Miners bounce Aggies 85-60

Gary Jackson hit a jumper and Allen Haynes nailed a three to give NMSU a 14-13 lead with 11:39 left in the first half. But that's when the Miners took over the game. UTEP hit five consecutive shots, including a trio of 3-point baskets and NMSU went 5:20 without a field goal as the Miners went on a 17-1 run to grab a 32-15 lead with 6:35 left in the first half

It got ugly early, and then just got even uglier. In the end, it was the ugliest in 37 years.

New Mexico State was overwhelmed by Texas-El Paso 85-60 in men's college basketball Wednesday night, and the game wasn't even that close.

NMSU had more turnovers (10) than rebounds (7) in the first half. The Aggies shot 39.1 percent, while the Miners hit 65.4 percent of their field goal attempts in the opening half. At halftime, UTEP held a 48-25 lead, and it just got worse in the second half.

In the end, it was the most lopsided win by the Miners over the Aggies since 1966, when UTEP happened to win the NCAA championship while still known as Texas Western.

''I was embarrassed,'' said NMSU's James Moore, who probably was the only Aggie with a right to not be embarrassed. He had 20 points and six rebounds, hitting 6 of 8 from the floor.

Duane John, the sophomore who scored 33 points against New Mexico two weeks ago, had four points with five minutes left in the game. He started throwing the ball up in the closing minutes and finished with 11 points, but he made only 3 of 15 shots.

Because the Miners used their reserves in the game's final minutes, the score and statistics weren't as lopsided as they could have been.

''Twenty-five,'' NMSU coach Lou Henson said as he looked at the final stats. ''It could have been more. The points make no difference. We have a lot of work to do. We're going to get beat by some others.''

The biggest lead by UTEP was 77-44 with 6:01 left. New Mexico State went on a 16-8 run to end the game.

New Mexico State actually jumped to a 7-0 lead to start the contest and was ahead 14-13. But with the help of four 3-pointers, the Miners went on a 19-1 run and the Aggies never knew what hit them.

'I looked up and we were down by 20,'' said Moore. ''The same thing happened at our gym. I really couldn't figure out what to do.''

Texas-El Paso (6-1) beat NMSU 83-74 in Las Cruces on Dec. 6. The Miners had a 19-point lead in that game.

The Aggies are 4-3 after starting 4-0. They're 0-2 on the road with a big game at New Mexico in the Pit looming Monday night.

''Our problem isn't just tonight,'' Henson said. ''We've got a lot of new players. We've got to work hard and bring them along.''

Point guard is a particular problem for the Aggies. Junior college transfer Detrius Roberson is starting, but he was 0-7 from the floor and had only one assist in 23 minutes. Freshman Byron Davis played most of the second half at point and had nine points and no turnovers in 18 minutes.

While Moore and John were the only Aggies in double figures, UTEP had balance with five players scoring 10 points or more. Jason Williams led the Miners with 21 points, five assists and eight rebounds. John Tofi had 14 points and six rebounds. Omar Thomas scored 12, while Giovanni St. Amant added 11 and Brent Murphy 10.

UTEP finished with a 45-22 rebounding advantage and outscored the Aggies by 12 points at the foul line.

''It just so happens that we've had our two best games this season against them,'' said UTEP coach Billy Gillispie. ''I thought we'd have to play as well as we could to have a chance to win in the last 3-4 minutes.''


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