The New Mexico State Aggies again showed why they were the cream of the crop in the Western Athletic Conference, as they knocked off Seattle 75-67 on Saturday. Two NMSU players posted double-doubles as a huge second half kept the Aggies on top of the standings.
Seattle played an excellent first half by every measurable statistic. The Redhawks took it to the top-ranked team in the conference, jumping on the Aggies with energy. They led for all but 4 minutes in the first half. Terrell Brown was, as usual, the leading offensive force. The junior had 12 points on 12 shots. No one else had more than 5 points for the Redhawks, but 6 players scored at least 2. They took care of the ball as well, only coughing it up 4 times.
We went to halftime level, however, mostly due to the fact NMSU spent a good amount of time at the charity stripe.
In total New Mexico State went to the line 16 times. Seattle was called for 12 personal fouls, which resulted in big men Anand Hundal and Myles Carter getting into foul trouble. Comparatively, the Aggies were only called for 7 personal fouls and Seattle only shot 4 free throws.
Outside of the line, NMSU didn’t shoot the ball very well or play a very good half. They turned the ball over 7 times and only shot 29% from the field. They did shoot 50% from 3 on 10 attempts however as we went into halftime at 29 all.
Questionable calls continued to be made against Seattle in the second half, plus the Aggies started to shoot much better from the field. Seattle hung in there despite that though.
NMSU scored the first basket of the 2nd half and it was a back and forth struggle from there out. The Aggies never had more than a 6-point lead. Under 3 to go, Seattle cut it down to a 66-64 game.
Jabari Rice hit a huge 3 to extend the lead to 5 for the Aggies before Terrell Brown took the ball down low and converted the and-1 finish on Rice to cut it back to 2 with 1:45 to play. One, of many, questionable calls were then called on Delante Jones of Seattle, allowing for the Aggies to knock down 2 free throws.
Terrell Brown drove to the hole with just 30-seconds to play and saw his attempt role in and out of the cup, keeping the lead at 4 and securing the win for NMSU. A few fouls and free throws later our score became final at 75-67.
Ivan Aurrecoechea finished with a team-high 19 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Rice helped the cause posting his own double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Despite missing the big layup, Terrell Brown had another solid game for Seattle. He finished with 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. His supporting cast wasn’t quite as helpful, Jones (11pts) and Means (10pts) were the only other Redhawks to score in double figures. No other SU player had more than six.
“New Mexico State showed why they’re the champions,” coach Hayford said. “It was a one-possession game going down the stretch and they put it away.”
With the loss, Seattle drops back to .5oo on the season at 10-10. They also go to 3-2 in conference play. The Aggies now lead the all-time series 17-3 and haven’t lost to the Redhawks since Feb. 17th 2018.
Seattle heads the road for Arizona on January 23rd as they take on Grand Canyon. The Lopes have been possibly the biggest disappointment of the Western Athletic Conference so far, as many had them projected to give NMSU a run for the top spot. They currently sit at 6-11 and 1-2 in the conference.
The Redhawks will then take on CSU Bakersfield in California to end their 2-game road trip.