The New Mexico State men’s basketball team has solidified its position in the WAC tournament. After defeating the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros 88-79 on Saturday, the Aggies are guaranteed at least a share of the WAC regular-season title.
Earlier in the week on Tuesday, the Aggies welcomed the Texas A&M International Dust Devils to the Pan American Center for a non-conference matchup. The Aggies had their way with the Dust Devils all night as they breezed past them with an 80-42 victory. Eli Chuha and Trevelin Queen led the game with 14 points apiece.
The game against the Vaqueros was a bit closer and got a little intense as the game progressed. The Aggies came out of the gates shooting phenomenally as they were able to gain a 19-11 lead heading into the first media break around the 12-minute mark. Both teams shot better than 50 percent in the first half, but it was the Aggies’ five threes to the Vaqueros’ one that was the difference. The Aggies headed into the halftime break with a 13-point lead, 45-32.
The second half started with both teams going on separate runs as the Vaqueros started with a 6-0 run to cut the Aggies’ lead to seven. The Aggies answered with an 8-0 run of their own to separate themselves and held a 53-38 lead around the 15-minute mark of the second half.
The Aggies kept up the pressure as they continued to create separation from their competition. Around the 11-minute mark, the Aggies had an 18-point lead. The Vaqueros tried to make the game close, but the Aggies were just too much and won the game by a final score of 88-79.
Aggie forward Ivan Aurrecoechea had a great night as he led the game in scoring with 20 points and seven rebounds.
The game was a little more special for one Aggie in particular as senior forward Eli Chuha scored his 1,000th point in an Aggie uniform. Chuha became the 35th player to score 1,000 points for the Aggies as well as becoming the 17th player to accomplish that feat along with recording 500 rebounds.
Next, the Aggies will travel to Kansas City to take on the University of Missouri–Kansas City on Thursday, Feb. 28. A win Thursday will give the Aggies sole possession of the WAC regular-season title.