The Tigers, who have defeated the likes of Michigan State and Kansas State, opened up an early lead and a David Blanks layup at 12:39 in the first stanza made it 14-5. From there, however, the Aggies fought back.
Over the ensuing 12 minutes NM State gradually cut into TSU’s lead and with 29 seconds remaining in the half Jalyn Pennie grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it in to bring the Aggies within striking distance. The Tigers went into halftime with a 33-25 lead.
NM State opened the second half with an 11-4 run and a Pascal Siakam dunk at 15:07 brought the Aggies to within one at 37-36.
Three minutes later Baker tiptoed the baseline and laid it in to give the Aggies a 43-41 lead – their first lead since the 19:41 mark in the first half.
Siakam scored a career-high 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. Baker chipped in 11 points and hauled in five boards.
It was a tail of two halves for NM State. In the opening stanza the Aggies struggled to defend Tigers’ offense. TSU shot 50 percent (15-of-30) from the field, however, in the second half the Aggies held the Tigers to 45 percent (9-of-20) from the floor and caused seven turnovers.
The Aggies found success in front of the basket with 24 points in the paint and 32 rebounds.
Madarious Gibbs scored 15 points to lead TSU (3-10).
NM State (6-9) returns to the hardwood Saturday, Jan. 3 and plays host to UC Irvine. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
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