Aggies Blowout Panthers 73-42

The New Mexico State Aggies pummeled the Florida International Golden Panthers 73-42 Monday night in the Pan American Center. The 31-point win snaps a four game losing streak for the Aggies and gives head coach Lou Henson his 770th career win.

Leading the way for the Aggies was senior Kelsey Crooks with 18 points, four rebounds and three assists. Two other Aggies also scored in double figures as James Moore added 17 points and Duane John dropped in 12. As a team the Aggies shot 51 percent from the field and 72 percent from the charity stripe while knocking down seven 3-pointers on the night.

The Panthers were led by Raphael DaSilva with 15 points while the team shot 31 percent from the field and 38 percent from the 3-point line. The Panthers were out rebounded by the Aggies 31-29 while committing six more turnovers and tallying only two assists on the night.

The second half began with FIU scoring four consecutive points to cut the Aggie lead down to 17 at 35-18, but a three-point play by James Felder with 18:27 left in the game gave the Aggies a 20-point advantage, 38-18.

Crooks' 14th point of the game with 14:00 to play put the Aggies back up by 20 after five points by the Panthers, but FIU continued to battle back into the game and cut the lead to 16 at 45-29 with 12:14 remaining in the game. The Panthers continued to trail by nearly 20 points with 11:34 left in the game despite out rebounding the Aggies 9-1 in the second half.

With 6:54 left before the buzzer, the Aggies continued to shoot a hot 53 percent in the second half and 50 percent for the game while leading the Panthers 59-39. FIU was shooting 50 percent in the second half but only 36 percent for the game and continued to turn the ball over, having done so five more times than the Aggies.

The Aggies took their largest lead of 27 with 3:27 left before the final buzzer and continued their dominance of the Golden Panthers, snapping a four game losing streak with the 73-42 win.

The first half started out slow for the Aggies as they hit only one of their first seven shots in the first five minutes, and FIU took the first lead of the game at 1-0 after hitting a free throw with 17:45 left in the first half. The Aggies answered the basket with a jumper by Moore with 17:15 on the clock and took their first lead at 2-1.

After a free throw by Duane John, Crooks gave the Aggies a five point lead at 6-1, but a trey by FIU at 15:00 cut the lead back down to two. The Aggies then took their largest lead of the half at 10-4 with 12:45 left in the first half and were shooting 33 percent from the floor while FIU shot only 20 percent on a 1-of-5 performance.

A 3-pointer by Allen Haynes with 11:00 left in the first half extended the Aggie lead to nine at 13-4, and another trey by Byron Davis gave the Aggies a 16-6 advantage with 10:00 left to play before the break. The basket by Haynes marked the beginning of three consecutive 3-pointers by the Aggies as John gave the Aggies a 19-6 lead after hitting a three of his own with just under nine minutes to play in the first half.

With only 6:18 showing on the clock, the Aggies had started the game on a 26-7 run while shooting 50 percent from the field and 71 percent from behind the arc sinking 5-of-7 attempts. The Panthers were shooting only 20 percent from floor making just 2-of-10 baskets.

FIU scored their first basket in six minutes with 4:45 remaining in the half to cut the lead down to 26-9 and added two more on free throws, but the Aggies continued to dominate the first half and took a 35-14 lead going into the locker room.

Kelsey Crooks led the Aggies in the first half with 12 points and two rebounds while the team shot 48 percent from the floor and 67 percent from behind the arc hitting 6-of-9 attempts.

Leading for the Panthers was Marcus Robinson with five points and three rebounds. FIU shot 23 percent in the first half making only 4 baskets while turning the ball over six more times than the Aggies.

The Aggies will be back in action this Thursday, January 29, as they head to Murfreesboro, Tenn. to take on the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at 6:05 p.m.

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