LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – New Mexico State men’s basketball suffered a 70-61 loss to California Baptist at the Pan American Center on Saturday.
New Mexico State is now 0-4 in the WAC game this season. It’s their first 4-0 start in conference play since the 2004-05 season. NMSU were members of the Sun Belt Conference at this point.
“We’re pretending to be a 14-2 team instead of a 7-9 team,” NM State head coach Greg Heiar said after the game. “This is new territory for me as a coach at all levels, in every place, head coach, assistant coach.”
“We’re all pretty frustrated because we know this is a well-known program and we came here to win,” said NM state guard Deshawndre Washington. “We’re not underdogs because I know we lost a lot of team members last year. We’re just trying to figure things out. We’re trying to establish roles and see where we go from here.”
Deshawndre Washington led the Aggies with 20 points in 6-of-12 shooting from the floor. That hit his season high and it was the 10th time this season that he’d scored in double digits. Issa Muhammad was the only other Aggie to finish the night in double figures. Muhammad scored 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting in 29 minutes of play.
New Mexico State shot 41.7% from the field. The three balls didn’t fall as often as they would have liked as they went from deep 5 of 15 (33.3%) as a team. The Aggies came to the free throw line 20 times and put down 16 times. The Aggies fought the glass. CBU out rallied on the night with NMSU 34-25. The Lancers converted those rebounds into 23 second-chance points. NMSU only had three second chance points.
Riley Battin led the Lancers in scoring as he amassed 18 points in 6-of-9 shooting. Battin nailed a trio of three. Taran Armstrong scored 9 points on 3 of 11 shooting from the field. All of his marks were three-point shots. CBU as a team nailed 12 three-pointers on 37 attempts. This is the fourth time in the last five competitions that NMSU has allowed their opponent to make 10 or more three-point shots.
California Baptist took an 11-2 lead after a Tre Armstrong scored a three at 16:15 in the first half. The Lancers would go that big in the first half by 11 points, 20-9 at the 8:27 mark of the first frame of the game.
New Mexico State countered with an 11-2 run and made it a two-point game, 22-20, with a 1-26 first half. The Lancers came back with a quick 5-0 run and went into halftime with a 27-20 lead.
In the second half, the Lancers went down 10 after a three-pointer from Taran Armstrong. NMSU came up with three points at the 13:10 mark of the second half. California Baptist would have an answer every time and extend their lead. NMSU drew within one, 46-45, after a layup by Issa Muhammad with 8:45 to go into the game.
The CBU maintained and extended their lead once again. The Lancers would build a 16-point lead and end the contest 2:52 in the game after a made three-pointer by Riley Battin. CBU would record a 70-61 win over NMSU at the Pan American Center.
New Mexico State (7-9, 0-4 WAC) will be looking to recover from their loss when they take on Seattle University (12-4, 3-0 WAC ) compete.