LAS CRUCES — Daniel Mullings scored only seven points, but he hit two free throws with 14 seconds left to give New Mexico State the lead for good in a 76-74 win over visiting Idaho on Thursday night.
The victory was the 10th straight for the Aggies (16-8, 10-2 Western Athletic Conference). They remain two losses behind first-place Louisiana Tech (20-3, 11-0), which routed Texas-San Antonio 74-49 on Thursday.
After Mullings’ two free throws, Idaho still got three shots at the basket on its final possession, but the tip-in by Kyle Barone was waved off as being after the horn. Officials upheld that ruling after reviewing replays.
Barone scored a game-high 26 for Idaho (9-13, 5-7), which lost 71-70 to the Aggies in Idaho on Jan. 12.
“It’s always a battle,” said NMSU coach Marvin Menzies, of his team’s games with Idaho.
Sim Bhullar scored 20 points on 8-of-8 shooting and grabbed five rebounds to lead the Aggies, who shot 53.6 percent from the field. Bandja Sy had nine points and 15 rebounds. Renaldo Dixon and Terrel de Rouen scored 12 points apiece.
Kevin Aronis’ 3-pointer gave NMSU a 67-56 lead with 6:14 remaining, but the Vandals responded with an 18-7 run capped off by Connor Hill’s 3-pointer to tie it at 74 with 1 minute to go. Hill finished with 21 points.
IDAHO 72, NMSU WOMEN 53: In Moscow, Idaho, the Aggie women (9-14, 3-9) shot only 29.7 percent from the field in their eighth consecutive defeat. Stefanie Gilbreath scored 21 points for the Aggies. Ali Forde scored 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting and had eight rebounds to lead the Vandals (11-12, 8-4).