PORTLAND, Ore. (March 15)-The New Mexico State men's basketball team's championship season ended with a 79-66 loss to No. 17 Indiana in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines guided the Aggies (26-10) with 15 points and seven rebounds. Junior forward Bandja Sy added 12 points off the bench on 2-of-3 shooting from the 3-point line. Freshman guard Daniel Mullings supplied 10 points.
NM State shot 55.1 percent from the field in the game (27-of-49) and out-rebounded the Hoosiers, 23-21, but 17 turnovers hampered the effort.
At halftime, the Aggies trailed Indiana, 35-28. NM State shot 52.2 percent from the field (12-of-23) but committed 13 miscues in the first half. Junior forward Tyrone Watson and senior center Hamidu Rahman led the Aggies with six points each. Senior guard Hernst Laroche added five points, and McKines had four points and four rebounds.
After only hitting their first 2-of-7 shots, the Aggies sank the next 3-of-4 to trim Indiana's lead to five, 16-11, with 13:34 to play.
The Hoosiers had a 12-point lead with 9:47 remaining in the first half, but the Aggies kept chipping away and scored the last six of eight points in the period.
In the second half, Indiana built a 21-point advantage, 62-41, with 11:42 to play, but the Aggies responded with a 10-2 run.
McKines began the rally with a jumper. On the next possession, Laroche followed with a steal and an ensuing layup.
After a dunk from Mullings and a free throw from Laroche, Sy capped the run with a 3-pointer at 7:40 that pulled the Aggies within 13 points, 64-51.
NM State cut the deficit to 12, 65-53, on a jumper from Mullings with 6:53 to play but couldn't inch any closer.