POSTED: Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 10:40pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 11:01pm
The New Mexico State men's basketball team snapped Louisiana Tech's 18-game winning streak, which was the nation's longest, with a 78-60 victory. The Aggies (20-10, 13-4 WAC) also handed the Bulldogs (26-4, 16-1) their first loss in the WAC.
Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings scored a game-high 23 points on 50 percent shooting from the field (7-of-14) and 80 percent (8-of-10) shooting at the free-throw line. This was Mullings' second-best scoring performance of the season.
Senior forward Tyrone Watson recorded his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds, which ties a season-high mark. Senior forward Bandja Sy added 12 points, and sophomore guard Terrel de Rouen provided 10.
With the win, the Aggies recorded their 26th 20-win season in school history along with the most wins in conference play (13) since joining the WAC. Head coach Marvin Menzies now has four 20-win seasons in his six years at NM State.
The Aggies had a 43-34 halftime lead with a balanced offensive attack. Watson had a team-high 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting with five rebounds. Sy added eight points, and sophomore guard K.C. Ross-Miller contributed seven. Mullings and de Rouen both had five.
Louisiana Tech raced to an 11-point lead, 21-10, with 12:28 to play. The Aggies answered with an 18-2 run to take a five-point advantage, 28-23, on a 3-pointer from junior guard Kevin Aronis with 6:49 until the break. The NM State defense held LA Tech scoreless for nearly five minutes.
In the rally, the Aggies converted on a pair of three-point plays from junior forward Renaldo Dixon and Sy. de Rouen also sank a triple in the rally to force the Bulldogs to call a timeout. The Aggies' largest lead of the first half was 13-points, 43-30, after Sy made a two free throws with 1:31 left in the half.
NM State started the second half strong with a dunks from Mullings and Sy to take a 47-34 lead less than a minute into the period.
The Bulldogs used a 12-2 run to cut the Aggies advantage to four, 50-46, with 12:59 left in regulation. NM State then scored the next eight to stretch the lead back to double-figures, 58-46, at the 10:37 mark.
Louisiana Tech pulled within nine, 60-51, on a 3-pointer with 9:05 to play. The Aggies responded with a 13-3 run for a 19-point lead, 73-54, with 4:08 remaining following a Mullings dunk.
NM State concludes the regular season against UT Arlington, Saturday, March 9 at 7 p.m. inside the Pan American Center on senior night and U.S. Bank/NM State Hall of Fame night.