Wichita State grinds past Aggies
WICHITA, Kan. — Tekele Cotton scored 17 points and Ron Baker added 16 as No. 11 Wichita State wore down New Mexico State to win 71-54 on Friday night.
Darius Carter and Shaquille Morris added nine points each for the Shockers (1-0).
Daniel Mullings scored 14 points to lead New Mexico State (0-1).
Wichita State led by 17 at halftime and was never threatened after that, despite going 0-for-11 from the 3-point line.
A tip-in by Darius Carter pushed the Shockers’ lead to 21, 44-23, with 16:41 to play. The Aggies did not get the deficit below 19 until the final two minutes.
New Mexico State had 20 turnovers and took only 40 field-goal attempts, 23 fewer than Wichita State. The Aggies, a nearly unanimous choice to win the Western Athletic Conference, averaged more than 53 shot attempts and 77 points last season.
Wichita State took control late in the first half. Cotton ignited the momentum for the Shockers, scoring eight points in a 10-3 run that pushed the lead to 24-12 with 7:30 remaining in the half.
The Aggies could not find the offense to answer, making just two field goals in the half’s final eight minutes.
Meanwhile, Wichita State received five points from Morris and Baker heated up. His floater down the lane made it 34-17 with 3:39 left in the half, and Baker’s fade-away 18-footer gave Wichita State a 38-21 halftime lead.
Baker and Cotton each scored 10 points in the first half.
DAYS GONE BY
New Mexico State and Wichita State used to be Missouri Valley Conference rivals. The Aggies were an MVC member from 1970-71 to 1982-83 and had a 14-14 record against the Shockers entering Monday’s game.
The previous meeting between New Mexico State and Wichita State was played Feb. 21, 1983 in Las Cruces, a game the Shockers won 72-70 on Xavier McDaniel’s tip-in at the buzzer.
Wichita State: The Shockers unveiled two banners earned last season. One marked winning the Missouri Valley regular-season and tournament titles. The other was for their NCAA Tournament appearance. … Former Wichita State star Xavier McDaniel was in attendance.
New Mexico State: Mullings, the preseason Western Athletic Conference player of the year after averaging 16.8 points last season, took only three shots in 17 first-half minutes played. He was guarded by Cotton, Wichita State’s top defender.
Wichita State travels to Sioux Falls, S.D., to face Memphis on Tuesday.
New Mexico State plays at St. Mary’s very early Tuesday morning.