NMSU Men's Basketball Defeats Chicago State 78-67

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Balanced scoring coupled with 42-20 edge in the paint saw the New Mexico State men’s basketball team get back in the win column with a 78-67 win over Chicago State Thursday night at the Pan American Center.

Chicago State went toe-to-toe with the league-leading Aggies (23-5, 10-2 WAC) in the first half, and on two separate occasions took the lead against New Mexico State. The last lead for the Cougars (2-27, 0-12) occurred at the 3:51 media timeout, 31-30.

A 3-pointer from Keyon Jones before that last media break started a 12-5 run to end the half and gave NM State then 39-36 lead heading into the locker room. N’Dir, who had a team-high 15 points on the night, had seven of those points by the first media timeout.

New Mexico State played with a lot more energy in the second-half, blitzing the Cougars with a 19-8 run for the 58-44 lead and 10:51 left to play.

Chicago State’s Fred Sims, Jr., single-handedly kept the Cougars within striking distance of New Mexico State the entire game, dropping 30 points on 9-of-11 shooting from 3-point range. However, 9-0 run by the Aggies down the stretch was too much to overcome despite his efforts.

Jemerrio Jones finished with his 16th double-double of the year, scoring 12 points with 11 rebounds and four assists. Meanwhile, Las Cruces native Johnny McCants finished two points shy of his first-career double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds. Six of McCants’ points came via dunks – including a pair of a highlight reel type plays.

Of the 12 players that saw action for NM State Thursday night, 11 found the bottom of the bucket for at least two points…it was the second time in three games that NM State knocked down 30-plus field-goals in a game…it was also the ninth time this season the Aggies have shot 50-percent or better in a game…Thursday’s lay-up was Kortrijk Miles’ first field-goal since hitting two at UTEP on Nov. 30…McCants’ 10 rebounds matches his season-high.

“Yeah, I thought Johnny was a bright spot tonight, I thought he had great energy. After his first run, I wasn’t that impressed but after his first run he responded well and got his athleticism into the game and he ran the floor well. He got some blocks and rebounds in traffic. I was excited for him. I thought Sidy played more of what we have been trying to get him to do and be more aggressive. Not just rely on the three and settle for the three, but get to the paint and the line more. Obviously he was 9-of-10 at the line, which was a bright spot in terms of the free-throw line. But, hopefully that will give him confidence and he doesn’t have to shoot the three to score for us, it helps us tremendously when he gets fouls for himself.” – Aggie head coach Chris Jans

The Aggies will play in their final home game of the 2017-18 season this Saturday, Feb. 24, as they play host to UMKC. Saturday’s 7 p.m. (MT) tip-off is also senior day with the program honoring Joe Garza, Jemerrio Jones, Johnathon Wilkins and Zach Lofton postgame. Adam Young (@youngpbp) will have the call on the televised broadcast while former Aggie assistant Rus Bradburd serves as the analyst.