We knew they shot a lot of 3-pointers and they really shot the ball well," NMSU coach Lou Henson said. "We need to improve on defense. We played hard, we did some good things."
The Aggies split their two exhibition games this season, beating the Houston All-Stars last week. EA Sports also made 19 of 20 free throws on the night and made 15 of 29 from beyond the 3-point stripe on the night.
Guard David Bell led all scorers with 23 points, including five triples, forward Koko Archibong had 19 and guard Brett McFall hit for 17, 15 of which came from downtown.
"We didn't defend the 3-point shot as well in the first half as we should have," Aggies guard Detruis Roberson said. "We got better in the second half, but we gave up too many good shots in the first half."
EA Sports hit 10 of 17 3-pointers in the first half and 16 of 30 overall from the field as it led 53-42 at the break. Bell scored 14 to lead the way, while Archibong and McFall had 11 each. NMSU led early 17-11 before the visitors took over.
EA Sports started moving the ball better on offense and kept torching the nets as Bell and McFall carried the load outside to combine for seven triples. EA also hit 11 of 12 from the free throw line.
"We have young players on our team and we're still trying to get better in every area," Henson said. "We just have to keep working in every area."
The Aggies were still short handed for Tuesday's game. Senior forward James Moore sat out his second game due to his breaking team rules. Senior forward James Felder, freshman wing Robert Frazier and point guard Earl Calloway all missed the game due to injuries.
NMSU rallied in the second half as it got within six, five, three and eventually one point on two occasion in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the game, but never got over the hump.
EA Sports cooled down in the second half to 45.2 percent. Sophomore wing Duane John led the Aggies in scoring for the second straight game with 20 points, followed by Gary Jackson with 16 and Roberson and Jeff Jones with 15 each. John had 13 in the second half, while Roberson had eight. Jones, a 6-8 junior college transfer, played his first game since being granted back his eligibility. He led the team in rebounds with 13 and blocked two shots.
"It felt good to be back and contribute," he said. "I got to go up against some good competition out there and I just want to keep getting better."
Jones had been declared ineligible after he was notified that he did not meet academic requirements for the department he was in. He had been notified prior to school starting that he would be able to enroll in that department. Last Tuesday, Henson addressed the media with his situation and said that Jones met requirements at nearly every academic department at the school, but not the particular department he was in.
The school appealed his ineligibility to the NCAA and won the appeal over the weekend. "Jeff has been coming well and he has improved a great deal," he said. "He brings us a lot of energy. I thought tonight we did well on offense.
We only had eight turnovers and we had some guys step up. We're still missing some pieces. But our guys did some good things." The Aggies start the regular season Saturday at home against New Mexico Highlands beginning at 7:05 p.m. in the Pan American Center