NMSU men fall in close battle to Colorado State
Las Cruces, NM — Junior guards Daniel Mullings and DK Eldridge combined for 47 points and the NM State hit 59-percent of their three pointers but a last second layup gave the Colorado State an 85-83 win Saturday, Nov. 30, in Fort Collins, Colo.
The Aggies were down 77-68 with 1:41 left on the clock but stayed in the game hitting tough shots, which included a fall-away three pointer from Eldridge, who finished the evening going 6-of-6 from behind the three point arc. Eldridge walked off the court posting a career-high 23 points against CSU.
NM State was down 81-78 with 26 seconds left, but Mullings got the ball from freshman Travon Landry to hit another three making it an 82-81 ballgame. After CSU’s Daniel Bejarano went 1-of-2 at the free throw line with 12 seconds on the clock, Mullings took the ball to the basket and was fouled. Mullings would go to the line hitting both free throws to tie the game at 83 with seven seconds left.
The Rams sprinted the ball down the court and found their leading scorer, J.J. Avila, who scored on a layup with one second left.
“We didn’t have a timeout there at the end and it hurt us a little bit,” head coach Marvin Menzies said. “It’s a really tough loss, especially because it was a golden opportunity to pick up a good road win against a team in a tough conference. I am really proud of the guys because they just fought and made big shot after big shot. We did a good job fighting till the very end.”
The Aggies jumped out to an early 8-1 lead with 16:38 in the first half but a 6-2 run by the Rams made it a 10-7 game with 15:01 on the clock. NM State allowed another 6-2 scoring run by CSU, which put the Aggies behind 13-12 at the 13:01 mark. Colorado State went up by as many as six at 18-12 but used a 7-0 scoring run to regain the lead with 10:04 left in the half. There would be four more lead changes in the first half but the Aggies would head into the locker room trailing 35-33.
NM State shot 44 percent from the field but tallied 10 more turnovers than the Rams and had more fouls as well. Eldridge led the way in the first half with nine points while going 2-of-2 from three-point land and 1-of-1 at the free throw line. The bench accounted for 12 points in the half, while 16 of 33 Aggie points were score inside the paint.
NM State tied the game four times in the second half but could never get over the hump to take a lead. The Aggies were 7-of-11 from behind the 3-point line in the second half but CSU out-rebounded the Aggies 25-13 and scored 14 second chance points.
The Aggies return home to host in-state rival New Mexico, Wednesday, Dec. 4 in the Pan American Center with tip-off set for 7p.m. (MT). ROOT Sports is producing the game for television as it will also air on the radio on KGRT 103.9 FM with ‘Voice of the Aggies,’ Jack Nixon giving the play-by-play.
Call the Pan American Center Ticket office at 575-646-1420 for tickets that start at just $8 or go online at www.NMStateSports.com.