Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - On a night where emotions could’ve got the best of them, Ian Baker and Matt Taylor both had terrific performances in their final game on Lou Henson Court in front of the Aggie faithful Saturday night.
Baker posted 21 points with seven assists while Taylor, a redshirt junior who is expected to graduate this spring, put up 11 points with eight rebounds on 5-of-8 shooting to help New Mexico State send UT Rio Grande Valley packing, 107-81.
The first half of the game saw a lot of back-and-forth action with four lead changes and six ties. However, all that stopped when New Mexico State broke away for good thanks to a 9-0 run that was capped off by a jam from Matt Taylor.
Eli Chuha gave the Aggies their largest lead (49-36) of the first half when he threw it down on a lob pass from Jemerrio Jones with 2:25 left on the clock. The Vaqueros slowly crept back into the game, rattling off an 8-2 run to end the first frame thanks to 21 first-half points from Nick Dixon. But, that was not enough as NM State went into the break with a 51-44 lead thanks to a 34-16 edge in the paint and 11-2 advantage in second-chance points.
New Mexico State clamped down on defense in the second half and held Dixon to just eight points. Chuha scored all seven of his points in the second half from the stripe while Braxton Huggins knocked down 12 points.
Midway through the second frame, New Mexico State began its blitzkrieg on UTRGV. The most memorable moment during that run came on a pass from Baker to Taylor at the 9:00 minute mark, which brought the entire house down with his jam.
Jermaine Haley gave the Aggies their largest lead of the game, 105-75, on a fastbreak layup before tying their season-high of 107 which was coincidentally set two weeks ago against the Vaqueros.
New Mexico State will now turn its focus towards the Western Athletic Conference Tournament where it’ll face Chicago State in the quarterfinals at 5:30 p.m. (MT) in Orleans Arena.