New Mexico 75 North Carolina A&T 59
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP)—David Chiotti and Danny Granger each scored 18 points and New Mexico overcame 26 turnovers to beat North Carolina A&T 75-59 in the NABC Classic Friday night.
New Mexico (1-0) broke the game open in the first eight minutes of the second half. The Aggies (0-1) got a free throw from guard Sean Booker in the opening minute, then went scoreless for the next 7:43. The drought ended with a turnaround jumper by Jeff Alvis with 12:17 left in the game, but by then the Lobos were up 48-34.
Chiotti and Granger dominated the smaller Aggies inside. Chiotti hit 8 of 9 shots and Granger was 5-for-8. Granger also hit 8 of 14 free throws.
Booker, the leading freshman scorer in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference last season when he averaged 14.6 points a game, led the Aggies with 18 points, 15 of them in the first half.
Both teams showed plenty early rust. New Mexico had 19 turnovers in the first 29 minutes. North Carolina A&T had 21 turnovers and was forced to run most of its offense on the perimeter, hitting just 6 of 24 3-point shots.
The Aggies, who finished 3-25 last season and were 322nd out of 326 Division I teams on the RPI rankings, stayed close in the first half on Booker’s shooting and New Mexico’s 14 turnovers.
Booker hit 5 of 9 shots and was 3-for-5 on 3-pointers in the first half. He hit just one field in the second half.
Four straight free throws by Booker in the final 13.5 seconds of the first half cut the Lobos’ lead to 38-31, but the Aggies’ shooting problems early in the second half allowed New Mexico to go on a 10-1 run.
Granger had 13 points in the first half and even played point guard at times. But he, like most of his teammates, had trouble holding onto the ball.
Granger finished with a team-high six turnovers and the Lobos’ corps of guards combined for another 13.
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