New Mexico State runs past UTSA, 82-62, behind blistering shooting performance
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Bandja Sy scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and New Mexico State shot 68.6 percent en route to an 82-62 victory on Thursday night at the Pan American Center.
The Aggies (7-8, 1-2 WAC) held a six-point lead at intermission, but shot 77.3 percent (17-of-22) in the second half in posting a 44-30 advantage in the final 20 minutes.
New Mexico State blistered the nets for an opponent season-high shooting performance by making 35-of-51 from the floor and flirted with the opponent school record of 71.4 percent set by Navy on Dec. 2, 2008.
Kannon Burrage and Michael Hale III scored 14 points apiece to lead UTSA (4-9, 0-3 WAC), while Jeromie Hill added 13.
NMSU used an 18-0 run sandwiched around halftime to build a double-digit lead early in the second half to seize control of the contest.
The Aggies out-rebounded the Roadrunners, 36-18, and scored 48 points in the paint. Sim Bhullar added 15 points and four blocks for the Aggies, who blocked 11 as a team, while Daniel Mullings tacked on 14 points and six boards.
NMSU shot 62.1 percent in the first half, overcoming an 0-for-4 effort from downtown by scoring 22 points in the paint in taking a 38-32 lead into the locker room. The lead changed hands five times before a late 6-0 run broke a 32-all tie.
The Aggies then scored the first 12 points of the second half, getting seven from Mullings, to extend its lead to 50-32.
Hill converted a three-point play at the 15:55 mark to stop the scoreless drought at six minutes and 24 seconds.
The New Mexico State lead grew to 30 when Sy finished off a fast break with a dunk to make it 74-44 with 7:46 remaining. The Aggies led by as many as 32 in running their record to 3-1 all-time against the Roadrunners.
UTSA shot 40.4 percent (19-of-47) and forced 15 turnovers, but it could not overcome NMSU’s hot shooting.
The Roadrunners will return to action with a WAC road game at Denver (6-7, 2-1 WAC) on Sunday. Tip-off is slated for 3 p.m. (CT) at Magness Arena.