Aggies Edged in ESPNU BracketBuster
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  02/19/2011


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Feb. 19)-The New Mexico State men’s basketball team suffered its first defeat in the ESPNU BracketBuster series with an 82-80 loss to Northern Colorado. The Aggies are now 5-1 in BracketBuster games.


Junior guard Hernst Laroche posted a team-high 19 points for NM State (14-13, 8-4 WAC), while junior forward Troy Gillenwater and senior guard Gordo Castillo contributed 13 points each.


The Aggies trailed Northern Colorado (15-10, 10-3 Big Sky) at halftime, 52-43, with both teams shooting over 50 percent from the field, including nine 3-pointers from the Bears. Gillenwater and Laroche paced the Aggies with 12 points each, while Castillo added seven.  


The game was tied six times with six lead changes in the first half. The Aggies increased the defensive pressure after the break and didn’t allow a 3-pointer. With 14:57 remaining and down nine, 61-52, the Aggies scored the next seven straight points to pull within two, 61-59, on a layup from freshman guard Christian Kabongo.


NM State tied the game, 78-78, for the first time in the second half with 1:48 left on a Kabongo free throw. Then with under a minute to play and the Aggies trailing by three, 81-78, Laroche made a pair of free throws to pull NM State within one, 81-80.


The Aggie defense held the Bears scoreless on the next possession. Laroche directed the offense and drove to the basket and was whistled for an offensive foul with 4.2 seconds remaining.


NM State proceeded to foul and Northern Colorado made 1-of-2 ensuing free throws. With 3.2 second left, the Aggies raced down the floor and Gillenwater missed a shot at the buzzer. 


The Aggies return to WAC play with their final road trip of the regular season. NM State meets San Jose State, Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 9 p.m. in a nationally televised game on ESPN2 in San Jose, Calif.


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