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NCAA Tournament Scores 2017: New Mexico State falls to Baylor 91-73

The Aggies started strong but sputtered in the second half.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Baylor vs New Mexico State Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

New Mexico State led Baylor at the half and had the Bears fearing another early tournament exit. But Baylor dominated the second half to cruise to a 91-73 win.

The Aggies got off to a quick start and carried that momentum to a halftime lead. An early eight-point lead quickly evaporated following an 11-0 Baylor run. But, New Mexico State was able to stick with the Bears for the remainder of the half behind a surprising three point shooting display.

The Aggies averaged just over 33 percent from three over the course of the season. But in the first half they knocked down six threes on 14 attempts, including a three from Braxton Huggins to take a two-point lead into halftime.

Unfortunately for New Mexico State, the hot shooting did not carryover into the second half. A Johnathan Motley three with 16:27 to play gave Baylor the lead for good. The Bears opened the half on a 30-8 run to put the game out of reach.

Baylor’s dominance on the boards prevented New Mexico State from mounting a comeback in the second half. The Aggies ranked 18th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, but Baylor was able to control the glass in the second half, out-rebounding the Aggies by 14.

Another big factor for Baylor was the performance of its bench. The two leading scorers for the Bears came off the bench: Al Freeman led all scorers with 21 points, while Terry Maston contributed 19. In total, Baylor’s bench outscored New Mexico State’s 42 to 16.

New Mexico State’s leading scorers were Huggins and Ian Baker, who both finished with 19 points. The loss ends New Mexico State’s season at 28-6. The Aggies got off to an excellent start at 22-2 in head coach Paul Weir’s first season at the helm. Three losses in their final six regular season games hurt their NCAA Tournament seeding.