New Mexico St. 89 San Francisco 78
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP)—Justin Hawkins scored a career high 24 points and New Mexico State dominated inside to pull away from San Francisco in the second half for an 89-78 win Saturday night.
There were 10 lead changes in the first half before New Mexico State (3-3) took control with a mixture of man defense, the slash to the basket quickness of Hawkins and David Fisher and the inside presence of 7-footer Martin Iti.
Fisher added 21 points and Iti finished with 11 points. Iti, Fisher and Hawkins each had 8 rebounds as the Aggies outrebounded the Dons 42-22.
Armondo Surratt scored 28 points and Manny Quezada 22 for San Francisco (4-5).
The Dons hit four of their first six 3-pointers and traded leads with the Aggies through the first 16 minutes. But the Aggies stepped up their defensive pressure and held the Dons without a field goal for nearly seven minutes—the final 3:44 of the first half and the first 3:02 of the second half.
Still the Aggies led by just four (39-35) three minutes into the second half.
They pulled away with a 17-7 run that included back-to-back baskets by Hawkins and a layup by Iti that gave NMSU a 56-42 lead with 12:12 remaining.
Iti, who came into the game having missed 10 straight free throws, extended the streak to 11 before hitting one with 14:31 left in the first half.
New Mexico State hit just one 3-pointer in the game, content instead to pound the ball inside to Iti, Hawkins, Fisher and 6-foot-10 Hatila Passos.
Both teams had spurts of sloppiness and each finished with 20 turnovers.
For the second straight night the Aggies used their size advantage to draw plenty of fouls. They made 29 of 46 in an 80-74 win over Chicago State on Friday and were 32 of 49 against San Francisco.