MOBILE, Ala. (Dec. 4)-The New Mexico State men's basketball team collected its first road of the season with a 58-52 victory at South Alabama. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings led the Aggies (5-4) in scoring with 13 points.
Freshman center Sim Bhullar contributed 12 points off the bench for his third double-digit game of the year. Senior forward Bandja Sy recorded his second career double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds, a career-high mark, along with a vital steal in the last 20 seconds of the game. Sophomore guard K.C. Ross-Miller had nine points including two free throws to seal the game.
In the first half, the Aggies started strong and scored 15 unanswered points to take a 17-4 lead with 12:50 remaining in the first half. NM State extended its advantage to 17 points, 23-6, at the 8:08 mark. The Crimson and White defense was overpowering and held South Alabama to 2-of-14 shooting to start the game.
The Jaguars responded and added pressure that led to an 8-0 run, and they trimmed the Aggie lead to six, 25-19, with 5:00 to play in the first half.
The Aggies led South Alabama, 31-25, at halftime. Mullings had a game-high nine points at the break, while Sy added eight. As a team, NM State shot 51.7 percent from the field (15-of-29).
The second half was tightly contested with the Jaguars cutting NM State's lead to two points, 33-31, on a 3-pointer with 15:34 to play. The Aggies kept South Alabama at bay, and the Jaguars didn't get back within two again until the 2:00 remained, 54-52. Senior forward Tyrone Watson was fouled with 1:28 left, and he hit 1-of-2 free throws to give NM State a three-point lead, 55-52.
After a scoreless possession for each team, South Alabama had the ball with 33 second remaining, and the Aggie defense held tough with Sy stealing the ball. Ross-Miller then proceeded to sink a pair of free throws with 16 seconds to give the Aggies a 57-52 lead. Sy finished the game with a free throw with five seconds on the clock.
The Aggies have a break for final exams and then travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to face in-state rival New Mexico, Dec. 15.