Hawkins scores 26 points to lead New Mexico State over Chicago State, 94-61
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP)—Justin Hawkins scored 26 points and had 11 rebounds as New Mexico State beat Chicago State 94-61 in the first round of the Lou Henson Classic on Friday night.
Hawkins scored 17 of his game-high points in the first half, helping the Aggies (3-5) to a 45-34 lead at the break. Hawkins was 8-of-12 from the field and 8-of-8 from the free throw line for the night.
The Cougars (2-6) pulled to within four points, 23-19, midway through the first half. New Mexico State followed with 10 unanswered points, six by Hawkins, to take a 33-19 lead. By the break, they stretched the lead to 45-34.
The Aggies dominated the boards, outrebounding Chicago State 48-22. New Mexico State also controlled the inside game, more than doubling the Cougars on points scored in the paint, 48-23.
Chicago State stars David Holston and John Cantrell helped close the gap to 47-41 at the start of the second half, but the Aggies went on an 18-6 run.
After a brief Cougar rally, the Aggies followed with another 18-7 run to put the game away for good.
The Aggies’ depth played a key role in the win, as the bench scored 27 points on the night. Martin Iti led all non-starters with 11 points, Fred Peete had 19 points and Jonathan Gibson finished with 11.
Cantrell scored 19 points for Chicago State. Holston had 18 and Carl Montgomery added 13.
New Mexico State will play North Texas in the second round of the tournament Saturday evening. The other matchup will see Western New Mexico take on Chicago State.