Las Cruces, NM — The New Mexico State men’s basketball team was outscored by 10 points in the second half and ended up falling 73-67 in Cowan Spectrum, Thursday, Feb. 6. The Aggies are now 17-8 overall and 6-3 in Western Athletic Conference play and Idaho moves to 9-14 on the year and 3-6 in league play.
The Aggies went into the half with a 36-32 lead, which makes it the first time this season that NM State lost a game where they went into the locker room at halftime with the lead. NM State struggled at the free throw line going 6-of-15 from the stripe and was out-rebounded by the Vandals 38-34.
“We have to keep after it and we have to find a way to shoot better from the line,” said head coach Marvin Menzies. “It’s a sad day when we don’t play Aggie basketball but you have to give Idaho credit. They (the Vandals) played great in the second half and we have to find a way to bounce back.”
Junior guard Daniel Mullings put in 20 points hitting 9-of-18 shots while going 2-of-4 from the free throw line. This was the eighth time this season that Mullings has scored 20 points in a game and he is now tied for 13th on the all-time scoring list at NM State with Charles Gosa, who scored 1,233 points from 1995-99.
Sophomore center Sim Bhullar saw 26 minutes of action and went 4-of-5 from the field for eight points while grabbing seven board and blocking five shots. Those five blocks gives him 150 on his career and he is only the second Aggie to ever post 150 blocks in an Aggie uniform.
The Aggies shot 45.5 percent from the field in the first half and held Idaho to 36.4 percent shooting, while Sim Bhullar and Tshilidzi Nephawe had two blocks a piece. Eldridge, who score the first two points of the game, finished the half with eight points as he was 4-of-7 from the field. Aronis led the Aggie scorers with nine points hitting 3-of-5 3-point attempts.
NM State fell behind 6-5 after an Idaho 3-pointer but regained the lead when Nephawe put in a lay-up with 17:04 on the clock. The lead would be exchanged three times before Mullings made a lay-up while getting fouled for a 3-point play the hard way making it 14-12 ballgame with 13:47 left in the half. The Aggies went on a 8-3 run that was capped off with a dunk from Nephawe to take the score to 22-15 with 11:03 left.
The Aggies took their largest lead of the game at 30-20 when Bhullar grabbed an offensive rebound and slammed it in for two points at the 6:30 mark. Idaho finished the half outscoring the Aggies 12-6 but NM State went into the locker room with a 36-32 lead.
The Vandals pulled to within one at 43-42 but Mullings came back with some aggressive offense making back-to-back buckets to give his team a 47-42 lead. Idaho then seemed to take control putting together a 14-3 run. The Aggies fell behind 64-58 with 5:32 to go and just couldn’t get a scoring run going to regain the lead. Mullings scored the final points of the game on a lay-up with 11 seconds remaining to make it a 73-67 ballgame.
The Aggies take on Seattle U, Saturday, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. (MT) in Seattle, Wash. with radio coverage on KGRT 103.9 FM as Hall of Fame announcer Jack Nixon will be giving the play-by-play action. The game is also scheduled to air on TV on ROOT Sports. Fans should check local listings for show times in your area.