No. 25 Utah State beats New Mexico State 78-59
LOGAN, Utah (AP)—After struggling the last three games at home, Utah State’s Gary Wilkinson didn’t miss a shot against New Mexico State.
Teammate Tyler Newbold almost did the same.
Wilkinson had a perfect shooting night and scored 18 points and Newbold made five 3-pointers as No. 25 Utah State beat New Mexico State 78-59 on Thursday night, extending the nation’s longest winning streak to 17 games.
“I haven’t been playing as well at home the past couple of games,” said Wilkinson, who went 5-for-5 from the field and made all eight of his free throws. “I made it a goal to just come out and be as active and tenacious as I could be and it worked out well for me tonight.”
Wilkinson had been averaging just eight points over the last three home games. He matched that from the free throw line alone Thursday and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Aggies (22-1, 10-0 Western Athletic Conference).
New Mexico State (11-12, 5-5) had shut down the lane for the most part, but that didn’t stop the other Aggies from scoring as they made a season-high 12 3-pointers.
Newbold went 5-for-6 from beyond the arc and Jared Quayle was 4-of-8 on 3-pointers. Utah State lost Wilkinson and forward Tai Wesley to foul trouble early in the game but made up for it with outside shooting.
“I guess I felt a little bit of that (pressure) when they were in foul trouble a little bit,” said Newbold, who finished with 17 points. “But really, the shots that I had came within the flow of the offense and I was just able to take them and able to hit them.”
The Aggies are nationally ranked for the first time in five years and are within two wins of the school record of 19 in a row, set in 2000.
“Whether we’re ranked or not, we want to come out the same way. That really shouldn’t affect how hard you play or your desire to work hard,” Newbold said.
Quayle finished with 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Utah State, which had 15 offensive rebounds in its first game as a nationally ranked team in five years.
Utah State has won 30 straight at home.
Jahmar Young led New Mexico State (11-12, 5-5) with 15 points. The Aggies were just 10-for-29 in the second half and 9-for-17 from the foul line in the game. New Mexico State stayed within reach until the final minutes, when Utah State scored the last seven points of the game.
Jonathan Gibson had 13 points and was the only New Mexico State player other than Young to score in double figures.
“Our team is still a work in progress when it comes to executing,” New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies said. “We took too many quick shots and turned into gunslingers at the end of the game.”
Utah State made its first five 3-pointers in the first half and opened the second half 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. Newbold finished 5-for-6, adding one last 3 with less than a minute left.
Pooh Williams scored 11 points and Brady Jardine had nine rebounds for Utah State, which had 24 rebounds in the second half to New Mexico’s 16.
“I thought we were pretty soft in the first half,” Utah State coach Stew Morrill said. “They were playing very, very physical and we weren’t responding on the boards.”
After falling behind 18-4, New Mexico State was able to slowly cut into the lead and get within 35-32 at halftime. Utah State faltered at the foul line and the other Aggies took advantage. Young made a 3-pointer, then a layup on a long pass from Gibson after Utah State missed an inside shot.
Young’s layup made it 30-28 and New Mexico State got two points just before halftime on a goaltending call.
New Mexico State made the trip without freshman guard Terrance Joyner, who was arrested Wednesday after authorities discovered marijuana inside his luggage at the El Paso, Texas airport. Police say Joyner was charged with marijuana possession.