LOGAN, Utah (Feb. 16)-The New Mexico State men's basketball team's 12-game winning streak was snapped with a 73-69 loss at Utah State.
The Aggies (18-9, 12-3) had four players in double-digits with sophomore forward Remi Barry scoring a career-high 15 points. Barry was 6-of-9 from the field. Senior forward Bandja Sy added 12 points, while sophomore guards Terrel de Rouen and Daniel Mulling contributed 11 points each.
With the Aggies' first block of the game, this year's squad set the single-season record for blocked shots. Freshman center Sim Bhullar's rejection gave NM State 142 blocks, which breaks the previous mark of 141 set during the 1994-95 season. Bhullar ended the game with eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks. He needs only two blocks to set the school record for individual blocked shots in a single-season.
The Aggies trailed USU, 40-37, at halftime after the first 20 minutes of play consisted of a big run for each team. Off the bench, Barry led the team with 10 points, which tied a career-high mark with a 5-of-5 performance from the field. de Rouen also helped the offense with nine points on 3-of-4 shooting.
The NM State offense started slow with a 2-of-8 shooting performance in the first four minutes. Utah State used an 11-0 run to take a 19-5 lead at the 13:36 mark. The Aggies rebounded with a 12-0 run to trim the USU advantage to two, 19-17, after Mullings converted a three-point play with 10:53 remaining in the first half. In the rally, both Barry and de Rouen nailed a pair of baskets.
USU had an eight-point lead, 32-24, with 6:22 left but the Aggies cut it to one, 32-31, when junior forward Renaldo Dixon sank a 3-pointer at 3:25. The Crimson and White went on to even the score at 37-37 with 45 seconds until halftime on a Dixon dunk.
In the first two minutes of the second half, the Aggies cut USU's lead to one on two occasions. USU then went on a 9-2 run to take a 51-43 lead with 15:39 to play. NM State answered with the next four points to bring the deficit to four, 51-47, at 13:54. The Aggies couldn't close the gap before USU used a 7-2 rally to take a double-digit lead, 71-60, with 4:06 to remaining in the game.
The Aggies continued to fight and made four consecutive free throws to pull within seven, 71-64, with 3:27 left. NM State increased the pressure with a full court press. Junior guard Kevin Aronis made a 3-pointer with 31 seconds to play to bring the Aggies within four, 73-69.
The Aggies take a break from WAC play and host I-10 rival UTEP, Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in Las Cruces.