NMSU rallies but falls short at Texas Tech

NMSU rallies but  falls short at Texas Tech

Junior guard Allen Haynes had a chance to tie the game with :02 remaining, but he missed the second of two free throws. Tech then rebounded and ran the clock out. Haynes played a spectacular game though, sparking the Aggies rally late in the second half with his perimeter shooting. He finished the game with 18 points. Brandon Mason led the Aggies with 20 points while James Moore added 19.

The New Mexico State men's basketball team nearly overcame a poor first-half, two 20-point deficits and James Moore's foul trouble on Saturday. But the announced crowd of 8,049 saw the final scoreboard read Texas Tech 85, New Mexico State 84 at the United Spirit Arnea.

Allen Haynes missed the second of two free throws with 2.5 seconds left, the Red Raiders rebounded the ball and ran out the clock to improve to 7-1 on the year. NMSU slips to 7-2.

"It felt good when it left my hand," Haynes said. "I felt bad that I missed it. We came back and we really wanted to win this game." Said Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight of Haynes' miss and the Red Raiders' win: "I felt bad for the kid (Haynes) that he missed the free throw. It's a tough way for a game to end."

NMSU was down 63-43 with 14:41 left and Moore, the team's leading scorer, had four fouls. But the Aggies slowly cut into the Red Raiders lead.

NMSU got within 10, 74-64, with 6:17 left when Haynes nailed a 3-pointer. Tech managed to stay up 12 for a few possessions, then NMSU made its best push of the game. Brandon Mason sparked a 10-0 run when he sunk a bucket, was fouled and hit the free throw; he then hit a 3-pointer, while Haynes and Jason Fontenet hit two free throws each to cut the lead to 78-76.

The teams traded points and with 45.6 seconds left, Mason's trey from the corner pulled NMSU within 84-83 with 29.6 seconds left. Tech guard Will Chavis made 1 of 2 with 12.9 seconds left to put the Red Raiders up 85-83. NMSU then brought the ball upcourt and Fontenet found Haynes under the basket where he was fouled to set up the final free throws.

"We played much better in the second half, we did a lot of good things," NMSU coach Lou Henson said. "We got better shots, we rebounded well." The Aggies shot 56.7 percent on 17 of 30 in the second half and made 6 of 12 from 3-point range.

Moore kept the Aggies afloat in the early part of second half with 17 of his 19 points, while Mason had 14 of his 20. Haynes finished with 18 on the afternoon, nine in each half. Haynes made 5 of 8 from 3-point range, while Mason was 3 of 6. As a team, the Aggies made 11 of 29 from beyond the 3-point arc on the day.

NMSU outrebounded the Red Raiders in the second half 25-10, with Chris Jackson garnering seven boards and Moore five.

"We came out of halftime and we picked up our intensity," Moore said. "We just kept playing hard and good things started happening." Said Red Raider forward Kasib Powell: "When he's (Moore) in there, their offense is good. They move the ball around, they get good shots and James is a good scorer as well."

The first half was controlled by Texas Tech as the hosts rolled up a 49-31 halftime lead. The Red Raiders made 46.9 percent of their shots and also led 41-21 at one point. Andre Emmett scored 15 of his game-high 31 to lead the way, while Powell had 11 of his 20.

Moore played just four minutes in the first half as he got two early fouls. The Aggies also got outrebounded 27-14 and outscored in the paint 20-8.

"We didn't have very good post play in the first half and we took some questionable shots," Henson said. "But you have to give Texas Tech credit, they played hard, they executed and they have a lot of people who can score."

The Aggies struggled in the first half, shooting just 32.4 percent from the field. NMSU did hit five triples in the opening 20 minutes, but also misfired on several good looks at the basket. "We played well in the first half," Powell said. "But we struggled in the second half. We are disappointed in how we played, but we'll take the win."

The Red Raiders tried to go at Moore in the second half with his four fouls, but couldn't capitalize.

"We tried driving to the basket, but he did a good job of playing with those fouls," Powell said. "You have to give him credit."

Said Moore: "It was tough playing with those four fouls. You have to stay focused. I gave up some baskets because of those fouls and I wasn't able to play defense like I should."

The Aggies play host to Texas-Arlington on Monday at 7:05 p.m.

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