RUSTON, La. (Jan. 7)-The New Mexico State men's basketball team opened the 2011-12 WAC season with an 83-73 win at Louisiana Tech in the conference opener for both teams.
The Aggies (11-5, 1-0) are now 7-0 all-time in WAC openers since joining the league in 2005-06. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines recorded his ninth double-double of the year and 36th of his career with a game-high 25 points and 14 rebounds.
NM State had four players in double-figures with 14 points from senior guard Hernst Laroche and junior forward Tyrone Watson, which was a season-high mark. Senior center Hamidu Rahman also supplied 11 points.
The Aggies started the second half strong and made their first nine shots. NM State built a 15-point lead, 61-46, with 14:36 to play on a Laroche jumper.
At halftime, the Aggies sported a 40-34 lead when Laroche hit his first field goal of the game, a jumper at the buzzer. He had four points and four steals at the break. McKines led all scorers with 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Aggies scored 20 of their 40 points in the paint in the first 20 minutes, and Rahman and Watson contributed to the effort with seven and six, respectively.
NM State returns to Las Cruces to host Utah State, Thursday, Jan. 12 and Idaho, Saturday, Jan. 14 inside the Pan American Center in its WAC home opening weekend. Both games are slated for a 7 p.m. tip-off.