Aggies Victorious Over UC-Irvine

Posted Feb 23, 2004

Seven 3-pointers by Allen Haynes helped lift the New Mexico State Aggies to victory in the ESPN Bracket Buster as they defeated the UC-Irvine Anteaters 69-64. After trailing for nearly the entire game, the Aggies found momentum in the last seven minutes of play as they held on for the win to improve their record to 12-12 overall (5-7 Sun Belt).

Allen Haynes is no longer in a shooting slump, and it couldn't have happened at a better time for New Mexico State.

The former Hobbs High School star scored 22 points and tied his career high with seven 3-pointers Saturday to lead the Aggies to a 69-64 win against UC-Irvine.

"I felt like I couldn't miss," Haynes said of his 7-for-10 proficiency from behind the 3-point arc. "It felt good to finally make some shots."

Haynes has averaged 6.8 points a game and has hit just 37 percent of his shots this season. But he's had three consecutive double-figure scoring games, with 10 points against Louisiana and 11 against South Alabama.

The non-conference win got the Aggies to .500 (12-12) and gave 72-year-old coach Lou Henson his 774th career win. He ranks seventh all-time in Division 1.

The Aggies are trying to qualify for the Sun Belt Conference tournament. Eight teams will play in the tournament, and NMSU currently is tied with Denver for the final spot. The Aggies play at Denver on Monday, then finish up the regular season with two home games next week.

If Haynes continues to score the way he did Saturday, the Aggies' chances of making the Sun Belt tournament field should improve. Defense hasn't been the problem, since NMSU leads the conference in scoring defense, giving up just 65 points a game -- the best scoring defense the Aggies have had in 17 years.

"We came out and played really well in the second half," Henson said. "Now, we just have to try and carry over the momentum to our remaining conference games."

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