Men’s basketball drops seventh straight to NMSU

Adrian Broaddus, Editor-In-Chief

Head coach Chris Jans and New Mexico State came into the Don Haskins Center on a mission Thursday evening.

Unfortunately for the Miners, who were without recently retired head coach Tim Floyd, they were just another obstacle in the way of the Aggies’ conquest, losing 80-60 in front of a disappointed home crowd.

The Aggies shot an impressive 54 percent from the floor and held the Miners to just 38 percent in route to their seventh straight win over UTEP.

“We kind of gave of up on it,” said interim head coach Phil Johnson, who was appointed to fill Floyd’s job on Monday. “We tried to be real simple—it was no good. I am disappointed in a few guys’ efforts.”

On the contrary, UTEP started the game electric, breaking out with an early 11-5 lead with buckets from the likes of guards Trey Wade and Isaiah Osborne.

But then things went south for the Miners. They fell on a 0-for-6 from the floor scoring drought, allowing the Aggies to tie the game, 14-14. The Aggies then went on a 19-4 run up until about the three-minute mark in the first half. The Aggies closed out the quarter hitting 7-of-9 and shooting 52.2 percent from the floor.

The difference in the half was evidently the height difference between the two teams. NMSU hit 18 points in the paint throughout the first half and dominated the boards 20-11.

“I don’t think we guarded anybody,” Johnson said.

In the second half, the Miners held their weight for a little at the beginning, but again, they couldn’t get any basket to fall down.

“We tried to play a little different style,” Johnson said. “We tried to get an aggressive offense… We interpreted that the wrong way.”

It was a game of lows for the Miners. They had only four assists throughout the night, turned the ball over 18 times, shot 17.4 percent from the 3-point range (4-of-23) and had no player in double digits of scoring or rebounding.

“Not enough attack,” Johnson said. “If you look at our stats we just had eight assists, 12 assists in the past games. Today we had just four. One guy ought to have eight alone. Ball’s not moving enough.”

AJ Harris of the Aggies led the team with 18 points, four boards and three assists, followed by Jemerrio Jones’ double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds and Keyon Jones’ 10 points and seven boards.

“They shot the ball 54 percent tonight—that’s ridiculous,” Johnson said.

“There wasn’t anything I felt we did very well.”

Just two days after Floyd announced his retirement, Johnson was unsure if that had an effect. Guard Isaiah Osborne, who finished with five points, believes that Johnson is very similar to Floyd, however.

“Maybe (it still hurts) for some people,” he said. “Coach Johnson’s a lot like Floyd, so that definitely helps.”

Forward Paul Thomas, guard Trey Touchet and guard Keith Frazier knocked in nine points a piece for the Miners.

Next up, the Miners (1-6) will try to snap their six-game losing streak as they play host to long-time rival New Mexico on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.