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Men’s basketball crushes FIU in final home game

The Aggies led a successful victory in their last home and regular game of the season against Florida International University, 77-70. After crushing their opponent on the team’s Senior Day, the Aggies now have a record of 13-18 overall and stand at number seven in Conference USA.  

This win looks like an improvement from the last matchup against FIU in January, which, despite their comeback during the second half, resulted in a loss of 67-77. The NMSU men’s basketball team has had a bit of a rough season this time around, but they have been able to pick themselves back up and come back stronger.  

The Aggies and Panthers were continuously back and forth with scoring, although the Aggies stayed ahead throughout the game, except for a slight decline toward the end. The game started with easy 3-pointers for NMSU, ending the first half with 49 points, and gaining another 29 points after halftime.

In the final home game of the season, NMSU player Kaosi Ezeagu performs a massive slam dunk against Florida International University March 9, 2024, causing an uproar in the crowd. (Photo by Sydney Huber/Kokopelli)

NMSU player Christian Cook helped lead the Aggies with 26 points collected throughout the game. The team’s forward, Kaosi Ezeagu, scored 14 points along with 10 rebounds, while junior Jaylin Jackson-Posey finished with 10 points. There were plenty of crowd-rising moments throughout the game, especially with Ezeagu’s thunderous slam dunks and multiple 3-point shots by Cook. 

In a postgame interview, head coach Jason Hooten discussed leading the Aggies for the first time this season with an optimistic mindset throughout their tragic five-loss streak. 

“Our guys are fired up,” Hooten said. “They’re playing as good as we’ve played all year long. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for, and you just got to take it one game at a time, you know? You can’t get to Saturday unless you find a way to win on Thursday.”  

After the solid five-loss streak, the last two Aggie wins have been a breath of fresh air for the players and NMSU fans. Although the men’s basketball team had previously defeated Liberty University at the beginning of February, the tables turned, and the Aggies tragically fell to the Flames Feb. 29, 58-83. Luckily, that loss to Liberty is the last one we’ve seen, and it has made Aggie fans hopeful that NMSU will continue their winning streak as we head into CUSA competition season and look forward to the Sweet 16 on March 28-29.  

With the end of the Aggie’s regular season and their final home game comes the beginning of tournament season, which will kick off with the Aggies facing Western Kentucky University, number three in CUSA. The game will take place on March 14 at 7 p.m. at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama.  

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