March 11, 2012
LAS VEGAS - In the program's first Western Athletic Conference Championship game, Louisiana Tech fell 82-57 to New Mexico State Saturday night at the Orleans Arena as senior Trevor Gaskins tied his career-high with 24 points.
The Bulldogs are 18-16 while the Aggies are now 26-9 and move onto the NCAA Tournament after earning the conference's automatic bid.
Tech struggled in the first half as they shot only 25.0 percent (9-36) from the field and missed all 10 of their three-point attempts. New Mexico State on the other hand went 17-for-31 (54.8 percent) on their field goal attempts and outrebounded Tech 30-15 as the Aggies took a 38-20 lead into halftime.
After NMSU stretched their lead to 31 nearly seven minutes into the second period, the Bulldogs fought back to get within 67-46 with 3:55 to play on an old-fashion three-point play from Gaskins.
That would be as close as the Bulldogs would get as NMSU came away with the victory.
Gaskins was a perfect 11-of-11 at the free throw line which is tied for the seventh best in program history with former Bulldog Victor King who accomplished the feat against Centenary on Dec. 27, 1978.
Freshman Raheem Appleby also reached double-figures in scoring with 15 on 7-of-15 shooting.
LA Tech shot 32.8 percent (20-61) from the field for the game and made just three three-pointers.
Wendell McKines recorded a double-double with a game-high 27 points and 14 rebounds. Tyrone Watson and Daniel Mulling both scored 12 points apiece as well.
New Mexico State shot 55.9 percent (33-59) from the field and scored 56 of their 82 points in the paint. On the glass, the Aggies outrebounded the Bulldogs 46-27 including 33-16 on the defensive boards.
Appleby and Gaskins were both named to the all-tournament team after their performances in the tournament.