POSTED: Saturday, November 19, 2011 - 10:55pm
UPDATED: Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 4:39pm
Wendell McKines posted a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds, and NM State dominated the glass in an 89-73 win over UTEP on Saturday at the Pan American Center.
The Aggies (3-0) outrebounded the Miners 42-27 and had a 22-13 advantage in second chance points. NMSU also scored 24 points off 16 UTEP turnovers.
“That’s a really good Aggie team,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “Their speed, their quickness, their athleticism, I thought was just superior. Really it reminded me a lot of the Memphis team we played a year ago. They’re just tremendous on the offensive glass. We knew that was their strength. You talk about it and try to duplicate it in practice, but their multiple efforts on the glass were a big difference in the game.”
Despite the loss, it was a gutsy performance by the young Miners (1-2), who had a severe disadvantage in both size and experience going up against their I-10 rivals. UTEP fell behind 6-0 in the opening minute, rallied to tie the game at eight, then went ahead for the first time at 21-19 on a three-pointer by Jacques Streeter with 9:24 to go in the half. The Miners maintained the lead until Bandja Sy buried a three-pointer with 4:30 left in the period, putting the Aggies ahead 33-32.
NMSU was up 42-38 at the half, then blew out to a 22-point lead (66-44) eight minutes into the second period before the Miners closed to within 10 points three times in the last five minutes. After John Bohannon’s dunk sliced the deficit to 78-68 with 3:29 to play, Tshilidzi Nephawe scored four straight points to give the Aggies some breathing room.
“I’m really proud of how our guys came out and the poise that we showed,” Floyd said. “We’ve grown from the UTSA game [on Nov. 11]. The score won’t always reflect it. But the stats do reflect this game. We didn’t guard the three-point line, and we had a hard time staying between them and the basket with their drives. A lot of that was just not being back on defense.
“They just whipped us [on the boards]. McKines is a tremendous player. We knew he was one of the better offensive rebounders in the country. We came out the start of the second half and didn’t show the poise that we showed in the first half.”
Bohannon and D’Von Campbell led the Miners with 11 points each. Cedrick Lang scored eight of his 10 points in the second half, while Julian Washburn and Hooper Vint chipped in with nine and eight points respectively.
Christian Kabongo (15 points), Hernst Laroche (15), Sy (15) and Nephawe (12) joined McKines in double figures.
Kabongo and Sy each buried three three-pointers as the Aggies shot 9-for-18 from outside. NMSU also made 28 free throws; the Miners attempted 27.
UTEP will host Stephen F. Austin on Saturday (Nov. 26) at 7 p.m. The rematch with NMSU is slated for Sunday, Dec. 11 at 3 p.m. in the Haskins Center.