Las Cruces, N.M. - The New Mexico State Aggies (4-1) won their third-straight game as they defeated the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore Fighting Hawks (0-3) 81-63 Tuesday night at the Pan American Center.
James Felder (Dallas, Texas, New Mexico JC) led the Aggie offense with a career-high 15 points on six-of-nine shooting from the field and three-of-three from the free throw line while also tying a career-high with three blocks. Felder also added five boards and one steal. Brandon Mason (Chicago, Ill., Morgan Park HS) added 11 points, six assists and three steals. Mason went five-for-six from the free throw line, increasing his season total to 15-of-17.
Three other Aggies finished the game scoring in double-digits, including Earl Calloway (Atlanta, Ga., Westlake HS) with a career-high 12 points, James Fontenet (Phoenix, Ariz., St. Mary's HS) with a career-high 12 points and Will Morris (Pomona, Calif., Riverside JC) with 10 points.
For the Hawks, Aaron Wellington scored a game-high 19 points, dishing out three assist and recording four steals. Terrence Stafford added 14 points and four boards while Tee Trotter scored 10 points.
The Aggies finished the game shooting 51.9 percent from the field, 26.7 percent from behind the arc and a season-high 82.1 percent from the free throw line. The Hawks shot just 30 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from behind the arc and 81.3 percent from the free throw line.
The Aggies out-rebounded the Hawks 41-38, including a 35-21 advantage on the defense boards. Both teams recorded eight steals and the Hawks force 21 Aggie turnovers, compared to 19 by the Hawks.
The Aggies out-scored the Hawks 32-14 in the paint and scored seven more points on turnovers than the Hawks. The Aggies also recorded their largest lead of the year, taking a 28 point lead at 62-34 with 12:24 left in the game.
The Aggies opened the first half on fire, taking a 30-5 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game after going scoreless for the first minute-and-a-half. The Aggies went 11-for-16 from the field and made all seven free throws attempted during the run. Felder got the Aggie offense started, making the first three baskets for the Aggies and seven of the first 10 points of the game.
The Hawks would fight back, out-scoring the Aggies 18-5 in a five-and-a-half minute stretch, cutting the Aggie lead to 35-23 with 4:38 left in the half. The Aggies shot just two-for-ten from the field during the stretch and missed three lay-ups while committing three turnovers. The Hawks went five-for-twelve from the field, including two-of-three from behind the arc and five-of-seven from the free throw line.
The Aggies ended the half on a 10-5 run, extending their halftime lead to 45-28. Felder led the Aggies in the first half with 11 points on four-of-six shooting from the field and three-of-three from the free throw line. Felder added three boards, two blocks and a steal. Mason was two-of-three from the field and five-of-five from the line for nine points and grabbed three boards and two steals.
The Aggies out-shot the Hawks, 50 percent to 25.7 percent, from the field in the first half. Both teams shot well from the charity stripe, with the Aggies holding a 87.5 percent to 71.4 percent advantage.
Wellington led the Hawks in the first half, going three-for-four from behind the arc for nine points. Wellington added one board and one steal. Trotter added eight points, two boards and two assist in the half.
The Aggies opened the second half of play on a 15-4 run that covered the first 6:26 of the half, extending their lead to 60-32. The Aggies went six-for-nine from the field and three-of-five from behind the arc. James Fontenet came off the bench to score nine points during the run, going three-of-three from behind the arc and added one steal.
The Aggies finished the second half on cruise control, allowing their lead to dip below 20 points only once in the last 10 minutes. For the second half, the Aggies shot 54.5 percent from the field, 33.3 percent form three-point land and 75 percent from the free throw line. The Hawks shot 34.3 percent from the field, 25 percent from behind the arc and 88.9 percent from the free throw line.
The Aggies next head south to take on I-10 rival, the University of Texas-El Paso, Saturday, December 7, at the Don Haskins Center. Tip-off is set for 7:35 p.m.