NMSU Men's Basketball Takes Down GCU 67-64

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

PHOENIX, AZ - The New Mexico State men’s basketball team battled Grand Canyon in a much anticipated heavy-weight bout Saturday night at GCU Arena and came out victorious by score of 67-64 to secure a two-game lead in the Western Athletic Conference standings.

The win pushes NM State’s win total to 20-4 on the year and 9-1 in conference play and made it eight-straight seasons with 20-plus wins. The win was also NM State’s ninth-straight victory after opening league-play with a loss.

After a couple exchange of blows, New Mexico State got hot from the field and went on a 10-0 run that was capped off by a smooth 3-pointer from C.J. Bobbitt to put the Aggies on top 18-12 with 14:08 left in the first-half.

However, the Lopes (14-9, 7-3 WAC) countered with a fury of punches of their own and scored three-straight possession to tie it up at 18-18 before JoJo Zamora found an open lane to the hoop that gave NM State the narrow 20-18 lead at the 10:54 media break.

New Mexico State got a jolt of momentum out of the timeout when Johnny McCants trailed Trevelin Queen to the lane for the put-back jam. The Aggies continued to shoot well from beyond the arc as AJ Harris nailed NM State’s fifth 3-ball of the game and pushed the lead up to 27-21 with 7:45 remaining in the half.

The Aggies took full advantage GCU giving them the boards and picked up their third put-back dunk of the night when Clayton Henry threw one down to give NM State the 31-28 edge with 3:45 left on the clock.

After the Aggies went up 33-28 out of the break on a basket from Eli Chuha, Grand Canyon answered with a quick 5-0 run of its own and tied it up for the third time Saturday night at 33-33. But, the veteran Chuha followed up Harris’ drive to the basket and snuck the basket in before time expired to give the Aggies a 35-33 edge heading into the break.

Grand Canyon jumped out of the gates in the second-half, blitzing NM State with an 8-0 run to take the 41-35 lead and forced an Aggie timeout.

The Aggies slowly chipped away at the lead and got within 44-41 at the 11:47 media before a Trevelin Queen scored back-to-back baskets at the rim – first coming on a wide-open jam followed by a tip-in to put the Aggies on top 45-44.

With a 48-47 lead after McCants hit 1-of-2 from the line, Terrell Brown went unconscious from the 3-point line and drilled four-straight 3-pointers and gave the Crimson & White a nice 62-53 cushion with 3:15 left to play.

However, like many heavy-weight fights, the home team didn’t back down and gave New Mexico State its best shot to the tune of a 6-0 run to get within 62-59 after a pair of free-throws from Michael Finke with 1:54 to go.

Chuha hit the front-end of his free-throw and put NM State on top 63-59 before Alessandro Lever rattled in a 3-pointer to make it 63-62 with 1:24 left to go. From that point on, Chuha iced the game the game with four free-throws to secure the 67-64 road victory.

Chuha finished with a team-high 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 5-of-8 shooting from the free-throw line to go with seven boards. Brown wrapped the night with 12 points, all from 3-point range in a 5:19 span. Harris added 11 points of his own while Henry pitched in with nine points and four rebounds.

Queen had a great night for the Aggies down the stretch and tallied six points with seven boards – five of which came on the offensive end.

BY THE NUMBERS

Both teams finished the night shooting 45-percent from the floor and 35-percent from 3-point range…NM State converted 14 offensive boards into 27 points and edged the Lopes in the paint 34-24.

UP NEXT

The Aggies now return home to the friendly confines of the Pan American Center for a four-game homestand. First up for the Aggies will be Utah Valley on Thursday for Valentine’s Day before hosting Seattle U on Saturday, Feb. 16, for another edition of Pack the Pan Am.