New Mexico State junior guard Trevelin Queen did his best Ian Baker impersonation at the Icardo Center Thursday night and drilled the game-winning 3-pointer and gave the Aggies the 71-70 victory over CSU Bakersfield.
The win gave NM State its fifth-straight win over the Runners and now 18-7 all-time over CSUB. Friday’s win coupled with UT Rio Grande Valley’s win at Grand Canyon sent the Aggies into sole-possession of first-place.
With 21 seconds remaining, CSUB’s Jarkel Joiner hit a pull-up jumper at the near elbow to put the home team on top 70-68 before Terrell Brown found a wide-open Queen for the game-winning three.
The Aggie (19-4, 8-1 WAC) defense was the fuel behind the fire in the first-half for New Mexico State as it jumped out to a 5-0 lead and forced CSUB to call a timeout just 1:32 into the game. Leading 6-4 after Johnny McCants hit 1-of-2 from the line, NM State reeled off 14-straight points to go up 20-4 at the 8:17 media break.
But, the home team didn’t lay down against the Aggies and answered with a 9-0 run of its own to cut the lead down to 23-15 – which forced NM State to call a timeout of its own with 1:45 left in the first-half.
A three by Trevelin Queen out of that Aggie timeout put NM State on top 26-17 before heading into the break on top 26-20.
CSUB (15-8, 6-3 WAC) continued its offensive production in the second-half and went on a 9-0 stemming from the first-half out of the gates on back-to-back buckets from James Suber. Terrell Brown stopped the bleeding after hitting the second of two free-throws to give the Aggies a 27-24 lead before Damiyne Durham hit two-consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game and give CSUB the 30-27 lead.
Both teams exchanged buckets soon after that but not before a 14-5 run to start the second frame had NM State trailing the Runners 34-31 at the first media break (14:31).
Queen swished a corner three out of the timeout and tied things up at 34-34 before AJ Harris went coast-to-coast after the steal to give NM State the 36-34 lead with 13:25 left to play. The game sat at 38-38 at the 11:32 media timeout but didn’t last long as Justin Edler-Davis completed the and-1 for CSUB out of the break to go up 39-38 and held that lead all the way to the final media timeout of the game (54-49) with 3:36 remaining.
After back-to-back scores from Harris to bring NM State within 61-53 of the Runners at the 1:33 mark, the Aggies went on a 9-0 run to tie the game up at 62-62 after Brown stole the ball from Joiner and slammed it home with 12 ticks left in regulation before heading into overtime.
Brown, who made the game-winning pass to Queen, scored three of the first five points for NM State in overtime at the line and finished the game 9-fo-14 from the charity stripe.
With the game-winning shot, Queen and Brown finished with a team-high 13 points while Harris and McCants each finished with 10 points for the Aggies. Eli Chuha also finished with seven points and 11 boards with four assists while Clayton wrapped up with eight points and four boards.
NM State remains on the road and now heads to the Valley of the Sun for a Saturday, Feb. 9, tilt against the Lopes of Grand Canyon at 7 p.m. (MT) on ESPN3 to finish out the short road swing.