There was no question the Aggies (6-1) owned the paint. The only things that kept them from pulling away for a more lopsided win against the scrappy Panthers were turnovers (18) and not getting the ball inside on every possession.
NMSU shot 65.6 percent (21-of-32) on 2-point attempts but was just 6-of-23 (26.1 percent) from beyond the arc.
“Our number one key going into the game was owning the paint,” said NMSU coach Chris Jans. “We felt like we had a huge advantage around the basket and we wanted to do everything in our power every possession to get it down there. We may have settled a little (on some outside jump shots), I’ll have to watch the video, but I’m fine with (the shot selection overall).”
Harris’ 17 points came on 6-of-12 shooting, 2-of-6 from 3-point range, and showed off the increased balance the Aggies have demonstrated of late. Leading scorer Zach Lofton, who came off the bench with an ailing hip injury, had just five points on 1-of-5 shooting.
Jones had 18 points, 12 rebounds (six offensive), three assists and three steals and in 32 minutes.
“He’s just a stat sheet stuffer,” Jans said. “That’s what he does. He figures out a way to get rebounds and score the basketball.”
Harris said Jones gave him specific instructions during the game.
“He told me today, ‘Just keep shooting. I’m going to get every rebound,”” Harris said.
Prairie View (2-5), which committed 24 turnovers, had three players score in double figures, led by Gary Blackston’s game-high 19.
San Diego at NMSU
7 p.m., Aggie Vision
99.5 FM (Las Cruces)
1150 AM (Albuquerque)