POSTED: Saturday, November 26, 2011 - 10:29am
UPDATED: Saturday, November 26, 2011 - 4:56pm
The New Mexico State men's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season to Southern Mississippi, 80-72, in the semifinals of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. The Aggies (4-1) meet San Francisco, Saturday, Nov. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the third-place game. NM State had three players in double figures with sophomore guard Christian Kabongo leading the way with 19 points. He tied the shootout record for individual free-throw percentage (100) with a 15-of-15 showing at the line. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines contributed 17 points, while junior forward Tyrone Watson scored 10. The Aggies raced to a 6-0 lead to open the game before Southern Miss responded with a 7-0 run of its own. NM State reclaimed the lead on a pair of Kabongo free throws, 8-7, and didn't relinquish the lead for the rest of the first half. The Crimson and White posted a 37-33 halftime advantage with a game-high 13 points from McKines on 2-for-4 shooting from the 3-point line. Kabongo added 12 points including a 10-of-10 performance from the free-throw line. As a team, the Aggies hit 83.3 percent (15-of-18) from the free-throw line in the first half. With 14:41 to play in the second half, Southern Miss captured its first lead of the period, 45-44. The Aggies responded with a pair of free throws, but the Golden Eagles hit a 3-pointer for a 48-46 lead at 13:53, which the didn't give up.