HONOLULU – The New Mexico State men’s basketball team played well defensively and had plenty of great spurts offensively to pick up a 70-55 win over Tennessee State, Saturday, Nov. 9 in the Stan Sheriff Center. The Aggies are now 1-1 on the season and the Tigers fall to 0-2.
NM State was up by four at 54-50 with 7:34 left in the game before going on a 10-0 run to take a 64-50 lead with 3:36 on the clock. The Aggies really came together as a team during those moments and it was observable by everyone in the arena when junior DK Eldridge passed the ball to junior Daniel Mullings for a nice alley-hoop.
Mullings finished the night scoring a team-high 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting and Eldridge finished with 14 points going 5-of-7 from the field and 2-for-2 at the line. Two other Aggies tallied double-digit scoring figures with forward Tshilidzi Nephawe putting up 11 and center Sim Bhullar marking 12. Nephawe tallied a double-double as he pulled down 11 boards.
“I thought we did a really good job defensively tonight and on another note it was great to see our team respond and play hard after last night’s loss,” head coach Marvin Menzies said. “I emphasized free throw shooting today at shoot around and it was great to see us hit almost 80 percent of our free throws today.”
NM State went 22-of-28 from the charity line with Nephawe going 7-of-10 and Bhullar hitting 6-of-8. Guard Travon Landry was a perfect 4-of-4 and Mullings went 2-for-2.
NM State started the game taking a 9-8 lead then used a 16-6 run to take a 25-14 lead that forced Tennessee State to use a timeout. Senior guard Kevin Aronis went 2-for-2 from the 3-point arc during that run and Bhullar slammed the ball in for two points on a great pass from Mullings. The Aggies went up by 15 when Aronis hit a jumper with 6:49 in the half. NM State allowed the Tigers to creep back into the gameas TSU guard Michael Patrick scored two of his 20 first half points at the 2:49 mark, making it a 31-29 ball game. The Aggies finished the half with Nephawe going 3-for-3 at the free throw line in the final two minutes.
The Tigers’ guard Patrick Miller could not miss and scored a career-high 30 points as the Aggies were all over him making him earn every point.
The Aggies will prepare for a 3a.m. (MT) game on ESPN2, Tuesday, Nov. 12 against Hawai’i in the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. The game will also be on the radio with ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon giving the play-by-play action on KGRT 103.9 FM.