A solid defensive effort combined with hot shooting from the outside led to a 71-55 dominating victory for the Aggies over Drake in an ESPNU Bracketbusters game on Saturday afternoon.
The Aggies hit 7-of-13 three point attempts, three from point guard Hernst Laroche, two from Bandja Sy and two from Wendell McKines part of his game-high 25 points. The Aggies held Drake to just 34 percent shooting and were never really threatened in the game.
New Mexico State jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the game as Hernst Laroche hit a three and Daniel Mullings finished a fast break with a dunk. The Aggies would go on a 7-0 run to push their lead to 12 at 19-7. The Bulldogs would cut the Aggies' lead to nine on three different occasions, the latest coming at the 3:55 mark but New Mexico State would go on a 7-2 run to go up 40-26 with 2:05 left. Neither team scored the rest of the half and the Aggies would go into halftime with a 14 point advantage.
The Bulldogs would come out of the halftime break and quickly cut the Aggies' lead to 10 but New Mexico State would go on another 7-0 run to push their lead to 17. The lead would grow to 21 points with just under 12 minutes to go and it remained at 21 with just over seven minutes left. Drake would cut the lead down to 16 on a layup by Jordan Clarke with 4:24 left but the Aggies would push the lead back to 20 after a pair of Wendell McKines free throws with 2:38 left and would hold on for the 16 point win.
McKines finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds notching his 15th double-double of the season. Hamidu Rahman had a career-high five blocks and grabbed six rebounds and scored nine points. Hernst Laroche added 17 points while Daniel Mullings added 10 points and had five steals.
Rayvonte Rice scored 18 points for Drake and Aaron Hawley added 14.
The win over Drake is the 20th victory of the season for New Mexico State and the Aggies head back into conference play on Thursday night as they host Hawai'i in an important WAC battle with the winner having an inside track at the 2-seed in the WAC tournament.