Turnovers plague Aggies in rivalry loss to Lobos

NMSU

Photo Courtesy: NM State Athletics

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KTSM) – Trevelin Queen put in a team-high 19 points and hit a pair of three-pointers to help the New Mexico State men’s basketball team overcome a seven-point deficit midway through the second half, but New Mexico limited the Aggies to just six field goal makes in the last 11:45 in order to claim a 69-62 victory Saturday evening at The Pit. 

New Mexico State opened up a lead of seven points in the first half as they went on a search for revenge against the Lobos after a home loss to their in-state rivals in November. Unfortunately, a 12-0 Lobo run that spanned the first and seconds halves as well as a 16-for-20 effort from the free throw line during the second half for the hosts were the biggest factors going against the Aggies in their second-straight loss to New Mexico. 

FIRST HALF
• Four of the game’s first five points went to the Lobos, but the Aggies answered the hosts’ early scoring spree with an 11-2 run of their own. A quartet of New Mexico State players put in points with William McNair ending the run with a layup that pushed the Aggies’ lead to 12-6 with 13:35 left in the frame. 
• The Lobos responded with a 15-6 run to regain control, but after Carlton Bragg’s two makes at the foul line put the hosts ahead 21-18 with 7:14 left, Johnny McCants and Jabari Rice joined forces in order to both quiet the surly congregation of Lobo backers in The Pit and push the visitors’ lead to its largest of the night. 
• McCants drilled three-pointers on back-to-back possessions – and in the exact same spot – to turn a three-point Aggie deficit into a three-point edge for the visitors. 
• Staked to a 24-21 lead after McCants’ downtown outburst, the Aggies turned to Rice from there to lead even further. The redshirt sophomore followed up a free throw make by Queen with downtown makes on back-to-back Aggie possessions to push the visitors’ lead to 31-35. 
• A pump fake by Rice led to the end of his personal run of eight straight New Mexico State points as a layup hiked the Aggies’ lead to 33-26 with 2:10 to go in the frame. 
• That layup was the last bucket the Aggies would score for the remainder of the first half, however, as New Mexico closed out the half on a 5-0 run to cut the visitors’ lead to 33-31 at the break. 

SECOND HALF
• The momentum the home team gathered up at the end of the first half carried over to the deciding frame as Vance Jackson capped a 7-0 New Mexico run to start the half with a three-pointer and a layup. 
• On their heels after the Lobos’ 12-0 run that spanned the two frames, New Mexico State countered with a layup from Aurrecoechea. That score, however, was followed with back-to-back two-handed dunks by Carlton Bragg that hiked the hosts’ lead to 42-35 with 15:38 left. 
• Unfazed by The Pit’s noise following those dunks, the Aggies responded by going on an 11-2 run to retake the lead. Queen splashed two three-pointers to close out that surge and his second downtown make handed the visitors a 47-44 edge with 11:47 to go.
• Once again, the Lobos responded. Four different players put in points during the home team’s 9-0 run over the next 2:22 to take the lead for good. JaQuan Lyle ended the run with a pair of makes at the foul stripe. 
• Terrell Brown finished off a 7-1 New Mexico State run with a corner three-pointer that cut the Lobos’ lead to 55-54 with 5:11 left, but that was the last field goal the Aggies would hit for a stretch of over four minutes. 
• Six of the next eight points on the Lobos’ 8-0 run came at the foul line, helping the home team up its edge to a game-high nine (63-54) with 54 seconds to go. 
• Aurrecoechea ended the 8-0 run with an uncontested layup, but the Lobos closed out the game by going 6-for-8 at the free throw line. 

KEY PERFORMERS/STATISTICS OF NOTE
• New Mexico State did manage to win the battle of the boards, out-rebounding the Lobos by a 35-33 margin, but over half of the home team’s rebounds went into the hands of Bragg. The forward finished with a 17-point, 17-rebound double-double and totaled four of the team’s 14 steals, too. 
• Queen came close to a triple double in the loss, generating a team-high 19 points to go along with seven rebounds and a career-high eight assists. The Aggies’ senior was one of four players who finished with double-digit points and joining him with 10 or more was Aurrecoechea, Rice (10) and McCants (10). 
• Aurrecoechea went a perfect 5-for-5 from the field while McCants hauled in a team-high nine rebounds to finish one shy of a double-double. 
• The free throw line benefitted the Lobos much more than the Aggies. New Mexico went 23-of-28 (82.1-percent) from the foul line while the Aggies converted just four of their 10 tries from that distance. By himself, Bragg went 9-of-10 (90-percent) from the stripe for the Lobos. 

COMING UP NEXT
• Down to three non-conference regular season games on their schedule, the Aggies return to the Pan Am Center Wednesday night for a showdown with SWAC adversary Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Tip-off in the seventh meeting between the Aggies and Golden Lions has been set for 7:00 p.m. and the clash will be carried on the WAC Digital Network.

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