Thursday, June 30 2022

LAS CRUCES – If the start of a New Year is cause for celebration, then starting 2022 with a conference victory is reason to believe this year’s New Mexico State team has restored the wherewithal to earn Aggies.

Following:New Mexico State’s First WAC Game Postponed Due to COVID-19 Protocols in Seattle Schedule

The NMSU opened the Western Athletic Conference game two days later than originally planned after its Thursday opener against Seattle was postponed due to COVID-19 issues in the Redhawks’ schedule, but it started the second half of his season with a 78-61 victory despite everything.

After a slow start against Chicago State on Saturday at the Pan American Center, NMSU used a 17-4 run to start the second half to secure the split after only leading by four points at halftime against the expected School. finish last of the conference in the preseason media and coaching polls.

Following:Future prospects: projection of the final WAC basketball rankings for the 13 teams

Jabari Rice (10) celebrates after the NMSU Aggies' loss to the UC Irvine Anteaters at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces on Tuesday, November 9, 2021.

How did it happen

There is no debate NMSU has a greater collection of talent than the State of Chicago. The Aggies have five transferred players who have been given playing time at Power Six Schools. Cougars don’t. NMSU has eight players on its roster listed as 6 foot 6 or more. The State of Chicago has three. The Aggies have won 23 conferences in the past two years. Cougars don’t.

Following:Tickets and toys: 10-year-old says she sees ‘best game of her life’ as Aggie dominates northern New Mexico

But for the first 20 minutes on Saturday afternoon, Chicago State was on par with NMSU.

When the Aggies tossed the ball into the low post, a Cougar clan swarmed. When the NMSU had over three feet of space on a 3-point attempt, Chicago State closed the gap in seconds, even if it meant an occasional foul on a jumper. And when the Cougars had open eyes offensively, they logged in on just enough attempts to keep the Aggies within four points at halftime.

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Chicago State edged NMSU 41% to 28.6% of the ground in the first half and lost three-giveaway revenue margin despite ranking 346 in Division I in revenue per game but 11 made free throw attempts and four timely 3-pointers was enough to propel the Aggies to a four-point lead at halftime. But the Cougars’ efforts couldn’t keep the Aggies at bay for the full 40 minutes.

The NMSU’s 17-4 run in the first six minutes of the second half was the knockout that the Aggies were missing in the first period, and Chicago State was unable to recover. The Aggies beat Chicago State 48-35 in the second half, topped the Cougars 23-17, and topped them 58.1% to 32.4%.

Following:NMSU says ‘no change’ to attend matches and events at Pan Am Center amid COVID-19 outbreaks

the stars of saturday

All the Aggies in the roster have played for the third straight game, and all but first-year goaltender Cameron Crawford and second-year goaltender Levar Williams have scored. Junior Redshirt guards Jabari Rice and Teddy Allen led the Aggies with 15 and 11 points, respectively, and first-year forward Marchelus Avery finished with 11 points. Redshirt senior forward Johnny McCants has lost nine goals.

Chicago State first-year guard Jahsean Corbett led all scorers with 26, and junior guard Brandon Betson closed the night with 20.

NMSU graduates transfer forward Yuat Alok missed the game due to an illness unrelated to COVID-19, said NMSU head coach Chris Jans and associate head coach James Miller is on COVID-19 protocols.

Following:Chris Jans misses New Mexico Highlands game due to COVID-19 protocols

What was said

Jans on what prompted the Aggies 17-4 to start the second half: “Just a little more intensity on defense. I thought we had a little more hands, some deflections (second year guard Mario McKinney Jr.) really pushed the ball and created opportunities for the others and just changed the mood. People think every time we ‘Re down (at halftime) I go in there and I wreak havoc, and I don’t. We just weren’t making any shots . I said, “Hey, how many guys missed the layups?” And seven guys put up their hands. … But then the blanket came off the basket a little bit and we started making baskets. . “

Jans on the energy of the first semester of the state of Chicago: “I think if we were shooting their energy would have dissipated a bit but, but you have to give them credit. We have talked a lot about how their new staff (of coaching) has done a good job of changing. the approach, change how people view their program.… They were in a pretty difficult situation to start the WAC game, go to GCU and come to us, and the first two halves they were exactly where they needed to be. . “

Rice on the set of the first half: “I felt like my shots were going down and someone was hitting them every time. Like my layup (attempt) at the end of half – it was just me and the basket and the ball going out. … It’s just like, ‘What can you do?’ I work on this every day, and some days it goes like this, so you have to find something else to do. “

Jans on the environment inside the Pan Am: “… the hour board, the state of Chicago, COVID, etc., and (I) was really impressed, and I appreciate that they came out and I know our guys too, and j ‘hope that will be a sign for things to come once we have more WAC games. “

And after

New Mexico State travels to Beaumont, Texas on Thursday to face Lamar, who has yet to beat an opponent in Division I. Chicago State faces Seattle at home. Both matches will be televised on ESPN +.

Stephen Wagner is a sports reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be found on Twitter at @ stephenwag22 and reached at [email protected]

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