The New Mexico State Aggies (7-1) finished their sweep of basketball rivals as they defeated the University of Texas-El Paso Miners (1-5) 80-58 Wednesday night at the Pan American Center.
It was the first time that the Aggies have gone undefeated against the Miners and the University of New Mexico Lobos in both football and men's basketball in the same year in 41 years. The Last time the Aggies achieved the feat was during the 1960-1961 athletic year.
The Aggies committed only eight turnovers and recorded 11 steals, compared to 21 turnovers and six steals by the Miners, but the Miners controlled the boards, grabbing a 35-29 advantage. The Aggies also held a 24-10 advantage in points off turnovers and 42-34 advantage in points in the paint.
Brandon Mason (Chicago, Ill., Morgan Park HS) led all scorers with 18 points, four assists and two rebounds for the Aggies. James Moore (Dolton, Ill., Thornridge HS) added 16 points, three boards, three assists, three steals and two blocks.
The Aggie bench stepped up to score 32 points, including 11 points and three steals from James Fontenet (Phoenix, Ariz., St. Mary's HS) and eight points and two boards from Lamar Hill (Roanoke, Ala., Tyler JC).
The Aggies shot 53.8 percent (35-of-65) from the field for the game while the Miners shot 42.3 percent (22-of-52) from the field.
Justino Victoriano and Chris Craig led the Miners with 13 points and five boards each, with Giovanni St. Amant adding 10 points.
The Aggies and Miners traded baskets for the first nine minutes of the game, which saw five ties and neither team held a lead of more than two. The Aggies ended the half on a 24-10 run, going 11-of-18 from the field, including two fast break baskets in the last minute, taking a 37-23 lead to the lockeroom.
Mason led all scorers in the half, recording 12 points on six-of-eleven shooting from the field. The Aggie big men, Moore, Jackson and Hill combined for 15 of the Aggies' 37 points in the first half and grabbed a combined seven boards and one block.
The Aggies shot 50 percent (16-of-32) from the field in the first half while the Miners shot 40 percent (10-of-25) from the field.
Craig led the Miners with six points and three boards in the first half. St. Amant and Mattear added four points each and Mattear grabbed five boards.
The Aggies picked up where they left off in the first half, going on a 16-9 run to open the first half with a 53-32 lead. The Aggies recorded three steals in the first three minutes of the second half after ending the last minute of the first half with two straight steals.
NMSU finished the half on cruise control, not allowing their lead to drop below 20 points during the last ten-and-a-half minutes of the game. The Aggie lead climbed as high as 27 points during the second half.
The Aggies shot 57.6 (19-of-33) from the field in the second half, with the Miners shooting 44.4 percent (12-of-27) from the field.
The Aggies will travel to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders Saturday, December 21, in Lubbock, Texas. Tip-off is set for 12:20 p.m. MST