LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – Not even one week into Western Athletic Conference play, just one team in the conference is without a loss in league action.
Yes, to the surprise of few, New Mexico State is that team.
Trevelin Queen led a quartet of double-digit home team scorers by netting a game-high 17 points, the Aggies drilled 47.1-percent (16-of-34) of their shots from three-point land and at the end of the night found themselves atop the WAC standings thanks to a 93-54 blowout win over Chicago State.
With a loss by CSU Bakersfield Tuesday night as well as Kansas City’s first WAC setback of the year over in the Lone Star State minutes after the Aggies put the finishing touches on the Cougars, New Mexico State sits as the league’s only team without a setback in conference tilts.
• Intent on dispatching the Cougars as quickly as possible, the Aggies did just that by showing no mercy during their opening barrage. Lethal offense was the home team’s recipe for success as New Mexico State started their first home game of 2020 on a 22-2 run over the first 5:54.
• Queen connected on two of the Aggies’ four downtown makes through that run while Jabari Rice and Terrell Brown each hit one from long range, too. In all, Queen generated 10 of the Aggies’ 22 points during the initial surge.
• After Brown’s first downtown splashdown of the night hiked the hosts’ lead to 20, Chicago State managed to whittle its deficit down to 15 points thanks to a 5-0 spurt. Ke’Sean Davis concluded that run with a three-pointer that trimmed the Aggies’ edge down to 22-7.
• From there, though, the Cougars would draw no closer for the remainder of the frame. Junior guard Shawn Williams drained the first of his three long balls at the 10:36 mark of the frame to hike the hosts’ lead back up to 20, 29-9.
• Rarely did the Aggies let their foot off the gas pedal and as a result their lead ballooned to as many as 22 points before the opening frame was in the books. Rice threw down a savage one-jam with 1:09 left to give the hosts a 44-22 lead and Evan Gilyard II ended the half by spotting Johnny McCants under the basket. The junior out of Las Cruces concluded the frame by tossing down a two-handed jam of his own to put NM State up 46-24 at the break.
• The Aggies could seemingly do no wrong as they shot .485/.389/.778 in the first frame.
• A bit of a lull took over for the home team in the early stages of final frame and as a result Chicago State creeped back into the thick of things. An 8-1 run bookended by three-pointers from Rajier Jones and Xavier Johnson shrank New Mexico State’s lead to 56-41 with 14:20 left, but after that brief span of offensive clarity from the Cougars the Aggies reasserted themselves.
• Rice ignited a 11-1 run with another fast-break rim-rocker and generated all but five of the Aggies’ points during that run. The redshirt sophomore wrapped up the run with a pair of makes at the foul line that made matters 69-42.
• Chicago State got no closer than 24 points closer the rest of the way and McCants pushed the hosts’ lead to 30 or more points for the first time with a fast break jam at the 6:28 mark.
• Much to the delight of everyone in attendance, it was the combination of hometown heroes Tennessee Owens and Bryce Rewalt that put the final nail in the Cougars’ coffin. Owens called buckets on back-to-back Aggie three-pointers before Shunn Buchanan fed Rewalt for a long-range hit of his own which made the score 93-52 with 49 ticks left.
KEY PERFORMERS/STATISTICS OF NOTE
• In addition to Queen’s double-digit scoring performance, Ivan Aurrecoechea (14), Rice (14) and Williams (11) each went for 10 or more points in the Aggies’ 15th-consecutive win over the Cougars.
• Though he didn’t score a point, Buchanan’s impact was felt in a big was in the passing game. The senior dished out a game and career-high nine assists in his team’s blowout win and helped his team rack up 24 assists on 29 made field goals.
• Making his first start in an Aggie uniform, Gilyard II finished with six points, two rebounds and five assists against his hometown team. The junior committed just one turnover, too, and as a squad the Aggies finished with only 10 throwaways.
• The win was New Mexico State’s 17th-consecutive regular season WAC victory and its 20th-consecutive triumph against a WAC foe.
• For Chicago State, they dropped their eighth game in a row. Xavier Johnson topped the team’s scoring charge by putting in 14 on 5-of-14 shooting.
COMING UP NEXT
• To wrap up their two-game home stand, the Aggies waltz back into the Pan Am Center Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. hoping to hand Kansas City its second-straight WAC setback. The Roos dropped their first league tilt of the season Thursday night at UTRGV, but are seeking their first win over the Aggies in Las Cruces. ESPN+ and the ESPN app will carry the tilt nationwide.