Aggies sweep Utah State with 11-point win Saturday

Aggies sweep Utah State with 11-point win Saturday
Saturday, February 11, 2012 - 5:18pm

The New Mexico State men's basketball team defeated Utah State, 80-69, in Logan, Utah for the first time since Feb. 11, 2006.

The Aggies improved to 18-8 and 7-3 in the WAC with their first sweep of the Navy-clad Aggies (13-13, 5-6) since the 2005-06 season.

NM State had four players in double-figures with redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines leading the way with a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Hernst Laroche had 16 points and seven assists. Junior forward Bandja Sy supplied 13 points, while senior center Hamidu Rahman had 10.

The Aggies recorded a season-high 63.6 3-point field goal percentage. NM State was 7-of-11 from the 3-point line, the most 3-pointers since Dec. 31.

The Aggies ended the first half with a 15-2 run to take a 38-33 lead into halftime. Sy scored the last eight points of the half. He finished the first 20 minutes of action with a game-high 11 points on 3-of-3 shooing from beyond the arc. Laroche added seven points and four assists, while McKines supplied six points and four rebounds.

NM State started the game strong and hit its first 4-of-8 shots. The Aggies continued to shoot the ball well and built a six-point lead, 23-17, on jumper from Rahman at 9:58. The Aggie offense stalled and then went over four minutes without scoring.

Freshman guard Daniel Mullings jumpstarted the offense with a fast break layup and a steal and dunk on the next possession to pull the Aggies back within four points, 31-27, with 5:17 to play. That began the Aggie run that held Utah State scoreless for the final 4:53 of the half.

Out of the break, the Aggies controlled the second half until a Utah State layup tied the game at 65-65 with 6:44 to play. The NM State defense locked in and then only allowed four points in the final 6:00 minutes.

After the Aggies fell behind for the first time in the second half , 66-65, with 6:00 minutes to play, NM State responded with the next six points including a three-point play from junior forward Tyrone Watson. The Aggies concluded the game on a 15-4 run.

The Aggies return home to host a pair of non-conference games against Northern New Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. and Drake in the Sears BracketBuster game, Saturday, Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. inside the Pan American Center.

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