LAS VEGAS (AP) — Wendell McKines led five New Mexico State players in double figures with 22 points, and the Aggies built a 20-point lead before holding off numerous Hawaii rallies in the second half for a 92-81 win over the Rainbow Warriors in the Western Athletic Conference semifinals on Friday night.
New Mexico State (25-9) will play for an NCAA tournament bid in Saturday night’s final against No. 5 seed Louisiana Tech. The Aggies reached the conference finals for the third time since 2008.
The second-seeded Aggies blitzed the Warriors at the start, jumping out to 17-0 and 22-2 leads in the opening moments. Hawaii trimmed the deficit within single digits by halftime and got as close as 61-60 with 10:35 left but could never pull in front.
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Shaquille Stokes led No. 6-seeded Hawaii (16-16) with 21 points and Vander Joaquim added 17.