The New Mexico State men's basketball team opened the Niagara Falls subregional of the 2K Sports Classic benefitting Wounded Warrior Project with a 62-49 loss to Bucknell (4-0).
Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings paced the Aggies (1-2) with a season-high 22 points and team-high six rebounds. Senior forward Tyrone Watson was also in double figures with 13 points.
The first half was 20 minutes filled with runs. The Aggies jumped to an 8-4 lead after a fast break layup from Mullings. Bucknell, who is receiving votes in both polls, responded with 14 straight points to take an 18-8 lead. NM State then answered with eight consecutive points to trim the Bison advantage to two points, 18-16. Bucknell replied with the next six points, before the Aggies scored six of the last 10 points of the half.
The Aggies trailed Bucknell, 28-22, at the break. Watson and Mullings led the Aggies with seven first half points each. NM State only shot 29.2 percent from the field in the first half (7-of-24) for its lowest scoring half of the season.
Mullings scored the first eight points of the second half for the Aggies to bring NM State within two, 32-30, after a pair of free throws with 14:19 remaining in regulation. Bucknell then outscored the Aggies 11-4.
The Aggies continued to struggle offensively in the second half and shot 29.2 percent from the field (7-of-24). NM State was held under 50 points for only the second time in the Marvin Menzies era. The last time the Aggies scored less than 50 points occurred in a 59-49 loss at Utah State, Jan. 22, 2011.
The Aggies return to the court and play Niagara, Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.