Monday, January 2, 2012

Watson sinks Bakersfield

New Mexico State erased a three-point deficit with 2:32 remaining on Monday to defeat California-Bakersfield 73-72 on two Tyrone Watson free throws with 0.9 seconds left to play.
Trailing by one with 2.4 seconds left, Watson grabbed a rebound off a missed Issiah Grayson free throw, turned and was fouled by Donald Johnson.
“When he was at the line, I was just  hoping that he would miss so we could at least push the ball, but (Grayson) missed and (Johnson) hit me across the face,” Watson said. “Basically at the free throw line, I was just trying to keep my composure and not the adrenaline and the crowd get to me. The first one was scary because it hit the back rim and got a great bounce. The second one hit front rim and bounced in.”
NMSU improved to 10-5, matching the school's most non-conference wins entering Western Athletic Conference play. 
It’s only fitting the game was decided at the foul line. NMSU was 35-for-44 (79.5 percent) from the foul line. It made up for a 7-for-22 effort from the floor in the second half.
One of those field goals was a Bandja Sy 3-pointer that put the Aggies up 71-69 with 1:11 to play. But Grayson hit a jumper with 11 seconds left to tie the game. NMSU senior forward Wendell McKines turned the ball over with five seconds left and then fouled Grayson, who made his first free throw.
Freshman guard Daniel Mullings had a breakout game on Monday, scoring a career-high 21 points on 5-for-12 shooting with five rebounds, three steals and a block to lead New Mexico State to lead the Aggies to their 10th win of the season entering Western Athletic Conference play this weekend at Louisiana Tech. McKines had 12 points and seven rebounds and Sy and Watson each scored nine points.
NMSU shot 57.9 percent from the floor and 14-for-18 from the foul line in the first half, but the game was tied at 36-36 at halftime after 10 NMSU turnovers helped Bakersfield shoot 17 more shots.
With McKines and Laroche picking up two fouls each in the first half, the NMSU bench scored 10 first-half points. Freshman walk-on DJ Lewis made his first appearance as an Aggie, scoring a lay up to give NMSU a 28-27 lead with 2:48 left in the first half.
Bakersfield nailed 4-of-11 3s in the first half, opening the game with three consecutive triples. The Roadrunners scored eight straight points to lead 17-6.
Mullings scored 11 of the Aggies’ first 15 points for and had 13 first-half points. Mullings outscored Bakersfield 9-0 to pull the Aggies to within 17-15. 
The game was significant in that key players battled foul trouble and with only nine players dressed, the Aggies still found a way to win.

"It's a momentum boost because we lost two guys and that puts more pressure on everyone," Watson said. "I think we have done a good job coping with it."


Anonymous said...

Congrats Aggs! We needed this going into WAC play. Not thrilled about just getting by on the free throw line but I will take it at this point. MM needs to make some hard adjustments especially before playing the Wolfpack.

Anonymous said...

Watson and Sy executed for the "W"

But did Menzies end up getting credit for the win based on yelling at the refs while the Roadrunners kid was at the line with 2.4 seconds to go? curious what in the know folks are saying...

I guess Bakersfield didn't intentionally miss their 2nd free throw toss or otherwise why was that kid raking Watson in his face? Guess it wasn't a make up call for the one on Wendell. Probably won't get another gift from opponents all season so hopefully Aggies can seal the deal at Ruston tonite! War bulldogs, War wolfpack, War utah aggies!