One Team All Green

Second Half Surge Helps New Mexico State End UVU’s Home Winning Streak

Clark Clifford - UVU Athletics

OREM — A tale of two halves. It’s that simple. Eli Chuha, A.J. Harris and Terrell Brown combined to score 37 second-half points to help New Mexico State beat UVU, 83-78, on Saturday night in the UCCU Center. The win snaps UVU’s 22-game home winning streak and helps the Aggies improve to 15-4 overall and 4-1 in the WAC. UVU drops to 13-7 overall and 2-3 in the conference play.

The win also helped NMSU redeem themselves from a season ago, when they lost at both UVU and Seattle. NMSU beat Seattle, 87-60, on Thursday night. 

“We are just thrilled to win both,” NMSU head coach Chris Jans said. “Especially tonight. I got so much respect for Coach Pope and how he runs his program … so it feels really good to beat a team and a coaching staff that you have a lot of respect for.”

UVU went on a 13-0 run early in the first half, capped off by a Wyatt Lowell 3-pointer that made it 22-10. Following a timeout by Jans, New Mexico State turned things on. The Aggies went on an 8-0 run and cut the deficit to four with 10:21 to play. UVU pushed the lead back to 11 on a Ben Nakwaasah 3-pointer with 2:50 remaining in the half. UVU went into the halftime locker room with a 39-33 lead.

And then the real fun began.

JoJo Zamora and A.J. Harris hit back-to-back 3-pointers that cut the deficit to one. Harris added another 3-pointer that gave NMSU its first lead since the 15:34 mark of the first half. And from there, the game went back and forth. 

It included 15 lead changes and 20 ties. It wasn’t until about the 3:44 mark that NMSU took control. Johnny McCants hit a layup that gave the Aggies a 69-66 lead.

And things got even wilder. A.J. Harris hit a 3-pointer to give the Aggies a 72-66 lead. Jake Toolson scored on a driving layup to cut into the lead but Harris answered with his own driving layup to push the lead back to five 2:05 left to play.

Ben Nakwaasah hit a driving layup that cut back into the deficit. But Zamora hit a corner 3-pointer with 1:25 to play that was the nail in the coffin.

The Aggies went 6-of-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the big road win. 

“It feels good to come on the road and get a win,” Chuha said. “This is a great team. The WAC is getting a lot better over the years. This is a great team. They’re well-coached. And it feels real good to finally come in here and get a win after losing last year.”

Chuha finished with a double double for NMSU with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Terrell Brown finished with 19 points and sive rebounds. A.J. Harris finished with 18 points and five assists. And former Utah guard JoJo Zamora finished with 13 points.

Jake Toolson finished with a game-high 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting for UVU. Ben Nakwaasah and Wyatt Lowell were also in double figures for UVU with 13 and 12 points, respectively. 

Two Key Stats to Look At

NMSU finished 29-of-35 from the free throw line while UVU was 18-of-25 from the charity stripe. NMSU also had nine offensive rebounds compared to just two for UVU. The offensive boards led to a 12-1 advantage in second-chance points.

Next up for UVU is a trip to the midwest to face UMKC on Thursday and Chicago State on Saturday. New Mexico State travels to Texas to take on UTRGV next Saturday.  

 

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