LAS CRUCES, N.M. – (Jan. 18) Seattle University men's basketball used a 13-2 run midway through the second half to pull within a possession of New Mexico State, but the Aggies would respond and a first-half hole would be too much to overcome in a 75-62 final the Pan American Center Thursday night.
The Redhawks drop to 13-8 overall and 2-2 in Western Athletic Conference play while the Aggies move to 16-3 overall and a perfect 4-0 in WAC play.
Matej Kavas led all scorers with 20 points while Jordan Hill had 12 and Richaud Gittens added 11. Aaron Menzies collected his seventh double-double of the year, finishing with 10 points and 12 boards.
Zach Lofton rebounded from a pair of early fouls to led NMSU with 15 points. Eli Chuha added 14 points off the bench and Jemerrio Jones finished with a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Trailing 47-33 with 13:08 remaining, the Redhawks rolled off a 13-2 run as the Aggies went cold. Kavas would open the run with a lay-up and the foul, Menzies added an old-fashion three-point play of his own and Hill made two three-throws, cutting it to single digits, 49-41. Five straight points by Kavas, including a three from the top of the arc made it 49-46 with 9:30 to go.
But the Aggies finally answered in the form of a Sidy N'Dir three. Lofton would score the next five points and NMSU quickly regained a double-digit lead. The spread would not dip below nine for the balance of the game.
“We dug ourselves a big hole to start the game and we turned the ball over too much to go into a hostile environment and win,” said Head Coach Jim Hayford. “We showed great cohesion to make it a three-point game in the second half, but to beat a quality opponent like New Mexico State is, you can’t make that many mistakes. I’m never happy with a loss, but we did get better tonight and we’ll learn from it.”
Seattle U found itself in a big hole early, trailing 17-2 midway through the first half. Turnovers were costly in the opening frame as nine Redhawk giveaways turned into 13 points for NSMU.
The Redhawks shot nearly 54 percent in the second half to finish 44.7 percent for the night. They also went 15-of-21 (71.4 percent) from the charity stripe, but hit just 5-of-17 from three.
Seattle U's WAC road trip concludes on Saturday at UTRGV in Edinburg, Tex. Tip off from UTRGV Fieldhouse is set for 7:00 p.m. Central Time, 5:00 p.m. Pacific.