(Courtesy: NMSU Athletics)
SANTA CLARA, California - In a game in which the Aggies (4-3, 0-0 WAC) matched their season-high in threes made, they need just one more to fall as they fell 66-65 on the road at Santa Clara (8-2, 0-0 WCC) on Wednesday evening.
"We had a point in that game where I looked at them and said 'We're not going to quit.' . . . We just continued to fight so I'm really proud of how these guys fought and I couldn't ask much more of them tonight."
Do-it-all guard Deshawndre Washington led the way in the scoring column for the Aggies as he posted 20 points while going 4-of-7 from beyond the arc to go along with eight rebounds. Washington's backcourt mates Xavier Pinson and DaJuan Quaye Gordon also reached double figures as they finished with 14 and 11, respectively. Pinson also chipped in seven assists while Gordon pulled down seven rebounds.
As a unit, the Aggies shot 39.4% (13-33) from three-point land while scoring 16 points off 17 Santa Clara turnovers. The Broncos turned in a shooting percentage of 43% on the night and used their size to out-rebound the Aggies by eight (42-34).
The majority of Santa Clara's offensive production came from a trio of its starters as Brandin Podziemski, Keshawn Justice and Carlos Stewart combined to score 50 of the team's 66 points.
- Following Santa Clara starting the scoring, James Beck put the Aggies on the board with just his second three-pointer of his career.
- The Aggies' second bucket also came from beyond the arc as Deshawndre Washington hit his first three of the contest at the 18:15 mark to put NM State ahead by one point.
- It would turn into a back-and-forth affair from range as the two sides traded three-point makes as DaJuan Gordon and Kyle Feit matched a pair of Santa Clara threes – leaving the Aggies behind by one with 7:47 to play.
- Entering the game, the Aggies anticipated being able to put pressure on the Broncos in transition and Doctor Bradley was able to do just that as he found the rim on a fastbreak at the 5:49 mark after a long rebound that was corralled by Washington.
- The long ball continued to fall as the Aggies' final nine points of the first 20 minutes came from three-pointers, including a 6-0 run that closed out the half and gave NM State a three-point advantage heading into the locker room.
- Deshawndre Washington led all Aggies in the first half with 11 points after draining a trio of three-pointers in the opening period.
- Meanwhile, Xavier Pinson served as the Aggies' floor general to start – compiling a handful of assists while playing 19 of the first 20 minutes.
- After going into the break on a high note, the Aggie scoring sputtered to start the second half as they were unable to score a field goal until the 13:34 mark of the period while Santa Clara opened the half on a 14-0 run to take a 47-36 lead.
- Once the Aggies found success, they immediately fought their way back into the game as back-to-back triples from Washington and Pinson jump-started an 11-3 scoring run that helped reign the Broncos back in.
- Later, a 6-0 Santa Clara burst was quickly answered with a six-point Aggie run – leaving NM State with just a two-point deficit.
- With 2:18 left on the clock, Washington blew by his defender and finished through contact for his 17th and 18th points of the night - evening the score at 61 apiece.
- After giving up a layup on the next possession, NM State failed to convert on the next three shot attempts, thus leaving them in a position in which they needed to foul.
- The Aggies eventually found themselves trailing by three points with five seconds on the clock. Despite knocking down a buzzer-beater, Washington's feet would be just past the three-point line – leaving the outcome of the game unimpacted.
NUMBERS OF NOTE
- Deshawndre Washington tallied a season-best 20 points while knocking down four three-pointers on just seven attempts. Washington also finished the night two rebounds shy of his third double-double of the season.
- Xavier Pinson equaled his best defensive effort of the season as he finished with three steals – a mark he also reached in the season opener against New Mexico Highlands.
- DaJuan Gordon finished with double figures for the third time this season.
- James Beck recorded a season-high 24 minutes of action as he finished with three points, four boards and two steals.
- Kyle Feit finished the night 3-4 from downtown on Wednesday to turn in his second-straight performance with three or more triples after starting the season making just three across the first four games. Feit's effort also matches the best showing from a three-point percentage perspective of any Aggie this season.
- For the seventh time in as many games, the Aggies finished the night with at least one scorer above the 20-point mark.
NM State will now venture across the country to take on a talented Duquesne team on Sunday afternoon. The Aggies and Dukes will meet up at 2 p.m. MT in Duquesne's hometown of Pittsburgh.
Aggie fans can tune in to Zia Country 99.5 FM to hear Jack Nixon's call of the game. Those interested can also find the game on ESPN+.