was capped off by nine-straight points from Sidy N’Dir. The run also included a 14-2 stretch for NM State at the 3:56 media timeout.

Coming out of the first media timeout in the second-half, the Aggies reeled off an 8-0 run thanks to a baseline 3-pointer from N’Dir which gave NM State the 58-45 lead. However, LBSU used an 8-1 run of its own heading into the 11:47 media break to bring them within 59-53 of New Mexico State.

Huggins then single-handedly pushed the Aggie lead to 67-53 after his eighth-straight point and second-straight 3-pointer forced Long Beach State head coach Dan Monson to call a timeout with 9:48 left to play.

Back-to-back baskets by Eli Chuha sandwiched a lay-in for the Beach, but a 3-pointer by Ian Baker with 7:14 left to play gave the Aggies their largest lead of the night, 73-58. The 49ers slowly picked away at the NM State lead and got as close as four in two instances.

The first instance came at the 1:01 mark when LBSU got an offensive board off a missed free-throw attempt, scored the basket and then stole the ball for a 3-pointer to make it 83-79. After Baker made his two from the charity stripe, Long Beach State’s Barry Ogalue weaved his way into the paint to make it 85-81 with 43 seconds remaining in the game.

From there, it was just knocking free throws for the Aggies as they traded baskets for free throws and secured the 22nd win over LBSU all-time.

The Aggies were impressive from the free-throw line, knocking down 31-of-37 attempts and dished 16 dimes while out-rebounding the Beach 38-35. As a team, NM State finished the game shooting 50-percent from the floor and 83.8-percent from the line.

NM State will get a full week to prepare for Battle of I-25 rival New Mexico as the come to town on Saturday, Dec. 10, for a 7:30 p.m. tip on Lou Henson Night.

Chuha finished the night with a career-high 19 points and seven rebounds on 7-of-8 shooting while N’Dir added 18 points on 4-of-9 shooting and 8-of-10 effort from the charity stripe. Baker chipped in with 15 points thanks to a 9-for-9 effort at the line with Jones rounding things out with his first-career double-double at the Division I level with 10 points and 13 rebounds

POSTGAME NOTES: The five-3-pointers from Huggins ties his career-high for the third time – all this season...the last time NM State had five players in double-figures was against Utah Valley at home on Jan. 12, 2015…win extends the home winning-streak to 15, dating back to last season…the 31 free throws was a new season-high for the Aggies and the second time they’ve made 25-plus in a game.