The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Aggies cap off senior night with a win against Florida International

The+Aggies+gather+with+their+families+and+friends+for+a+group+photo.+March+9%2C+2024.+
David Castañeda
The Aggies gather with their families and friends for a group photo. March 9, 2024.

In the final game of the 2023-2024 regular season and senior night, the New Mexico State men’s basketball team welcomed the Florida International University Panthers on senior day and left with a 77-70 win. The victory brought the Aggies up in the Conference USA standings but several losses from other conference rivals put the Aggies in seventh place heading into the conference tournament. 

On this yearly celebration, the Aggies recognized three players: Kaosi Ezeagu, Jordan Rawls, and Jonathan Kanyanga.

The Panthers defensive effort showed in the opening minutes when Seth Pinkney blocked a layup and a midrange jumper from senior guard Femi Odukale, but the visiting team failed to get their offense going after misfiring on their first three-point field goal attempts.  

Forward Kaosi Ezeagu dunks on the Florida International Panthers on March 9, 2024. (David Castañeda)

After struggling to get by the Panthers’ defense, the Aggies slowly started to knock down shots. Junior guard Jaylin Jackson-Posey hit two triples in two minutes, followed by a layup and a jump shot from guard Jaden Harris, after being subbed in for Jackson-Posey, to grab a 14-11 lead.  

Despite the solid shooting from the Aggies, the Panthers bench came on the court and made it difficult for the Aggies to extend their lead. Shots from Jaden Grant and Okechukwu Okele kept the lead margin under five points. In response, Aggie guard Christian Cook caught fire in the last five minutes of the half, splashing two shots, while cashing in two free throws after drawing a foul.   

Cook’s hot hand and the defense kept the Panthers from finding the basket and allowed the Aggies to make a big run, extending their lead to 19 points in the closing minutes of the first half. Despite the later offensive showing, the Aggies closed the first half with a 49-30 lead over the Panthers. 

The Aggies continued where they left off to begin the second half, Cook drew a foul and knocked down two more free throws, while Odukale remained on triple double watch as he continued to pile up his points, rebounds, and assists stats. 

Guard Christian Cook makes a three-pointer. March 9, 2024. (David Castañeda)

Despite the Aggies shooting efficiency declining in the next couple of minutes, they owned a 26-point lead nearly halfway into the second half. 

With the game getting away from them, the Panthers continued the effort and slowly started eating away at their deficit to make a comeback towards the final minute of the game. With under five minutes of action left, the Panthers took advantage of the Aggies struggles when Jayden Brewer and George Pridgett Jr. knocked down their shots to cut the lead down to 16.  

Even though the Panthers rallied at the last minute, the Aggies held onto their lead and took home the 77-70 for an impressive finish to the regular season.  

The Aggies will now be heading out to Huntsville, Alabama to compete in the 2024 Conference USA tournament as the seventh seed. They will begin competition against three-seed Western Kentucky University in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 14 at 8 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+. 

 

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About the Contributors
Victor Fierro, Sports Writer
Victor Fierro is starting his first year with The Round Up as a staff writer. He is currently a senior majoring in Journalism and Media Studies with a minor in Sports Marketing. He developed a passion for writing when he was in high school. His main goal is to become a play-by-play announcer for an NBA team. Victor loves to write game stories for all sports including basketball and football. Victor hopes working for The Round Up will help him grow as a person and a journalist.
David Castañeda, Multimedia Director
David Castañeda is starting his second year here at The Round Up, this being his first year as Multimedia Director. This is his second year at New Mexico State University and is majoring in Journalism & Media Studies. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas as an only child but is extremely happy to be able to call Las Cruces his new home. David has had an affinity for photography since he was in elementary school and has only fallen deeper in love with the art through this job. Though David enjoys nothing more than to be behind a camera he loves to try to explore new hobbies and career options. He’s currently focused on improving his photography at The Round Up and working with the Multimedia Specialists to make the Multimedia team the best it can be. When he isn’t taking photos or editing them on Photoshop, David loves to spend his time with his 3-year-long girlfriend in their apartment where they frequently cuddle up in bed to watch some trash TV and films. On his own, he loves to play the bass and listen to music. His favorite artists are The Strokes and Gorillaz.    

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