DENVER (March 2)-The New Mexico State men's basketball team suffered a 66-60 loss at Denver. Senior forward Bandja Sy paced the Aggies (19-10, 12-4 WAC) with his fourth double-double of the season with a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Freshman center Sim Bhullar scored 17 points on a 6-of-7 shooting performance and blocked four shots. Senior forward Tyrone Watson was also in double-figures with 10 points and five assists.
The Aggies had a 28-27 lead at halftime at Denver. Bhullar posted a team-high 10 points and shot 4-of-5 from the field. He anchored the Aggies' inside presence, and NM State had a 22-8 advantage in points in the paint in the first half.
Sy added six points and a game-high seven rebounds. Watson supplied six points on a 3-of-5 performance in the first half, and the Aggies shot 47.8 percent from the field (11-of-23).
In the first half, the lead changed six times, and the score was tied six times. The Aggies largest lead of the half was a five-point edge, 22-17, when Bhullar connected on a three-point play at 7:44.
The Aggies scored the first six points of the second half to take their largest lead of the game, seven points, 34-27, with 16:26 to play on a pair of Watson free throws. NM State went on to lead until the 11:36 mark.
The Aggies were held scoreless for over six minutes, and Denver took advantage with a 15-0 run to take its first double-digit lead, 52-42, with 6:37 remaining. The Aggies countered with a 9-0 run to trim the lead to one, 55-54, at 1:51, when Sy hit the Aggies' first 3-point attempt of the game.
The Pioneers hit two free throws on the next possession and then sank a 3-pointer after forcing an Aggie turnover to extend the lead back to six, 60-54, with 49 seconds remaining. Sy then nailed another triple to cut it to 60-57 with 37 to go, but the Aggies couldn't close the gap.
The Aggies return to Las Cruces to host Louisiana Tech, Thursday, March 7 and UT Arlington, Saturday, March 9 in the final weekend of the regular season.