Aggies making return trip to tourney
LAS VEGAS (AP)
Sim Bhullar had 16 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead New Mexico State to a 64-55 victory over UT Arlington on Saturday night for its second straight Western Athletic Conference championship.
Holding a 32-30 lead at halftime, New Mexico State (24-10) used a 19-8 run to open its biggest lead of the game, going up 51-38 with 11:27 left in the game.
The Aggies earned an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament by staving off a furious rally by the Mavericks, who used Kevin Butler's 3-pointer from the top of the key with 10:17 left to key a 15-5 run and pull within three points with 1:55 left in the game.
But Terrel de Rouen's soft jumper just outside the key with 1:17 remaining halted UT Arlington's surge and shifted the momentum back toward the Aggies, who closed the game on an 8-2 run to seal the win.
Daniel Mullings added 16 points and six rebounds for the third-seeded Aggies, while Bandja Sy contributed with 10 points and six boards.
Butler led the fourth-seed Mavericks (19-13) with 13 points and 10 rebounds.