POSTED: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 10:46pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 10:46pm
The New Mexico State men's basketball team fell short against Arizona, 83-76, in its first home inside the Pan American Center versus a BCS school since December 2005.
Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines had a career high for the Aggies (5-2) with 28 points and a 4-of-7 performance from the 3-point line. He also recorded his fourth double-double of the season and 31st of his career with 10 rebounds.
Senior center Hamidu Rahman was vital inside with a season-high 13 points along with eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Christian Kabongo was also in double-figures with 15 points.
The Aggies raced to a 10-2 lead that included a pair of 3-pointers from McKines to start the game that forced Arizona to call a timeout at 18:11. NM State maintained the lead until halfway through the first half.
NM State pulled within four, 44-40, at halftime. McKines led all scorers with 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the 3-point line. The presence in the paint was strong for the Crimson and White with Rahman supplying seven points, and sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe adding six points and six rebounds. Nephawe finished with a season-high nine rebounds.
The Aggies came out of the locker room strong and tied the game, 44-44, on two free throws from Kabongo less than a minute into the second half. The Aggies had a two-point advantage, 53-51, on a McKines 3-pointer at 15:33. The Wildcats responded with a run and went up 10, 72-62, with 6:35 to play.
NM State cut the deficit to five points, 74-69, with a McKines three-point play at 4:45. At 1:04, the Aggies were within three, 79-76, after two Kabongo free throws, but they couldn't narrow the gap any further.
NM State returns to the road for a rematch with Southern Mississippi, Sunday, Dec. 4 at noon in Hattiesburg, Miss.