The New Mexico State men's basketball team rallied from a sluggish start to defeat 6-seed Nevada 66-60 and advance to the semifinals where they'll face 2-seed Boise State on Friday night.
The Aggies fell behind 9-0 early and did not lead in the game until three free throws from Gordo Castillo put the Aggies ahead 43-40 with 12:13 left to play. The Aggies would fall behind by five points with 5:22 left to play as Malik Story would strip the ball from Troy Gillenwater in the paint take it the distance for a layup and a three point play giving Nevada a 54-49 lead. The Aggies would go on an 8-0 run fueled by senior Gordo Castillo and Gillenwater as Castillo would make a pair of free throws and the Aggies would then get back-to-back three point plays from Gillenwater and Castillo putting the Aggies up 57-54 with 2:56 left to play.
The Aggies would extend the lead to five on a three pointer from Troy Gillwater from the top of the key off a feed from Christian Kabongo and the Aggies would sink all six free throws in the final 32 seconds to hold off the Wolf Pack.
Castillo finished with 14 points going 10-for-10 from the free throw stripe and scored all 14 points in the second half. Gillenwater finished with 18 points and was also perfect from the free throw stripe hitting 7-of-7 attempts. The Aggies shot outstandingly from the free throw line as they converted 28-of-34 attempts (82.4 percent) while the Wolf Pack struggled hitting just 15-of-25 free throw attempts.
The Aggies out-rebounded the Wolf Pack by one, 29-28, but had six offensive rebounds in the second half.
Malik Story led all scorers with 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Olek Czyz was the only other Wolf Pack player in double-figures as he finished with 11 points. The Aggies limited Deonte Burton to just nine points as Burton picked up his fourth personal foul with just under 10 minutes left to play in the game and sat out the majority of the final 10 minutes.
The Aggies have now eliminated Nevada from WAC postseason play three of the past four seasons, the previous two times resulting in a trip to the title game.
The Aggies take on 2-seed Boise State at 9:59 p.m. (MT) with the game being televised on ESPN2.