Aggies continue winning ways

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By The Staff

Balanced scoring and another 20-rebound night from Jemerrio Jones saw the New Mexico State men’s basketball team overpower CSU Bakersfield Thursday night 69-43 at the Pan American Center. The win pushed Aggie win-streak to 10-straight with an overall record of 21-3 and 8-0 mark in Western Athletic Conference play.

Jones, who finished with six points and 20 rebounds for the second-consecutive game, added three assists and two steals to his line while Zach Lofton recorded a game-high 14 points.

The last and only time an Aggie tallied 20 rebounds in back-to-back games was Sam Lacey during the Final Four year (1969-70). He did so against Montana State and Air Force.

New Mexico State started the game off a little slow on the offensive end, hitting just 29-percent of its shots. 

The visiting Runners led for short spurts in the first 10 minutes before the Aggie offense woke up out of the media timeout with 7:10 left in the half.

CSUB scored first out of the break, but it was all NMSU after that thanks to a 13-4 run to end the half for the 31-18 advantage.

During that stretch, the Aggies scored 10-straight, despite shooting 0-for-8 from the floor, thanks to their 11-of-11 shooting from the line.

Both teams went back-and-forth to start the second-half, but the lead for New Mexico State began to open after Lofton and Las Cruces native Joe Garza hit back-to-back triples for the 48-29 lead with 11:01 left to play.

That bled into a 15-3 run for the Aggies before Gabe Hadley drilled a 3-pointer to make it 66-36 with 3:42 on the clock. Not too long after that, the Aggie bench was cleared before the reserves sealed NMSU’s final 69-43 victory.

The Aggies finished the night with 53 rebounds to CSUB’s 38 boards while turning the ball over just nine times.

This is the seventh time NMSU has kept its turnover numbers in the single-digits.

“They just put a lot of pressure on the ball handler and then not only that, the guys on the wings are in denial and you know they’re all in trying to deflect the ball and speed you up,” said Aggie head coach Chris Jans. “Normally they take a lot of charges. I don’t think they had taken any tonight which is kudos to our team for staying away from it, but they just really get into you and they pressure you and they play really, really hard and I thought for the most part we handled it pretty well. I mean to have nine turnovers against a team like that is a really good number.”

NMSU will return to the court Saturday evening in Las Cruces to take on Grand Canyon University at 7 p.m.
Earlier this season, the Aggies defeated Grand Canyon 70-59 in Phoenix behind 29 points from Lofton and 11 points from AJ Harris. Grand Canyon is currently third in the WAC standings with a 6-3 record, three game behind the 8-0 Aggies.