March 8, 2013
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Louisiana Tech had their 18-game winning streak come to an end on Thursday night as the Bulldogs fell to New Mexico State 78-60 at the Pan American Center in front of an announced crowd of 6,941.
The conference loss was a first for LA Tech (26-4, 16-1 WAC) this season who had gone almost three months without a defeat.
The Bulldogs quickly jumped on NMSU (20-10, 13-4 WAC) to start the game, opening up a 23-13 advantage after a made jumper by Raheem Appleby.
"I thought we caused some turnovers in our press," said head coach Michael White. "We had active hands and we played with a bunch of energy. It seemed like every turnover led to more and more energy on our part."
The offense of the Bulldogs then went cold for the next five minutes, allowing the Aggies to use a 15-0 run to claim the 28-23 lead.
Appleby hit a three-pointer at the 6:13 mark to end the drought, but NMSU forced 11 turnovers and went 13-of-17 from the charity stripe to help give them a 43-34 edge into halftime.
"We went into a little bit of an offensive lull there," said White. "They got some really good defensive stops and before you knew it we found ourselves in a hole."
Two quick dunks by the Aggies out of the break gave the home team a 13-point edge, but the Bulldogs switched to a 2-3 zone on defense that allowed them to peck away at the lead, using a 12-3 run to cut the deficit to within four, 50-46 with 12:59 left to play.
However, NMSU forced two more turnovers to aid an 8-0 run and increase their lead back to double-digits. The Aggies produced another run of 9-0 later in the game, giving them their largest lead, 73-54.
In two of the Bulldogs three previous losses, the defense allowed the opposition to shoot at least 50 percent from the field. New Mexico State became the third loss as the Aggies shot 54.7 percent on 29-of-53 shooting, only five of those coming outside the paint.
Turnovers plagued the Bulldogs all night, giving up a total of 17, and were outrebounded 40-26.
"New Mexico State is a really talented team, but I'm surprised at the way we handled the ball," said White. "[I'm] not surprised that we struggled to guard them or that we struggled to rebound. I'm surprised that we turned the ball over 17 times."
New Mexico State was led by Daniel Mullings who had a game-high 23 points along with eight rebounds.
LA Tech wraps up the regular season at Denver on Saturday, March 9 at 6 p.m. CT. at the Magness Arena.
For complete coverage of LA Tech Men's Basketball, please follow @LATechHoops on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at www.LATechSports.com.