NMSU beats Colorado 75-71

Las Cruces, N.M. - Allen Haynes' three-pointer with 2:11 left in the game proved to be the deciding factor as the New Mexico State Aggies (2-1) rallied late to defeat the Colorado University Buffaloes (2-1) 75-71 Wednesday night at the Pan American Center.

Haynes (Hobbs, N.M., South Plains CC) led all scorers with a career-high 25 points, including 7-for-12 from behind the arc. He also added four rebounds and two assists.

CU opened the second half with a 15-4 run to take a 54-41 lead with 14:10 left in the half. But the Aggies would answer with some magic of their own, making a 14-4 run to cut the Buffaloes' lead to three at 58-55 with 9:26 left in the half.

With 3:20 left in the game, Haynes gave the Aggies their first lead of the second half at 66-64, firing up the crowd of just over 5,200 fans with a three-pointer from the corner. It was the first lead for the Aggies since leading 37-36 with 57 seconds left in the first half.Down the stretch, the Aggies made six-of-eight free throws.

The Aggies sealed the victory at the free throw line, shooting 6-for-8 in the last 20 seconds. Kelsey Crooks (Las Cruces, N.M., Onate HS) went 5-for-6 in that stretch and made a key rebound after a Haynes missed free throw with the Aggie lead at two. CU shot 4-for-10 in the second half from the line, giving the Aggies a chance to make their comeback.

The duo of James Felder (Dallas, Texas, New Mexico JC) and Lamar Hill (Roanoke, Ala., Tyler JC) played key roles in keeping CU's seven-foot David Harrison in check, despite Felder fouling out with five minutes left in the game. The two combined for 12 points and nine rebounds while holding Harrison to 18 points and 14 rebounds.

The Aggies shot 40.6 percent both from the field and behind the arc and 62.5 percent from the charity stripe for the game. The Aggies grabbed 41 rebounds, one shy of CU's 42 and dished out 21 assists.

Jason Fontenet (Phoenix, Ariz., St. Mary's HS) scored 16 points, grabbed six boards and added six assists. Crooks added 11 points and Brandon Mason (Chicago, Ill., Morgan Park HS) had eight assists and two steals, including one with 16 seconds left, setting up Fontenet's two free throws, giving the Aggies a six point lead with 15 seconds left in the game.

The NMSU stuck to the perimeter early, forcing CU to guard outside and taking Harrison out of the game-plan. The Aggies opened the game with a 9-2 run, forcing the Buffaloes to take an early time out with 17:17 left in the first half. The Aggies missed just one shot (5-for-6) during the run.

Colorado took a 39-37 lead to the locker room after Michel Morandis made a long three-point shot to beat the buzzer. Overall, the Aggies played strong, leading the entire half until CU took a 30-29 lead with 4:47 left before halftime.

The half saw two ties and five lead changes, all coming in the last five minutes. The Aggies led by as much as nine with 13:42, but slowly squandered the lead. Until the first CU lead of the game, the closest the Buffaloes got was within two points of the Aggies.

For the Aggies in the first half, Haynes led all Aggie scorers with nine points, with Jason Fontenet scoring eight points and adding four assist. Mason added four assists and Felder led the Aggies with six boards. The Aggies shot 42.9 percent from both the floor and behind the arc in the half, but committed nine turnovers.

In the first half for CU, Morandis led the Buffaloes with 13 points and the Aggie defenders held Harrison to just four points and six boards. The Buffaloes shot 51.5 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range.

For the Buffaloes, Harrison scored 18 points, recorded 14 boards and four blocks. Morandis added 15 points and Wilson Blair with 10 points. CU shot 45.5 percent from the field, 30.8 percent from behind the line and 46.7 percent from the free throw line.

The Aggies will take on in-state rival, the University of New Mexico Lobos, Saturday, November 30, at the Pan American Center. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m.

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