The New Mexico State men’s basketball team woke up in the second-half of the game and outscored CSU Bakersfield 51-33 to complete the 73-62 come from behind victory over the Runners Saturday evening in the Pan American Center.
“Woo! That was a grinder,” Aggie head coach Chris Jans in his opening statement of the postgame presser. “Obviously we didn’t get off to a very good start, they jumped us early, killing us on the backboards and we were struggling to just pass and catch the ball. Their pressure really got to us. We certainly talked about that stuff leading up to the game, but it was a quick turnaround after a hard-fought game the night before so we couldn’t do a whole heck of a lot – which is par for the course Thursday, Saturday but they came out and got after us. I thought Terrell’s three at halftime was a big, big shot. It gave us a little bit of momentum going into halftime and then we came out and played better. “I told them, ‘this crowd will get behind you, but you’ve got to give them something to cheer for,’ and I thought we made some mini runs, the crowd got back into the game and then we made enough shots and free throws to find a way to win the game.”
A slow start coupled with shots not going down the basket once again plagued New Mexico State (13-4, 2-1 WAC) in the first half as it went into the break down 29-22 thanks to a triple from Terrell Brown as time expired.
After an 11-0 run by the Runners (11-5, 3-1 WAC) out of the second media break, NM State called a timeout to stop the bleeding. However, CSUB extended its lead after knocking down a three from the wing before the three-ball from Brown got the Aggies within 29-22 at halftime.
The second-half started much better for the Aggies, in all facets, and jumped out to a 13-7 run to get within 36-35 of CSUB at the 15:50 mark before free-throws from Brown tied it up 10 seconds out of the break after hitting 1-of-2 from the line. Shunn Buchanan, who started in place of a sick AJ Harris, gave NM State a huge boost when he connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to get NM State within 36-33 of CSUB before Brown took over.
On the next sequences, Brown gave New Mexico State its first lead of the game when he connected on a both shots at the line and then made it a 40-36 lead for the Aggies on the fastbreak lay-up.
From there the two teams exchanged baskets and leads, four to be exact, before 9-0 a run by New Mexico State capped off by free throws from Eli Chuha gave the Aggies a 61-54 lead that it never relinquished.
Brown’s 19 points tied CSUB’s Rickey Holden for the game-high while pulling down eight boards for a new season-high and one off his career-best. Buchanan played one of the best games of his career since donning the Crimson & White with 12 points and four rebounds to go with a season-high eight assists. Chuha wrapped up the evening with his third double-double of the season, posting 10 points and 11 rebounds while Jones added seven points and five boards.
BY THE NUMBERS
NM State moves to 4-1 now when being outrebounded by their opponents after dropping the battle of the boards 37-36 – including a 17-9 disadvantage on the offensive glass for the first time ever…NM State shot just 29.2-percent from the field in the first half and finished with a .447 clip thanks to a 14-of-23 second-half – eight of which was from 3-point range…NM State was 0-3 when trailing at the half coming into the weekend and have won its last two games down at half.
The Aggies now hit the road once again and will first take on Seattle U at 8 p.m. (MT) on ESPN+. Mychal Clanton will have the call on the broadcast while Sed Bonner serves as the analyst.