Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The NM State men’s basketball engine that head coach Paul Weir has built continues to churn through Western Athletic Conference play as the Aggies throttled Chicago State 86-51 in the Pan American Center on alumni night sponsored by GEICO.
New Mexico State continues to own the second-longest active win-streak in the country with its 20th-straight win, trailing just Gonzaga (24). Its 39-straight wins at home during WAC play after Saturday night is also second in the country behind Stephen F. Austin (43).
With Iowa State upsetting No. 3 Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse today coupled with the win over Chicago, New Mexico State (23) now owns the nation’s third-longest home-winning streak at 23 behind Oregon (40) and Akron (28).
The Aggies (22-2, 8-0 WAC) had laser focus out of the gates, plowing through the Chicago State defense for a 16-0 lead until Trayvon Palmer scored at the 15:10 mark for the Cougars (6-19, 1-6 WAC).
With 7:53 remaining in the first half, the Aggies went on another offensive barrage – this time to the tune of a 15-2 run that included an alley-oop dunk from Ian Baker to Matt Taylor followed by a triple.
During the first-half onslaught, seven different Aggies recorded points while 16-of-20 shots were assisted on. NM State also knocked down 8-of-15 from downtown en route to a 49-23 lead at the half.
New Mexico State cleared its bench in the second half and saw all 11 active players score. The Aggies led by as much as 35 points (72-37) thanks to a breakaway lay-up from Taylor after Chicago State turned the ball over before ending the game 86-51.
Taylor finished with a career-high 15 points and tied his season-high in rebounds with seven. Braxton Huggins chipped in with 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from three while Baker added 13 points. Redshirt freshman Jermaine Haley flirted with a triple-double, ending his night with nine points, eight assists and six rebounds.
The 24 assists Saturday night was a new season-high for the Aggies as they finished the night shooting 53.2-percent (33-of-62) from the floor. Of the 33 made field-goals for New Mexico State, 14 came from beyond the arc.
New Mexico State now hits the road for a three-game road swing, beginning with a critical WAC match-up against CSU Bakersfield (Feb. 9) – who sits in second behind the Aggies at 6-1 in league play. NM State then flies to Phoenix for another crucial game at Grand Canyon on Saturday, Feb. 11. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN3.
POSTGAME NOTES: The 14 triples from NM State tonight was a new season-high and the first time the Aggies have reached the double-digit mark since hosting UTEP at home on Dec. 30 (12)…with 33 field-goals Saturday night, the Aggies have made 30 or more field-goals in back-to-back games…the 10 rebounds for Johnathon Wilkins is a new career-high while Haley’s eight assists is a new season-high…the Aggies have now reached double-digits in the assist category in 22-of-24 games this year.