NMSU Men's Basketball Blow Out Chicago State 97-60 In WAC Opener

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

CHICAGO, IL - Led by Jemerrio Jones’ 10th double-double of the season, the New Mexico State men’s basketball team strolled past Chicago State 97-60 Saturday afternoon at the Jones Convocation Center.

Despite a good start to the game, a couple 3-pointers surrendered by the Aggies (13-3, 1-0 WAC) saw it trail the Cougars 12-10 at the first media break (13:13).

Jones teamed up with Eli Chuha for a nice high-low action in the paint and tied things up at 18-18 before five-straight points from Chicago State’s leading scorer, Fred Sims Jr., gave them a 23-20 advantage with 7:19 left in the first half.

Jones once again made another great pass, this time an alley-oop to Johnny McCants to cut the Cougar (2-17, 0-1 WAC) lead to 23-22 before going coast-to-coast himself for the 24-23 lead – which forced Chicago State to call a timeout.

After Jones tied things up at 26-26 with 5:28 left to play in the first half, a 16-8 run by New Mexico State led by Zach Lofton’s 10 points saw NM State go into the locker room with a 42-34 lead.

New Mexico State started the second-half with a quick 4-0 run thanks to Jones’ back-to-back baskets gave the Aggies a 46-34 lead behind the 13-0 run that spanned from the first half.

The Aggies grabbed their then-largest lead of the game at the 4:27 mark when Johnathon Wilkins found a wide-open Jones on the opposite block for the 86-57 lead thanks to some sharp-shooting from Gabe Hadley.

That lead would increase after back-to-back triples from Joe Garza off the bench before a lay-in from Leston Gordon put the Aggies on top 97-59 for its largest lead before cruising to the 97-60 win.

Jones continued to do his regular-thing on the boards and led the team with 18 points to go with his 16 boards. Lofton added 17 points of his own on 6-of-9 shooting while Hadley tallied a season-high 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting – including a perfect 4-of-4 effort from beyond the arc. Sidy N’Dir rounded out the list of double-digit scorers with 10 points and six boards while Chuha chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds.

New Mexico State pounded the paint against the Cougars with a 50-26 edge…the Aggies also shot 54.8-percent from the floor, the fifth time they’ve shot above .500 this season…the 40 made field-goals Saturday is the most this season and most since knocking down 41 against Northern New Mexico Feb. 14, 2012.

The Aggies continue to stay on the road next week, but luckily they’ll return home the following week for its first home game in 37 days. First up on the road trip for NM State will be Grand Canyon (Jan. 11) in a battle of the league leaders followed by a Saturday meeting against the reigning regular-season champion CSU Bakersfield (Jan. 13) Roadrunners.