NMSU unable to keep pace with Southern Utah, 111-76
(Courtesy: NMSU Athletics)
CEDAR CITY, Utah – When a team knocks down 20 shots from beyond the arc and shoots nearly 64% from the field, you cannot help but shake their hand and commend them.
That is what Head Coach Greg Heiar and the Aggies (7-12, 0-7) did after falling 111-76 to Southern Utah (14-6, 6-1) in America First Event Center on Thursday night.
On paper, the Aggies' offense was arguably the best it has been since WAC play started as they posted the most points since league play started and most since their most recent victory.
Xavier Pinson's 17 points led all NM State scorers while making him one of three Aggies to reach double figures.
Marchelus Avery (13) and Deshawndre Washington were the other two that eclipsed 10 points against the Thunderbirds.
Meanwhile, Southern Utah had six individuals reach double digits with 18 from Tevian Jones leading the way.
In total, five different Thunderbirds hit at least three three-pointers while Jones, Cameron Healy and Dee Barnes each hit four to help their team set a new program record in threes made.
- Following the Thunderbirds' first possession which resulted in a pair of made free throws, the Aggies took their first lead of the game behind a quick five points – two of which came from Shakiru Odunewu who made his first start of the season.
- The Aggies would lead 9-4 when the story of the first half became Southern Utah's ability to hit three-pointers at an unstoppable rate. In the first 20 minutes, SUU would drain 14 three-pointers on just 22 attempts. For comparison, the Aggies have only given up 14 or more threes in a full game twice this season.
- The Thunderbirds erased the Aggies' five-point advantage by going on a 10-0 scoring run across less than two minutes – taking a 14-9 lead with 16:20 to play.
- NM State would fight back to within two points with 12:22 to go as Kyle Feit put in a trio of free throws and James Beck fought for a second-chance layup.
- From there, the home side would go 3-3 from deep during the next two minutes of action to put together 11 unanswered points and take a 31-18 lead.
- Later, Xavier Pinson anticipated a Southern Utah pass to collect his second steal of the evening before finishing a one-man fast break with an emphatic right-handed dunk to cap off a quick 5-0 Aggie run to pull within single digits.
- Nine points is the closest the Aggies would be for the remainder of the game as the Thunderbirds outscored NM State by 12 points to go into the intermission ahead by 20 points.
- Southern Utah would open the second period doing what it did best in the first half as they knocked down their 15th three-pointer of the game to start the second-half scoring.
- The Thunderbird lead would eventually grow to 37 points before finishing at 35 to keep the Aggies winless in WAC play after 40 minutes had expired.
- After the break, the Aggies were led by 10 second-half points from Xavier Pinson who continued to press the issue in spite of the lopsided score.
- As a team, the Aggies also got to the line 20 times in the second half – knocking down 13 after going 6-6 in the first half.
NUMBERS OF NOTE
- Marchelus Avery submitted double figures in the scoring column for the seventh time this season after finishing with 13, including going 2-4 from beyond the arc.
- Xavier Pinson posted his third straight double-digit scoring effort and managed his second-highest scoring total in WAC play this season.
- Deshawndre Washington tallied 13 points to conjure his 11th game this season with more than 10 points.
- The Thunderbirds' 111 points marks the most an Aggie opponent has scored since No. 21 Loyola Marymount also posted 111 against NM State in the First Round of the 1990 NCAA Tournament.
- Southern Utah also posted opponent season-highs in field goals made, field goal percentage (.638), three-pointers made (20) and assists (24).