NMSU starts Greg Heiar Era with victory WNMU

Joseph Settle

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Carlos Herrera

NMSU guard Anthony Roy tries to dribble past a WNMU defender during Wednesday’s game at the Pan American Center on Nov. 2, 2022.

The fresh New Mexico State men’s basketball team claimed their first exhibition win against Western New Mexico 99-75. Although the Mustang’s are not a Division I school, their team still consisted of a solid four Division I transfers in the starting lineup and eight on the roster as a whole. This made for a competitive matchup and a great opening evening for the Heiar campaign.  

Aggies’ Deshawndre Washington gets up high for dunk during a NMSU men’s basketball on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022 at the Pan American Center. (Carlos Herrera)

Throughout the game, balance proved to be greatest weapon as five different Aggies broke double digits. Northwest Florida State College transfer Deshawndre Washington had a breakout game as he dropped 21 points, seven boards and nine assists. Issa Muhammad had himself a day as well with 15 points. The NM State offensive proved to be hot from the splash zone as they went 54% field goal percentage.

I like the way that we can score the basketball and how we got up and down the floor,” said Head Coach Greg Heiar following the win. “I like the way we came out and shot the ball and played as a team. Everybody kind of played their role so I was happy with their performance.”  

Continuing the theme from the Bahamas game, the Aggies shot 59% from the field including going 13-24 from three-point land. But besides these impressive numbers, NM State had a bit of difficulty pulling away as the Mustangs remained within 20 for the majority of the exhibition.  

Aggies’ Issa Muhammed and Western New Mexico’s Isaiah Lewis lineup for the tip-off to begin NMSU’s exhibition game on Nov. 2, 2022. (Carlos Herrera)

Las Cruces native Deuce Benjamin would score his first basket with his first shot when he made a corner three in the second half. He was not the only Las Cruces player on the court, however, as Tony Avalos from the Mustangs graduated from Oñate High School. Avalos would score 11 poinst for WNMU including going 5-5 from the free throw line.  

Much is still to be worked out as this green Aggie squad continues, as they were outperformed at the free throw line as WNMU would go 10-13 hitting 77% of their shots, while NMSU would go 14-22 equaling out to 64%. Turnovers also proved prevalent, as NM State had 17, which resulted in the Mustangs tallying up 17 points.

Look forward to much more to come as the Aggies will be back in the Pan American Center next Monday when they open up their official season at 7 p.m. against New Mexico Highlands on Nov. 7.

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