Battling from behind in the closing minutes of the game, the Aggies (19-10, 12-4) came up short in a battle for second place in the WAC race by losing to the Denver Pioneers, 66-60, in Denver.
The loss pretty much locks-up third place in the WAC regular season standings for the Aggies. The Aggies have two regular season games remaining, both at home, Thursday night against No. 25 Louisiana Tech, and then Saturday night against UT-Arlington. The Aggies then head off to Las Vegas, NV for the 2013 WAC Basketball Tournament at The Orleans Arena, March 12th-16th.
In a bit of a surprising move, coach Marvin Menzies returned to his familiar early season starting lineup including the presence of senior forward, Tyrone Watson. Watson had been serving a 30-day suspension on legal charges. Watson returned to the Aggie team on Monday and practiced all week.
Aggie freshman center, Sim Bhullar finished the night with 17 points and 4 blocked shots. The Pioneers struggled all night stopping the big man and feared his presence inside the paint.
Aggie senior forward, Bandja Sy had a double-double and lead all scorers with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Sy also wooed the Pioneer crowd with another showcase dunk on an assist from guard K.C. Ross-Miller.
The Aggies led at halftime, 28-27 and stretched their lead to 42-37 with 12:47 remaining, but the Pioneers then went on a resounding 15-0 run for a 52-42 lead at the 6:37 mark.
NMSU countered with a 12-3 run to trail by only one point with 1:51 remaining. The Aggies never did recapture the lead and ended up losing, 66-60.