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Warrior rally falls short against New Mexico State

LAS VEGAS – New Mexico State jumped out to a 22-2 lead in the first six minutes and then held off Hawai’i, 92-81, in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals tonight at The Orleans Arena.

The Warriors end their season at 16-16, with a bid to the College Invitational Tournament not expected. The Aggies improved to 25-9 and advance to tomorrow’s championship game against the winner of Nevada and Louisiana Tech.

Freshman guard Shaquille Stokes scored a game-high 21 points and junior center Vander Joaquim added 17 points to lead UH.

New Mexico State sprinted to a stunning 17-0 lead in the first 4:40, mostly on surprisingly easy fast-break layups or wide-open 3-point shots. Hawai’i, which committed only seven turnovers in Wednesday’s 72-70 upset of Idaho, lost the ball six times in the first seven
minutes as the Aggies took a 22-2 lead on Tshilidzi Nephawe’s three-point play with 13:58 remaining.

The lead was 38-20 after Wendell McKines’ 3-point basket with 5:44 left, but Joaquim answered with a layup 13 seconds later to start the Warriors on a 12-0 run that closed the gap to 38-32 after Stokes’ second straight 3-pointer with 3:20 remaining.

It was 44-38 with under a minute left before Hernst Laroche’s 3-pointer with 43 seconds remaining put New Mexico State ahead, 47-38, at the break.

UH closed it to 61-60 on Hauns Brereton’s baseline jumper with 10:36 left in the game, and drew it to 76-73 on Trevor Wiseman’s putback with 4:44 remaining, but the Aggies effectively sealed the victory with a 9-2 run capped by Hernst Laroche’s free throws that made it 85-75 at the 1:36 mark.

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More details, including video highlights and interviews, will be posted later.

(WarriorInsider.com photos by Brandon Flores)

5 Comments

  1. Noble Run Warriors! Thanks for giving your all. It was great to watch and be part of your fighting spirit. Prepare for the best upcoming year…..Final 4 – 2013

  2. Great heart and effort UH MBB team and Gib. Too bad got off to slow start..showed amazing grit, and gave maximum effort…just short…Hats off to a great bunch of guys. Through adversity, sickness, discipline, emotional highs and lows…one of the great 2 game runs in WAC tourney I have ever witnessed. Good job!

    Hit that recruiting trail Gib, get Scholar athletes and good shooters, defenders, and ones that can match the heart of your terrific 12 of 2012-2013 and you will be champs outright!

    Go Rainbow Warriors…
    Great job of rallying young men to give it all!!

  3. Why was there 100s of NMSU fans right behind the UH bench and zero UH fans behind the NMSU bench???

  4. I was behind the NMSU bench…and I was told by the usher I had to stop “taunting” the NMSU coach because an NMSU fan complained about me. Ridiculous.

  5. Good effort guys. The team played hard, but it was not to be. I think Coach did a good job with this team. There’s no telling what could have happened if Zane was healthy.

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