NORTHRIDGE, CA (KTSM) — After a 27-day layover, New Mexico State (NMSU) took the floor for just the second time in the month of December and there was some rust in their 66-63 loss to Cal State Northridge (CSUN) on Monday night at the Matadome.
The Aggies (2-1) led for the overwhelming majority of the game, but a late 3-pointer from TJ Starks gave CSUN a three-point lead with 20 seconds remaining, ultimately lifting the Matadors (4-3) to the win. Starks, who was 0-for-8 before making what proved to be the game-winner, finished the game with 18 points and six rebounds.
With the loss, NMSU’s 21-game win streak, which dates back to last season, is snapped. It will go down as tied for the longest win streak in program history.
“I don’t remember us losing a game where we clearly had it in hand for a majority of the game,” said Jans. “We just didn’t get the job done in the end. I certainly didn’t help them enough, we didn’t make smart basketball plays and we didn’t make shots.”
The Aggies shot just 31.7% (20-63) from the floor. Senior forward Johnny McCants recorded a game-high 19 points and pulled down eight rebound for the Aggies. UNLV transfer Donnie Tillman pitched in with a double-double (10 points, 17 rebounds) and Evan Gilyard added 13 points in a losing effort.
According to Jans, NMSU, who is currently calling Arizona home base right now due to state health restrictions preventing the Aggies from playing or practicing in New Mexico, will remain in California in hopes to schedule another non-conference game in the area. However, Jans believes his team needs a lot of work before they get back on the floor in a competitive environment.
“I don’t feel like playing any games right now, to be honest with you,” said Jans. “I’d like to go back to practice because obviously we’re not ready to play against good Division I teams. The thing that hurts me the most is how we lost. That’s not who we’ve been.”
As it stands, New Mexico State’s next scheduled game is their Western Athletic Conference opener at Dixie State on Friday, Jan. 8.