LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State men’s basketball team defeated Chicago State, 84-55 in the Pan American Center Saturday night.
The Aggies improve to 20-8 on the season and 9-3 in WAC play, while Chicago State falls to 10-14 overall and 5-5 in the league. The 20th win of the 2013-14 season marks the fifth time under head coach Marvin Menzies that NM State has reached the 20-win mark.
Renaldo Dixon led the Aggies with 20 points, while also leading the team in rebounds with nine. DK Eldridge added 17 points, followed by Mullings with 15. The Aggies shot 55.8 percent from the floor on the night while holding Chicago State to 40.4 percent.
“This gives us a frame of reference on what we need to do on the road,” said head coach Marvin Menzies. “We have a lot of little things to improve on and we hope to continue to move forward. We made adjustments at halftime and challenged our guys tonight.”
NM State set the pace right from the beginning of the game, jumping out to a 14-3 lead with 14:48 to go in the first half. Mullings led the Aggies with eight points during the opening minutes of the game. The Aggies continued to role, scoring the next seven points of the game to make it 21-3 with 12:29 to go in the half.
The Aggies maintained an 18-point lead with 7:22 left in the half. At this point in the half, NM State was shooting 57.9 percent from the field, while holding Chicago State to just 28.6 percent shooting. The Cougars continued to fight and got the score to within 14 points at 35-21 with 5:20 to go in the half.
Two monster dunks, one by Mullings and the other by Eldridge swung the momentum back in the Aggies favor, extending their lead to 39-23 with 3:57 left in the first half. Despite Chicago State’s best efforts, NM State continued to hold a commanding lead and went into the locker room at the half up 51-31.
Eldridge led the Aggies in the half with 11 points, followed by Mullings with 10. As a team, NM State shot 63 percent in the half, while holding the Cougars to 42.2 percent shooting. The Aggies also out rebounded the Cougars 22-12 in the first half.
Over the opening minutes of the second half, the Aggies and Cougars traded baskets, as NM State held a 21-point lead at 58-37 with 15:18 to go in the game. NM State continued to put their foot on the gas over the next four minutes of play opening up a 27-point lead over the Cougars at 66-39 with just over 11 minutes to go in the game.
The Aggies seemed to be on cruise control as they maintained a big lead with less than eight minutes to play in the game, holding a 69-43 lead. As this point, NM State was shooting over 59 percent from the floor. Mullings and Eldridge paced the Aggies.
In the final eight minutes of the game, the Aggies emptied the bench, getting some of the reserves valuable playing time. Dixon paced the Aggies in the final minutes of the game, scoring a quite 16 points with 3:32 still to play in the game, as NM State held a 75-51 lead. They went up by 30 with 1:51 after a Buovac free throw, giving NM State an 83-53 lead.
In the end the Aggies were just too much for Chicago State on the night, as NM State won 84-55.
The Aggies will be back in action on February 20 as they travel to Edinburg, Texas to face Texas-Pan American. Game is set for 6 p.m. (MT)