The game came down to the final possessions, as the Bears had the ball with the shot clock turned off and trailing by one, 64-63. A missed 3-pointer by Northern Colorado’s Tate Unruh and an ensuing scramble for the ball gave Mullings a breakaway chance. Mullings converted a layup while being fouled with 3.1 seconds left on the clock. He converted the free throw to give the Aggies the 67-63 victory.
For the fourth-consecutive game Mullings led NM State in scoring, finishing with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He also finished tied for the Aggie rebound lead with seven total rebounds. Sophomore center Sim Bhullar also had seven rebounds and also finished in double-digit points with 10, all in the first half.
Junior guard DK Eldridge scored 10 points, while senior forward Renaldo Dixon also added 10 points, a season-high.
NM State led early in the first half as Mullings converted a three-point play as he was fouled on a converted jumper to give NM State a 7-2 lead. But the Bears fought right back, sinking three-consecutive jumpers to take an 8-7 lead.
Down 10-9 and in a half of runs, the Aggies went on their own 6-0 run to take a 15-10 lead. Dixon would score six of 11 points for NM State as the Aggies increased their lead to 20-12 with just under 11 minutes left in the half.
Northern Colorado would claw its way back as the Bears cut the Aggie lead to 27-25 with under five minutes left in the first half aided by a 3-pointer and dunk by Northern Colorado’s leading scorer Derrick Barden.
Bhullar had his 10 first-half points on 4-of-4 shooting to lead NM State. Dixon added another eight points. Mullings and Eldridge each grabbed four rebounds in the half to lead the Aggies.
A slam dunk by Mullings on an alley-oop from junior guard K.C. Ross-Miller and another Mullings’ layup on a fast break gave the Aggies their first double-digit lead at 10, 57-47, with 9:37 left in the game.
The NM State defense began to tighten up in the paint as the Aggie big-men had a couple of blocks down low midway through the half.
The Aggies could not shake off the Bears, however, as Bhullar missed a couple of front ends of one-and-ones and Barden hit a desperation three as the shot clock wound down to cut the NM State lead to three, 60-57, with 3:23 left in the game.
A Dixon dunk would extend the lead back to 64-58 with 2:25 left, but turnovers and missed free throws, including four-straight from Bhullar, gave the Bears hope. A three by Northern Colorado guard Tevin Svihovec with 41.5 seconds left slimmed the Aggie lead to 64-63 and set up the final half-minute of non-stop action.
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