New Mexico St. 66, San Jose St. 61
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP)—Tyrone Nelson scored 17 points and had 13 rebounds and New Mexico State overcame poor shooting and turnovers to beat San Jose State 66-61 Monday night.
NMSU (13-12, 8-5 WAC) has won four straight for the first time since the start of the 2003-04 season. San Jose State (6-20, 2-10 WAC) has lost four in a row and 15 of its last 17.
The Spartans were led by Demetrius Brown with 25 points and 8 rebounds. Jared Cozad had 9 points and 8 rebounds. Alex Elam, the Spartans’ leading scorer, was sick and didn’t make the trip to Las Cruces.
The Aggies won despite 19 turnovers. New Mexico State also missed 40 of 60 shots (33.3 percent) and made just 3 of 17 3-pointers. The Aggies made up for their shooting with 24 offensive rebounds and a 49-35 overall rebounding edge.
Nelson and guard Mike Mitchell, who hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second half, rallied the Aggies from a 39-30 deficit with 17:38 left in the game. Mitchell’s first 3-pointer with 11:57 left got the Aggies within 45-43 and David Fisher’s two free throws at 9:07 put NMSU up 48-47. That was the Aggies’ first lead since Nelson’s short jumper in the game’s opening minute.
Fisher hit a pair of free throws to give the Aggies a 58-54 lead with 5:46 left but Brown tied it with a 15-foot jumper and a basket off an offensive rebound. Carlton Spencer’s free throw with 2:15 left gave the Spartans their final lead (61-60).
Mitchell’s two free throws put NMSU ahead for good with 1:53 left. Fisher, who finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, added two more free throws after a San Jose State turnover with 1:20 left.
Spartans center Lance Holloway threw up an airball on a wide open layup, and Nelson followed with a dunk at the other end.
San Jose State also helped the Aggies’ comeback by committing 19 turnovers and shooting just 36 percent.