POSTED: Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 10:15pm
UPDATED: Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 10:47pm
The New Mexico State men's basketball team defeated Utah State, 80-60, in its WAC home opener. The Aggies (12-5, 2-0 WAC) had five players in double-figures with freshman guard Daniel Mullings leading the way with 17 points. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines posted his 10th double-double of the year and 37th of his career with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
NM State had a dominating inside presence and scored 52 points in the paint with sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe tying a season-high mark with 12 points, while senior center Hamidu Rahman contributed 11. Senior guard Hernst Laroche added 10 points with six assists. As a team, the Aggies took care of the ball and only committed a season-low six turnovers.
The Crimson and White improved to 9-0 this year when the Aggies score 80 or more points. After a 34-34 tie at halftime, the Aggies outscored Utah State, 46-26, in the second half for their largest win over the Navy-clad Aggies since the 2007-08 season.
The first 20 minutes was a hard-fought half with six lead changes and 11 ties. The Aggies utilized their size and had a 20-point advantage in the lane, 28-8. Nephawe and Mullings led the Aggies with eight points each. Rahman scored six points, while Laroche added five.
The Aggies continue WAC play and host Idaho, Saturday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. inside the Pan American Center.