NMSU Sweeps Season Series Against UTEP
The Miners and Aggies endured a bitter back-and-forth battle in their second meeting of the season in front of 6,106 fans at the Don Haskins Center on Wednesday night in a game that came down to the wire. Despite playing a much more competitive contest this time around, UTEP fell to NMSU for the ninth consecutive meeting 62-58.
UTEP began the game strong as they were poised to try and win for the first time against the Aggies since 2014 behind a solid start by Evan Gilyard. The Miners controlled much of the first half as they led by as many as five at 24-19, but NMSU made a late push to take a narrow 28-26 lead into halftime thanks to a 9-2 run. In the second half, the Aggies simply had too much firepower as the team saw ten different players score, and were led by Ivan Aurrecoechea, who contributed with 15 points. The Aggies went on a 13-0 run to take a 44-33 lead with 14:12 left and looked to be pulling away.
Despite the Aggie's multiple scorers, UTEP had a chance late to win the contest as they were down 58-56 with 1:23 remaining. However, Terrell Brown hit a crucial jumper with 15 seconds left to give NMSU a 4-point edge. On the next play, Odigie would score with 6.4 seconds left to cut the deficit to 60-58, but Brown was fouled and would go on to sink both free throws to solidify the win for NMSU. The Miners shot 47.9 percent from the field on 23-48 shooting, and 35.7 percent from downtown. Both teams committed 39 combined turnovers, the Miners' 22 blunders led to 21 points for the Aggies.
For the Miners, C-USA Player of the Week Evan Gilyard led all scorers with 18 points and 9 boards, while C-USA Freshman of the Week Efe Odigie added 12, Jordan Lathon tallied 8, Paul Thomas contributed with 5 points and Kaosi Ezeagu chipped in with 4 points and 9 rebounds. UTEP falls to 2-4 on the season with the loss, and will host Northwestern State on Saturday night before heading to Milwaukee to face Marquette on December 4.