DENVER – It wasn’t without its fair share of dramatic moments – far from it, in fact – but at the end of the night the New Mexico State men’s basketball team did just enough to put its first road victory of the season in the books.
Senior guard Shunn Buchanan drilled a pair of clutch free throws with nine seconds remaining which allowed the Aggies to make it a two-possession game, Trevelin Queen came up with a game-clinching steal on the Pioneers’ final possession and New Mexico State hung on to secure a 72-67 victory over Denver Tuesday night at Magness Arena. The win was the second-straight for the Aggies in the Summit League/WAC Challenge after defeating North Dakota State in their season-opener one season ago.
Playing the Pioneers for the first time since 2013, the Aggies came out of the gates scorching hot and constructed a formidable-looking 18-point lead in the opening stanza. Time and time again, however, Denver chipped away as they hoped to remain perfect at home.
Jabari Rice led the way with 18 points for the Aggies, while Queen chipped in 15. Denver’s Jase Townsend scored a game-high 29 points in the loss.
One stop remains on the Aggies’ three-game road trip: Dreamstyle Arena – known throughout the college basketball landscape as The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. New Mexico State heads there Saturday for the second round of the Battle of I-25 and it will tangle with age-old in-state foe New Mexico at 5:00 p.m.