A second-half surge saw the New Mexico State men’s basketball team cruise to its 17th-consecutive win Wednesday afternoon with an 86-49 victory over Chicago State in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal game at Orleans Arena.
Wednesday’s win moved NM State to 28-4 on the year, tying it for the most wins in program history – matching the 2016-17 and 2017-18 teams.
The first half was a bit sluggish to Aggie standards of late. New Mexico State jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead after Chicago State (3-29) scored the first basket of the game. However, the Cougars reeled off a 6-0 run and got within 15-12 of the Aggies with 11:54 left in the first-half .
NM State extended its lead shortly after that and led 23-14 thanks to an 8-2 run between media breaks (4:10) capped off by a 3-pointer from Terrell Brown. NM State scored right after the 8:16 media break after Trevelin Queen put his defender on skates and followed with a pass to Johnny McCants for the two-handed jam.
Free throws in the remaining 3:57 of the half for NM State gave it a 35-23 lead heading into the locker room. NM State was able to take advantage of the boards in that first half, turning seven offensive boards into 14 of the team’s 35 points.
After exchanging some baskets to start the second-half, NM State reeled off a 16-0 run that lasted 2:56 minutes. After an Patrick Szpir basketball out of the 14:20 media break, NM State blitzed the Cougars once again – this time with a 16-4 spurt to push its lead to 70-35 on a 3-pointer from Mohamed Thiam.
Clayton Henry gave New Mexico State its largest lead of the game at 86-49 with 2:01 remaining when he drained a triple on a pass from Keyon Jones before the score stood final.
Eli Chuha led all-players with 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting with six rebounds while Brown had 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep. C.J. Bobbitt added 11 points of his own on 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range with Clayton Henry rounding out the list with 10 points and five boards. Ivan Aurrecoechea chipped in with 7 points and four boards while Johnny McCants had six points and eight boards.
BY THE NUMBERS
NM State once again had 12 players register 10-plus mins in Wednesday’s game, moving it to 13 games total this year…the Aggies converted 14 offensive boards into a 21-2 edge in second-chance points…NM State also dominated the glass, outrebounding Chicago State 45-23…the Aggies finished with 12 of its 14 players that saw action in the scoring column…NM State is now 20-3 all-time in Orleans arena with the win and 30-5 all-time in the WAC Tournament.
New Mexico State will play No. 4 UT Rio Grande Valley Friday, March 15, at 7 p.m. on ESPN+ inside Orleans Arena.