NMSU Men's Basketball Cruises Past North Dakota State 73-56 In Season Opener

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Dominant play from the get-go for the New Mexico State men's basketball team saw it overpower North Dakota State, 73-56, Tuesday night in the Pan American Center as part of The Summit League/WAC Challenge.

Led by JoJo Zamora and Terrell Brown's 16 points and 13 points, respectively, the Aggies never trailed from start to finish to pick up their first win of the 2018-19 campaign. With the victory, NM State is now 56-18-1 all-time when the home and season-opener are on the same day.

New Mexico State got off to a great start after picking up a thunderous slam from JUCO transfer Ivan Aurrecoechea to put the Aggies on top 5-1. From there, NM State shocked the Bison with a 13-2 run that was capped off by Mohamed Thiam's 18-footer and forced North Dakota State to call a timeout.

NDSU finally broke its scoring drought that lasted 6:15 minutes with 11:09 on the clock after Vinnie Shahid was able to weave his way into the paint for a layup. From there, the Bison were able to go get some shots in before an 8-0 run by NM State thanks to six-straight points from Eli Chuha had the Aggies leading 31-13. NDSU's Rocky Kreuser, who scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, tried to keep the Bison within range before the Aggies rattled off that 8-0 run.

AJ Harris gave NM State the 36-20 cushion heading into the break when he pulled up for a short-jumper with 48 seconds left on the clock.

Zamora was the first Aggie to reach double-figures Tuesday night 1:27 minutes into the second stanza with a nice jump shot in the paint. From there, both teams exchanged buckets heading into the first media break with NM State leading 47-28.

North Dakota State didn't have a bench player score until the 15:08 mark in the second-half on a 3-pointer from Tyree Eady. Moments later, Brown gave the Aggies a 21-point advantage, 55-34, when he drew a foul in the lane and knocked both free throws down with 12:34 left to play.

New Mexico State continued its offensive onslaught and registered its largest lead of the game, 69-45, after Clayton Henry's put-back on a Harris miss at the 6:00 mark before wrapping up the night with the 73-56 win.

Clayton Henry chipped in with eight points and seven boards while Aurrecoechea finished nine points and four rebounds. Harris and Mohamed Thiam each added seven points apiece for the Aggie office while C.J. picked up a pair of blocks on the defensive end.

BY THE NUMBERS
NM State outrebounded the Bison 47-31 while outpacing NDSU 22-5 in second-chance points...the Aggies were able to convert 11 Bison turnovers for 16 points while NDSU was just able to turn eight Aggie takeaways into two paltry points…the 23 points for NDSU's Kreuser was a career-high for the sophomore.

UP NEXT
New Mexico State remains at home this week as they host Battle of I-10 rival UTEP on Friday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. (MT) inside the Pan American Center. Fans can purchase tickets for rivalry game in person at the Pan Am Center Box Office, over the phone by calling 575-646-1420 or online at TicketMaster.com. NM State is 113-101 all-time against the Miners and 59-42 at home while winning the seven meetings dating back to Dec. 6, 2014.