LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Dec. 19)-The New Mexico State men's basketball team's upset bid of in-state rival No. 16/17 New Mexico fell short with a 68-63 loss.
It snapped an 11-game home winning streak for the Aggies (5-6) dating back to last season. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings paced the Aggies with 13 points and five assists. Senior forward Tyrone Watson contributed 11 points, while junior guard Kevin Aronis tied a career-high mark with 12 points.
Aronis hit a career-best four 3-poitners (4-of-5), and the Aggies made a season-high 10 shots from beyond the 3-point line (10-of-17).
After 18 days since their last home game, the Aggies were comfortable at home and shot the ball well in the first half. NM State made 6-of-7 3-pointers in the first half. The Aggies built an 11-point lead, 25-14, with a 16-2 run that spanned six minutes.
UNM (12-0) answered with the next nine points to even the score at 25-25 with 4:39 remaining in the first half. The teams traded baskets to end the half, and the Aggies were down, 34-32, at the break. Watson led the Aggies with nine points, and senior forward Bandja Sy added five points and five rebounds.
The Aggies regained the lead, 37-36, early in the second half on a 3-pointer from sophomore guard K.C. Ross-Miller at the 18:09 mark. Four minutes later, after the ninth tie of the game when Mullings hit two free throws to make it 41-41 with 14:34 to play, the Lobos scored the next eight points to take a 49-41 advantage.
NM State responded and cut the lead to two on two occasions; 51-49, with 10:04 to play on an Aronis 3-pointer and, 56-54, with 3:41 remaining after a Mullings free throw, but couldn't close the gap.
The Aggies returns to action when they host Missouri State, Saturday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. inside the Pan American Center.