LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State men’s basketball team extended its winning streak to four games with an 82-64 win over South Alabama, Saturday, Dec. 28 in the Pan American Center. The Aggies move to 11-5 on the season, while South Alabama falls to 6-7 overall.
The Aggies shot 63.5 percent from the field on the night, going 3-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc. Four Aggies were in double digits, as Daniel Mullings led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. D.K. Eldridge had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while K.C. Ross-Miller also recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. Tshilidzi Nephawe added 12 points for NM State.
Sim Bhullar extended his streak of 20 straight games with at least one block, recording one swat to go along with his nine points and four boards. Mullings also surpassed former Aggie great Randy Brown on the career steals list, recording two on the evening. He now is third all-time with 164.
The Aggies out-rebounded South Alabama, 38-24, while turning the ball over 12 times.
The Aggies quickly jumped out to an early 13-5 lead over South Alabama to start the game, going 6-for-9, with just under 16 minute to go in the half. NM State continued to hold the lead at 19-9 with 11:48 remaining in the half, as the Aggies stayed hot from the floor.
South Alabama would get as close as six point at 19-13, but the Aggies again continued the hot shooting, leading as much as 12 points at the six minute mark and 13 points at the four minute mark.
NM State ended the half on a 7-3 run, as Mullings scored the last nine points of the half for NM State. The Aggies went into the locker room leading South Alabama 37-26 at the half.
The Aggies shot 59.3 percent from the floor in the first half, going 16-of-27, while out rebounding South Alabama, 22-to-11. Mullings led all scorers with 13 points, followed by Nephawe with seven. Nephawe also led the Aggies with seven rebounds in the half. NM State committed six turnovers, while recording 10 assists and two blocks.
The Aggies started the second half on an 11-6 run, extending their lead to 46-30 with 18:31 left in the game. A 3-point bucket and a jumper by Eldridge with under 16 minutes to play gave NM State a 55-37 lead.
The Aggies maintained a 13-point lead with 11:49 to go in the game. NM State was shooting 72.7 percent from the field up to this point in the game, going 8-of-11 from the floor. South Alabama cut the Aggies lead to 10 at 62-52 with 9:32 to go in the game but NM State’s solid defense and good shooting kept the game at a double-digit lead at the under eight media timeout. The Aggies held a 69-57 lead at that point.
At the under four minute media timeout, NM State led South Alabama 75-61. Out of the timeout, the Aggies pushed their lead to 17 points at 81-64. NM State would add a lone free throw in the final few minutes, beating South Alabama, 82-64.
NM State opens the 2014 Western Athletic Conference season taking on Grand Canyon in Phoenix, Ariz., Saturday, Jan. 4. Game time is set for 7 p.m. Fans can listen to the pregame show at 6:30 p.m. with the Hall of Famer ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon.