New Mexico St. 92, Hawaii 86
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP)—Martin Iti scored 14 points as New Mexico State extended its win streak to 10 Thursday night with a 92-86 victory over Hawaii to open Western Athletic Conference play.
Iti scored 10 of his points in the second half, all except one coming on dunks. Justin Hawkins added 18 points for the Aggies (11-3, 1-0 WAC), who have now won 13 consecutive home games dating back to last season.
NMSU’s win also ended a five-game win streak for Hawaii (9-5, 0-1 WAC).
Matt Lojeski led Hawaii with 22 points.
The lead had changed nine times when NMSU took the advantage for good following Iti’s third dunk in as many minutes to make it 65-64 with 7:35 left in the second half.
Iti’s dunks were part of a 21-10 Aggie run that was capped by Tyrone Nelson hitting a close jumper with 5:05 left on the clock. The basket put the Aggies up 77-66.
Hawaii pulled within 86-82 with 24 seconds to play on a breakaway dunk by Matt Gibson. The Rainbow Warriors were forced to foul the rest of the way and the Aggies hit 4 of 6 free throws and an uncontested Shaun Davis dunk clinched the win.
The Rainbow Warriors held the Aggies to 40 percent shooting in the first half and went into the locker room leading 38-34.
Hawaii’s first half shooting wasn’t spectacular either. The team shot 42 percent but was able to outscore the Aggies 12-5 on points off turnovers.
NMSU kept the game within reach going into the second half by outscoring the Warriors 10-2 on second-chance point opportunities in the opening half.