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Aggies fall at Chicago in big WAC contest
The New Mexico State University Aggie men’s basketball team missed a gaggle of free throws that cost it down the stretch in a critical Western Athletic Conference game Thursday.
NMSU went just 21 of 37 from the foul line, misfiring 11 times in the second half as it fell to Chicago State 86-81 in Chicago.
It was the first loss of the WAC season for the Aggies, who slip a half-game behind both Chicago State’s Cougars and Utah Valley at the top of the conference standings.
The game also snapped a 7-game win streak for NMSU (14-6 overall).
Aggie guard Daniel Mullings led all scorers with 26 points Thursday, but was one of the few Aggies that had a good showing at the stripe, hitting 8 of 9 attempts.
The two teams played even in the first half, but the Aggies struggled to start the second half and the Cougars (8-9, 3-0 in the WAC) took advantage.
The Cougars put together a 13-5 run to start the half. The Aggies answered back with an 11-2 spurt to retake the lead.
NMSU and Chicago State battled back and forth the rest of the way, with the lead changing hands six times in the last 11 minutes.
Kevin Aronis had 15 points for the Aggies, all from the 3-point line — NMSU shot 10 of 23 from long range — and DK Eldridge finished with 14 points.
For the Cougars, their leading scorer on the season, Clarke Rosenberg, had 20 points and Quinton Pippen added 19.
For the game, the Cougars shot a red-hot 28-for-51 (54.9 percent) from the floor.
In the second half, the Cougars sank 7 of 8 from behind the arc.
Lobos look to bounce back from Wednesday’s loss
The Mountain West race tightened up quite a bit for the University of New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball team, which will now look to redeem itself.
UNM fell in a critical early season contest to UNLV, 76-73 at The Pit, and now hits the road to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs Saturday evening.
The Lobo-Bulldog game is set for 5 p.m. local time on ESPN3.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Lobos slipped to 3-1 in MW play (12-4 overall) and are in third place behind San Diego State (4-0 MW) and Nevada (4-1 MW).
Fresno State has limped to a 1-4 conference mark.
Also Saturday, UNLV will travel to San Diego to meet the Aztecs, the only conference team currently ranked in the top 25.
Against UNLV, the Lobos fell behind by as many as 16 points in the first half. The Lobos cut that lead down to 1 or 2 several times in the second half but would never tie the score.