The Aggies weren't at their best Saturday but had no trouble handling the Spartans, losers of 12 of 13. San Jose State made a late run at New Mexico State, pulling within 83-78 on a Spencer free throw with 10 seconds remaining, but couldn't get any closer.
New Mexico State had won the four previous meetings between the two schools, including a 74-68 victory in Las Cruces on Jan. 6 in which the Aggies rallied from nine points down in the second half.
New Mexico State again struggled against the Spartans but this time the Aggies -- first in the WAC in scoring and second in shooting -- didn't wait until the second half before making their charge.
After missing 13 of its first 20 shots and trailing 15-10 midway through the first half, New Mexico State broke out its offensive slump and took control of the game.
Fred Peete's 3-pointer with 6:55 remaining gave the Aggies their first lead of the game and New Mexico State went 7 of 10 from the free throw line during a decisive 20-4 run to turn things around. Hawkins had 10 of his points during the stretch, including an emphatic dunk just before the buzzer to give the Aggies a 32-22 halftime lead.
The Aggies later built a 51-31 lead in the second half on Martin Iti's free throw with 14:58 remaining before holding on for their 16th win in 17 games.