Courtesy of NMSU
EDINBURG, Texas –The New Mexico State Aggies had to spend four extra days in south Texas before playing Texas-Pan American, but Tshilidzi Nephawe made it payoff as the Aggies beat the Broncs 69-48 Wednesday night at UTPA Fieldhouse.
Nephawe racked up his fourth double-double of the season in leading the Aggies with 19 points and 14 rebounds to go with two blocked shots, two assists and a steal.
The Aggies (20-10, 12-1 WAC) collected their fourth straight 20-win season under head coach Marvin Menzies, as well as the sixth time in Menzies eighth season. It was the 26th time to win 20 games for the NM State program.
UT-Pan American (9-20, 3-10) lost its third straight and the seventh time in the last eight games.
“We played fantastic defense,” said Menzies. “We forced them into some bad shots. Offensively we stepped up, especially Chili (Nephawe).”
The Aggies never trailed in the game, as Remi Barry opened the scoring with a 3-pointer that keyed an opening 7-2 run.
But it was a 14-5 run midway through the first half put NM State in command of the contest, leading to a 10-point 32-22 lead at the half.
The Broncs closed to within six early in the second half, but sparked by a 3-pointer by Ian Baker, NM State pushed the advantage back to double-digits.
The Aggie closed the game on a 15-2 run and held the Broncs scoreless the last five minutes of the game.
“The guys had to overcome some adversity in dealing with flight cancelation last Saturday, then having to sit in south Texas so long before playing,” said Menzies. “But I was proud of the way they took care of business.”
In addition to Nephawe’s 19 points, Baker added 13 points with three assists, while Daniel Mullings collected 12 points with three steals.
UTPA was paced by Everett Osborne with 13 points, with Shaquille Boga posting 10 points.
The Aggies close the season on Saturday when they host Chicago State for Senior Night and the US Bank/Hall of Fame Night. It’s also a White Out and fans are encouraged to wear white to the game.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. for the Pack the Pan Am contest.