LAS CRUCES — Tuesday night was supposed to be good night for the New Mexico State Aggies. The preseason WAC favorites were playing at home. It was a rivalry game against I-25 rival New Mexico. Jerry Kill was being introduced as the new head football coach at New Mexico State. It was going to be a special night.
Unfortunately, everything that could have went wrong actually did go wrong at the Pan American Center on Tuesday. 45 minutes after tip-off, the power went out in the arena. Originally it was thought to be a campus-wide power outage. But that was not the case. So, generators were the source of light in the Pan Am. This, in turn, made streaming the game on ESPN+ or even over tradition radio impossible.
Aggies play-by-play radio guy Jack Nixon was actually calling the game for KXPZ 99.5FM on his flip phone.
— Colin Deaver (@ColinDeaverTV) December 1, 2021
Late in the second half, the bathrooms were closed due to the power outage. Just a nightmare at the Pan Am Center.
PA announcer just said the restrooms are for emergency use only at this time. Hold on to those empty water bottles.
— Stephen Wagner (@stephenwag22) December 1, 2021
However, the power outage might have been the least of concerns for the New Mexico State faithful.
Lobos Take Advantage
The New Mexico Lobos took advantage of all the issues hampering the Pan Am on Tuesday night. The Lobos shot nearly 47 percent from the field, had four players in double figures in a 101-94 win over the Aggies.
Jaelen House had 31 points to lead the Lobos who were 11-point underdogs coming into the contest. Teddy Allen led the Aggies with 31 points, as well. The teams shot 77 free throws in the contest. The Lobos were 35-42 from the charity stripe. And the Aggies were 27-35. Free throw shooting was the difference in the 7-point win for the Lobos.
Both teams hit 29 field goals. The two rivals also had 9 turnovers each. New Mexico State was 9-31 from deep while the Lobos were 8-20 from beyond the arc.
In the second half, New Mexico State never led. The Aggies got close at 61-60 and then again at 75-73 on a Marchelus Avery dunk. But, the Lobos had an answer every time. And the Lobos hit 10 of 12 free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
Rebounding and Defense Was an Issue
“We just didn’t defend tonight,” New Mexico State interim head coach James Miller said. “We didn’t get stops when we needed to. And that’s not (been) the culture or DNA of our program in the past. It’s really disappointing. And look at what they shoot from the floor, and I don’t think these stats are fully accurate. They killed us on the offensive glass. We couldn’t get a stop when we needed to. We couldn’t get a defensive rebound we needed to.”
New Mexico had 10 offensive boards in the contest. The Aggies had just seven. And the Lobos had a 39-35 advantage on the boards.
Tuesday night was the first time since 2017 that an opponent has broken the 100-point barrier in a game at the Pan Am Center. On Feb. 18, 2017, the Aggies beat UTRGV 107-101. The home loss also snaps a 14-game winning streak at the Pan Am.
Next up for the Aggies is a trip down I-10 to take on rival UTEP on Friday. The Aggies beat the Miners, 77-71, on Nov. 13 in Las Cruces. New Mexico State is hoping to have head coach Chris Jans back on the sidelines on Saturday. Jans has missed the past two games due to COVID protocols. New Mexico State falls to 5-2 on the season.