Brown shines for NMSU in 74-71 win over UMKC
LAS CRUCES – Finally, the Kangaroos went down under.
New Mexico State hosted UMKC on Saturday at the Pan American Center, and the Aggies got all they could handle. The two teams remained deadlocked at a 54 apiece with 7:09 remaining, but that's when New Mexico State made its move.
The Aggies launched a 9-0 run in the following two and a half minutes, and Terrell Brown capped it off with an exclamation mark.
Jabari Rice whipped a pass to the senior in the right corner on a fastbreak, and he did the rest. Brown elevated, let it fly and sank the shot to make it a 63-54 game and force UMKC into a timeout.
New Mexico State rode that momentum all the way to the finish line and secured a hard-earned 74-71 victory to remain undefeated in conference play.
How it happened
UMKC withstood an early push from New Mexico State in the first half despite being without lead scorer Javan White.
The Roos entered the contest with the second-highest 3-point percentage in the WAC (35.4 percent), and they didn't disappoint in this one.
Down 25-14 with 9:32 left in the first half, UMKC's Jordan Giles sank a deep bomb to trim the deficit to single digits. Marvin Nesbitt Jr. knocked down a triple of his own soon afterwards, and the Roos only trailed 28-22.
Finally, Giles struck once again. The senior went corner pocket this time and sank his second 3-pointer of the contest over the outstretched hands of Johnny McCants.
That reduced the Aggies' lead to just 32-30 with 3:54 left until halftime, but the home squad made one last push in the closing minutes.
New Mexico State closed out the half on a 10-3 run, and Brown led the way with four of those points. The first came off an assist from Shunn Buchanan, who somehow found the cutting senior amongst a swarm of navy jerseys for the layup.
Finally, Brown pulled up for a mid-range jumper and sank the shot with 39 seconds remaining to give the Aggies a 42-33 advantage at halftime.
New Mexico State went a scorching 17-for-22 (77.3 percent) from the field in the first half, but UMKC's 6-for-13 (46.2 percent) showing from deep kept the road squad alive.
That trend continued in the second half, and Giles sank yet another deep bomb to make it a 50-43 game with 13:42 left.
The Roos even tied the score at 54 apiece with 7:09 remaining, but the Aggies countered with a dramatic 9-0 run down the stretch. Now up 66-57 with 2:44 on the clock, Brown kept shooting.
The senior caught a pass from Ivan Aurrecoechea on the left shoulder and drained that one too, giving him a game-high 18 points.
The Roos went down kicking, though, thanks in part to Rob Whitfield.
The senior sharpshooter made it a 72-64 game with 1:06 left by sinking a triple, and he gave UMKC one last sign of life with 18 seconds remaining by draining yet another deep bomb to trim the deficit to 73-69.
The Roos got the ball right back after a New Mexico State turnover, and Jashire Hardshire went hard to the rim with Brown draped all over him. He elevated for the layup, but Trevelin Queen swooped in for the clean block to seal the game.
The Aggies went on to secure the 74-71 win. New Mexico State shot 29-for-47 from the field (8-for-18 from deep), while UMKC shot 26-for-57 (13-for-24 from deep).
Brown finished with a game-high 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting (3-for-7 from deep) in 27 minutes off the bench.
Queen added 16 points and six assists, and Rice finished with 13 points and 10 boards in the winning effort.
Whitfield led the Roos with 14 points, while Hardnett and Nesbitt each added 13 points in the losing effort.
What they said
New Mexico State head coach Chris Jans on the close win: "(The Roos) were knocking them down. They were really taking advantage of our missteps... We just had some silly decisions that almost cost us."
Jans on Brown's breakout performance: "He moved better, he's starting to go around people with the basketball and when he does that the whole staff starts smiling... He's certainly playing the way we expected him to play."
Rice on the team's 18 turnovers: "Obviously we didn't take care of the ball at the end of the game. We could have done way better at that and just handling different end-of-game situations better and just growing as a team... We'll get back to practice on Monday, and we'll get better."
Next up for New Mexico State (12-6, 3-0 WAC) is the start of a three-game road stretch beginning with a game against Utah Valley on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.