COVID protocols sideline Aggies' Jans, who misses milestone win - Albuquerque Journal

COVID protocols sideline Aggies’ Jans, who misses milestone win

LAS CRUCES — Two New Mexico State men’s basketball team members picked up the 100th wins of their Aggie careers in Wednesday night’s 94-67 win over Division II New Mexico Highlands, but only one was present at the Pan American Center.

Redshirt senior forward Johnny McCants and coach Chris Jans each picked up their 100th wins as Aggies against the Cowboys, although only McCants was available on NMSU’s bench. Jans missed the game due to COVID-19 protocols, according to a statement from NMSU, but a spokesperson declined to provide further details.

The game was still credited to Jans’ record, although associate head coach James Miller acted as head coach for the evening.

McCants, however, did his part to reach his 100th win in an Aggie uniform with 18 points and seven rebounds. And redshirt junior forward Teddy Allen’s barrage of second-half 3-pointers helped, too. Especially once the Cowboys cut the lead to one point in the first minutes of the second half.

NMSU cruised to a 10-point lead in the first six minutes and led by as many as 14 points in the first half, but New Mexico Highlands gradually chipped away over the next 11 minutes to close the gap to four points in the final four minutes.

So McCants answered with his second 3-pointer of the night to stretch the lead back to seven points. And when the Cowboys scored a layup on the next possession, McCants immediately matched it with another bucket of his own to preserve NMSU’s fragile two-possession lead. The Aggies led 37-34 at halftime.

McCants again bailed out the Aggies early in the second half after the Cowboys cut the lead to one point on the first possession of the second half. But after the first media timeout just under five minutes into the game, it was time for McCants to pass the torch.

On his way to a game-high 21 points, Allen connected on four straight 3-pointers in less than two minutes to turn NMSU’s five-point lead into a 13-point lead and force New Mexico Highlands to call timeout to stop a 16-3 run.

NMSU cruised the rest of the way to the victory.

Jans is now the sixth Aggies’ head coach to reach 100 wins with the program — joining Lou Henson, Neil McCarthy, Marvin Menzies, Jerry Hines and Presley Askew — and the fastest coach to reach 100 wins with the program.

The Aggies are scheduled to host New Mexico on Tuesday. NMSU Athletics did not release a timeline for Jans’ return.

New Mexico St. 94, New Mexico Highlands 67

NEW MEXICO HIGHLANDS (0-1)

Adams 5-7 2-2 12, Sanchious 0-2 0-0 0, Barnes-Thompkins 1-12 3-4 6, Brown 6-11 0-0 14, Carpenter 4-11 2-3 10, Christmas 4-9 2-2 13, Johnson 1-1 0-0 2, Rodgers 2-5 0-0 5, Archuleta 0-0 0-0 0, Montanez 1-1 0-0 3, Sonnenberg 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 25-60 9-11 67.

NEW MEXICO ST. (5-1)

McCants 7-11 1-2 18, McNair 3-3 2-4 8, Tillman 1-4 1-1 3, Allen 8-13 0-0 21, Rice 5-10 0-1 12, McKinney 2-3 1-2 6, Peake 2-6 3-4 8, Avery 3-10 0-0 6, Williams 2-5 1-2 7, Pryor 1-1 0-0 2, Crawford 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 35-67 9-16 94.

Halftime—New Mexico St. 37-34. 3-Point Goals—New Mexico Highlands 8-26 (Christmas 3-7, Brown 2-4, Montanez 1-1, Rodgers 1-3, Barnes-Thompkins 1-7, Sanchious 0-1, Carpenter 0-3), New Mexico St. 15-40 (Allen 5-9, McCants 3-7, Williams 2-5, Rice 2-7, Crawford 1-1, McKinney 1-1, Peake 1-3, Tillman 0-3, Avery 0-4). Fouled Out—Adams, Johnson. Rebounds—New Mexico Highlands 23 (Sanchious 6), New Mexico St. 41 (Avery 9). Assists—New Mexico Highlands 15 (Carpenter 3), New Mexico St. 20 (McKinney 6). Total Fouls—New Mexico Highlands 19, New Mexico St. 12. A—4,739 (12,482).


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