LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Feb. 18)-The New Mexico State men's basketball team defeated Drake, 71-55, in the Sears BracketBuster game on ESPNU.
The Aggies (20-8) improved to 6-1 in the BracketBuster series for their 25th 20-win season in school history. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines posted his 15th double-double of the year and 42nd of his career with 25 points and 12 rebounds, which were both game-high marks.
Senior guard Hernst Laroche contributed 17 points on a 6-of-7 performance from the field including a 3-of-3 showing from the 3-point line. Freshman guard Daniel Mullings was the third Aggie in double-figures with 10 points along with a career-high five steals. Senior center Hamidu Rahman added nine points and a season-high five blocked shots. Junior forward Tyrone Watson also contributed to the offense with a game-high seven assists.
With a 5-of-7 performance from the 3-point line in the first half, the Aggies had a 40-26 halftime advantage. McKines and Laroche both had a pair of 3-pointers. McKines had a game-high 14 points on 2-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc, while Laroche added 10 points on a 2-of-2 showing from the 3-point line.
The Aggies also shot the well from the free-throw line and hit 75 percent from the line (9-of-12). NM State protected the ball and only committed five turnovers in the first 20 minutes of action. The Crimson and White maintained the lead in the second half and shot 50 percent from the field (11-of-22).
The Aggies return to WAC play and host Hawai'i, Thursday, Feb. 23 and San Jose State, Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. in the final two conference home games of the season.