NMSU Men's Basketball Falls At No. 21/22 St. Mary's 92-74

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

MORAGA, CA - The New Mexico State men’s basketball team kept within striking distance of No. 21/22 Saint Mary’s Monday night at the McKeon Pavilion, but just couldn’t keep up with the Gaels in the second half and fell 92-74.

“In the second half, we just kind of wore out a little bit,” Jans said. “To beat Saint Mary’s, with as well coached as they are and as well schooled as they are, you are going to have to play really, really good. We felt good about it going into the game. We felt like we had a chance. They were just too much in the end.”

New Mexico State (1-1) got the jitters all out of its system last Friday, as it exchanged blow-for-blow with No. 21/22 Saint Mary’s (2-0) the entire first half.

After 13 of the 14 total lead changes in the first half, the Aggies found some spark from beyond the arc at McKeon Pavilion. Deep shooting from Zach Lofton, AJ Harris and Johnathon Wilkins saw NM State take its largest lead of the game, 29-21, and forced Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett to call 30-second timeout to gather his team.

Neither team was able to hang on to their lead for very long as both teams knocked down shot-after-shot. It wasn’t until 2:03 mark late in the first half that the home team took the lead that eventually gave them the 47-42 edge heading into the break.

Both teams shot well in the first-half with NM State shooting 53.6-percent from the floor to go with its .583 clip from three while Saint Mary’s was 54.8-percent from the floor.

The Aggies started the second-half with a 6-2 run to tie the game up at 48. However, a 14-4 run by the Gaels gave them a 62-52 lead that they never surrendered.

NM State got within three points of Saint Mary’s twice early on during that stretch, but it would be the closest it got from that point on.

Jemerrio Jones did his best to close the gap with nine of his 10 rebounds coming in the second half while Lofton poured in nine of his team-best 18 points in the second-half.

Three-point shooting kept New Mexico State on par with the Gaels in the first-half, knocking down 7-of-12 from beyond arc, but was just 1-of-9 in the second-half. That, coupled with foul trouble for the Aggie big men kept their bench limited.

Saint Mary’s top two returners in Emmett Naar led all players with 22 points while preseason All-American forward Jock Landale posted a double-double with 20 points and 10 boards.

Jemerrio Jones has now posted back-to-back double-doubles for NM State after scoring 11 points with 10 rebounds Monday night…the last time NM State had four players reach double-figures was against UT Rio Grande Valley on March 4 of last season…the Aggies only turned the ball over eight times tonight, the last time that occurred was vs. Seattle U (7) on Feb. 25…with the loss, NM State is now 0-22 against ranked teams since its last win against a ranked squad…Leston Gordon scored his first Division I basket with 25 seconds remaining in the game.

The Aggies now return home for a three-game homestand, starting with Battle of I-25 rival New Mexico at 7 p.m. (MT) on Friday, Nov. 17. Fans attending the rivalry game are encouraged to wear white for the WHITE OUT game against the Lobos.