NMSU Men's Basketball Falls Against Drake At Las Vegas Classic

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS VEGAS, NV - Despite a late push in the waning minutes of the game, the comeback fell just short for the New Mexico State men’s basketball team Saturday evening at Orleans Arena against Drake 66-63 in the third game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.

A slow start by the Aggies (9-3) coupled by a hot-start by Drake saw the Aggies trail 11-5 early in the game. However, the Aggies would find their rhythm on the offensive end and get within 18-15 of the Bulldogs thanks to a three-ball from AJ Harris followed by a put-back from Eli Chuha before the 10:42 media break.

Turnovers coupled with Drake’s consistent shooting in the first half saw the deficit get bigger for NM State heading at the under-eight media break, 25-17.

A 7-2 run by the Aggies out of that break brought New Mexico State within 27-24 with 2:34 on the clock, but poor shooting by NM State (7-of-29) saw it trail Drake 35-25 heading into the locker room.

New Mexico State saw its deficit jump to 40-25 right off the bat in the second-half, but a 3-pointer from Jabari rice coupled with back-to-back buckets from Harris and Ivan Aurrecoechea cut the Bulldog (9-2) lead to 44-33 at the first media timeout.

Two sequences after the restart of play, a steal by Zamora led to a put-back from Harris brought the Bulldog lead to single-digits, 35-44. The following possession saw NM State force a shot-clock violation that it was able to convert into a jumper from Zamora before Tremell Murphy scored on the other end for Drake ending the 7-0 run for the Aggies and made it 46-37 in favor of the bad guys with 12:37 left in the game.

The Aggies continued to claw at the Bulldog lead and got it within 48-43 thanks to a 6-0 run that forced a Drake timeout.

With NM State trailing 57-50 at the final media break with 3:55 remaining, a 10-4 run by the Aggies highlighted by defensive stops and timely shots. Terrell Brown drilled another shot out of that break that started the 10-4 run for NM State and was capped off by a lay-in from Harris with 54.1 ticks left on the clock.

Brown banged in another 3-ball for the Aggies after Drake went up 64-60, but that would end up being NM State’s final basketball before falling 66-63.

Brown finished with a team-high 17 points and six steals while Rice and Harris each chipped in with 10 points. Aurrecoechea added seven points and 10 boards for NM State.

The 32.8-percent shooting for NM State was its worst game from the floor this season as well as the 18.2-percent shooting from 3-point range…despite outrebounding Drake 44-31, the Aggies now move to 8-2 on the year when outrebounding opponents…the six steals for Rice is most by an Aggie since Daniel Mullings had five against #10/11 Kansas in the NCAA Tournament on March 20, 2015…NM state is now 18-3 all-time when playing in Orleans Arena and 0-1 when games aren’t a part of the WAC Tournament.

With the loss, NM State will now play the loser between Washington State and San Diego at 8 p.m. (MT) on FS2 at Orleans Arena.