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30 Seconds of Chaos Highlights Thursday Night WAC Hoops Action

If every Thursday night in the Western Athletic Conference is going to be like this, then it is going to be an entertaining two months. Last Thursday, Milan Acquaah going off for a career-high 36 points to help California Baptist beat New Mexico State. And one week later, chaos erupted in the Pan American Center in Las Cruces. Yes, if you didn’t stay up to watch the end of the New Mexico State/Grand Canyon game, you missed a crazy ending. 

New Mexico State needed a win to bounce back from its opening weekend loss. Grand Canyon was looking to improve to 3-0 in conference play. Neither fan base likes each other. And considering there were 11 ties and 23 lead changes, it’s safe to say both teams went toe-to-toe with each other.

The Aggies looked to be in control, leading by 3 with 30 seconds to play. New Mexico State got its defensive stop. And now, had to take care of the basketball to seal the win. However, guard A.J. Harris mishandled his dribble, leading to a steal and layup by GCU’s Damari Milstead. On the ensuing inbound play, Milstead got another steal and layup and all of a sudden GCU led 75-74 with 13 seconds to play.

NMSU guard Terrell Brown drove length of the court but was fouled on a shot attempt. Hitting free throws was not something NMSU did well on Thursday. And the free throw line wasn’t a place New Mexico State fans wanted any Aggie to be. The Aggies were 8-17 from the charity stripe prior to Brown’s attempts. And it got worse. Brown missed both and NMSU was forced to foul when GCU’s Trey Drechsel came down with the rebound. GCU wasn’t in the double bonus so it was a one-and-one situation. Whether it was intentional or not, that will never be known. But, Drechsel missed the front end. Redshirt sophomore Johnny McCants grabbed the rebound for New Mexico State. McCants took three dribbles and threw up a prayer from just beyond half court. 

As the great Stuart Scott might say, “Nothing but the bottom of the net!” McCants prayer was answered and New Mexico State walked away with a 77-75 win over GCU.

CSU Bakersfield Impressive in Road Win

CSU Bakersfield is now at the top of the WAC standings. The ‘Runners held off the pesky Vaqueros to win in Edinburg, 75-69. Despite turning the ball over 22 times and nearly giving away a 15-point lead with just over three minutes to play, CSU Bakersfield got the job done. The ‘Runners shot 41 percent from the field and had 20 second chance points. CSU Bakersfield also outscored UTRGV in points in the paint, 30-16. Whether or not people want to admit it, head coach Rod Barnes has his team right in the thick of the WAC race. We said don’t be surprised if CSU Bakersfield is 3-1 or even 4-0 after the second weekend of WAC play. 

Big Second Half Helps UMKC Pull Away

It was a four-point lead at halftime for UMKC in its game against California Baptist. But in the second half, it was an entirely different game. UMKC shot 60 percent from the field and committed just three turnovers in the half to turn a close game into a rout. Brandon McKissic and Jordan Giles each scored 17 points and UMKC beat California Baptist 84-68 inside the Swinney Center. Don’t look now but Kareem Richardson has his team at 2-0 in WAC play. However, the schedule gets a little tougher with a trip to CSU Bakersfield next Thursday and then GCU on Saturday. 


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