The New Mexico State men’s basketball team wrapped up the 2018 home slate with a bang Wednesday night in the Pan American Center with a 92-57 routing of CSUN. The win also completed the campus site round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
“Just what the doctor ordered,” Aggie head coach Chris Jans said in his opening statement. “You know after our last outing against Northern Colorado, we didn’t play very well in the second half. I was hopeful that we’d play better today and we did. Had a little turnover game, only gave up 4 offensive rebounds, the ball went into the net at a better rate then it had been so it’s just what we needed heading into this tournament.”
Other than the first basket of the night by CSUN, the NM State (9-2) led the remaining 18:50 minutes of the game in the first-half. The Aggie offense was propelled by Keyon Jones, who drilled 4-of-6 shots from downtown for 12 points and the 47-26 lead at the half. Eli Chuha also had chipped in with six points and seven boards early on in addition to AJ Harris’ eight scores.
Trevelin Queen, who was recently cleared by the NCAA, picked up his first Division I points at the 10:26 mark with a put-back on the low block.
The second-half wasn’t any different for the Aggies as they went on a 9-0 run after the Matadors (3-8) scored the first four-points of the second stanza. That streak ended with a 13-0 run at the 14:05 mark when Lamine Diane sank a pair of free-throws for CSUN, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Queen and Harris pushed the lead to 66-34 at the 11:32 media break.
The hot-shooting hand of Jones continued in the second-half, knocking down back-to-back triples for the 78-49 lead with 5:40 left in the game before tallying his seventh 3-pointer for a new career-high at the 3:34 mark.
Robert Brown had great minutes off the bench for NM State, seeing action early on in the first-half before finishing with 10 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting night. Queen finished his second game as an Aggie with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting – including a thunderous one-handed jam on the fast-break pass from Shaun Buchanan.
Jones wrapped up his night with a season-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from downtown while Harris added 11 points and four dimes. Chuha nearly had another double-double, tallying 10 points to go with nine boards while Ivan Aurrecoechea added 10 points of his own.
BY THE NUMBERS
The last time NM State had five players register double-digit points came against UTEP on Nov. 9 of this year…the 35 made field-goals Wednesday night tied for the second-most this season (UNM, Dec. 4)…the 35 point win margin also tied the 100-65 beating of UNM at home on Dec. 4…the 21 assists is also a season-high for NM State, tying the 21 dished out against UNM at home on Dec. 4…the Aggie bench scored 73 of the team’s 92 points, which is 79.3-percent of the scoring…NM State also converted 13 offensive boards into 21 points.
New Mexico State now heads to Las Vegas, Nev., for the second portion of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic. Up first for the Aggies will be Drake on Saturday, Dec. 22, at 5:30 p.m. (MT) on FS2. Should the Aggies win, they’ll face the winner between Washington State and San Diego on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 5:30 p.m. (MT) on FS1. A loss would see the Aggies play either the Cougars or Toreros at 8 p.m. on FS2.