NMSU Men's Basketball Routs Rival New Mexico 100-65 To Sweep Season Series

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Backed by the play of JoJo Zamora, Ivan Aurrecoechea and Eli Chuha, the New Mexico State men’s basketball team throttled Battle of I-25 rival New Mexico at home 100-65 Tuesday night in the Pan American Center.

The win moves Aggie head coach Chris Jans to 8-0 in his career against rivals and became the first head coach in NM State history to sweep both UNM and UTEP in back-to-back seasons in his first two years at the helm. Jerry Hines is the only coach in Aggie history to sweep both rivals in back-to-back season (1936-38, 1937-39).

New Mexico State’s (7-1) win also ties the program record for the third-longest win-streak against Battle of I-25 rival at five-straight (1954-56). The 35-point victory is also the third-highest margin of victory for NM State and the first 30-plus point margin of victory since the 103-73 victory at home on Dec. 5, 2006.

Aurrecoechea jumpstarted the Aggie offense, going on a 7-0 scoring spurt to start the game all by himself before Zamora and Chuha chipped in with points of their own. Before long, the Lobos (4-2) were staring at a 44-12 deficit before finishing out the half with the Aggies on top 50-22.

That Aggie lead was guided by 17 points from Aurrecoechea and 16 points from Zamora in the scoring column while Chuha had seven points and eight boards at that point.

The second-half wasn’t much different for the Aggies as they opened up the frame with a 16-8 run by the 15:51 media break. New Mexico State’s lead continued to stay in the mid-30s before a short jumper in the paint by Zamora at the 11:31 mark made it 81-41 in favor of the Aggies.

AJ Harris gave NM State its largest lead of the game 83-42 when he connected on a fastbreak layup at the 11:02 mark. UNM had no answer for the trio of Aurrecoechea, Zamora and Chuha all night. The Lobos would pull within 90-58 on a lay-in with 3:55 left to go, but it was futile as NM State walked away with a dominating 100-65 victory.

Aurrecoechea finished just short of his career-high in points with 23 and 11 rebounds on 6-of-7 shooting, including an 11-for-15 night at the line. Zamora had a season-high 27 points on 9-of-10 shooting thanks to a scorching 6-of-6 shooting night from beyond the arc. Rounding out the scoring column for NM State was Chuha, who ended the night 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.

BY THE NUMBERS
NM State held the Lobos to just a .212 clip from the field Tuesday night, the lowest by any opponent this season…the last time the Aggies hit the century mark was against UT Rio Grande Valley at home on March, 4, 2017, (107)…it was also the first time NM State has had a pair of players register double-doubles in a game since Zach Lofton and Jemerrio Jones did so against UTRGV (March 3) last season…the two times NM State has had two players score 20-plus points in a game was coincidentally against UNM on the road earlier this year on Nov. 17…NM State also dominated the boards, outrebounding the Lobos 52-31.

The Aggies now get a couple days of prep before they fly to the City of Fountains for a 6:30 p.m. (MT) battle with No. 2-ranked Kansas this Saturday, Dec. 8, in the Sprint Center. Mark Neely will have the call while Jon Sundvold serves as the analyst on the nationally televised ESPN2 broadcast.