NMSU Men's Basketball Defeat GCU 81-69, Notches Program's 600th Win In Pan American Center

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - With six players in double-figures led by Jemerrio Jones, the New Mexico State men’s basketball team strolled past Grand Canyon, 81-69, Thursday night in front of a raucous crowd for the Pan American Center’s 600th victory.

The win now ties this year’s squad with the 1993-94 (16-1) team for the best start to a season. It was also NM State’s 14th-consecutive win this season and now chases the 1968-69 team that won 16-straight.

Both teams were evenly matched early on with both squads tied at nine heading into the first media timeout. However, a 15-4 run by the Aggies that included a 10-0 spurt that force GCU (10-7, 1-1 WAC) head coach Dan Majerle to call a timeout with New Mexico State leading 24-13.

The Aggies then tacked on another 18 points to take a 38-25 lead into the locker room behind 27 points from the NM State starters.

Down 38-25 at the half, GCU opened up the second frame with renewed energy and closed the gap to 46-44 at the 14:57 mark on a Kerwin Smith jumper.

From there on out, it was the Jones show as the 6-5 forward reeled off 11-straight points to give NM State (16-2, 3-0 WAC) a 57-51 edge with 10:21 left to play. A pair of buckets from Jermaine Haley, who finished with a career-high 15 points and six rebounds, sandwiched an Eli Chuha lay-in extended the Aggie lead to 61-51.

With 4:14 left to go, Jones pulled down a huge offensive board on a missed shot led to a triple from Haley. The junior then came away with block on the other end that led to the 73-61 lead heading into the final media timeout before NM State secured its 20th-consecutive victory.

Jones finished with a team-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting with seven boards in 26 minutes of action. Braxton Huggins, Baker and Matt Taylor each added 11 points while Chuha recorded his WAC-tying eighth double-double with 10 points and 13 boards – six of which came on the offensive glass.

New Mexico State returns to action this Saturday, Jan. 14, for a 7 p.m. tip-off for a rematch of last year’s Western Athletic Conference Tournament title game.

POSTGAME NOTES: The win pushed NM State’s home win-streak to 20 while also extending its home win-streak in conference play to 36…the 14-game win-streak gives NM State sole possession of the third-longest active win-streak in NCAA behind Gonzaga (16) and Kansas (15)…the last time NM State had six players score in double-figures was at Oral Roberts on Dec. 13, 2014 – NM State had seven players record double-figures in the season-opener against Arizona Christian…the Aggies have now recorded double-digit assists in 16-of-18 games.