Idaho men fall short after leading at halftime
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Wendell McKines scored 23 points and added 10 rebounds to lead New Mexico State to an 80-68 victory over Idaho Saturday night.
NMSU (13-5, 3-0 Western Athletic Conference) finished 58.7 percent from the field and shot 23 for 32 (71.9 percent) from the foul line, including 17 for 21 in the second half.
Hernst Laroche had 20 points and Hamidu Rahman added 12 points and six rebounds for NMSU.
Freshman Connor Hill led Idaho (9-9, 2-2) with 12 points, while Deremy Geiger and Kyle Barone scored 11 apiece. Hill, who struggled at Louisiana Tech on Thursday, finished 3 for 5 on 3-pointers.
Laroche hit a 3-pointer with 10:07 remaining to put NMSU up 57-51. McKines scored four consecutive points to put the Aggies up 10 with 4:57 left in the game.
Idaho closed to 69-66 on a pair of Barone free throws with 3:55 remaining, but NMSU outscored Idaho 11-4 in the last 3:29, punctuated by Tyrone Watson’s three-point play at the 1:03 mark to make it 75-68.
NMSU shot 61.9 percent in the second half while Idaho finished at 44.1 percent.
Idaho led 37-35 at halftime after shooting 48.4 percent from the floor and hitting 4 for 10 from 3-point range.
Idaho was called for a season-high 25 fouls.
“They just kind of wore us down there at the end,” Vandals coach Don Verlin said. “They just move you down there, move you down there and get a lot of fouls called, and tonight they made their free throws at a really good clip. That was really the difference.”