New Mexico State held a 13-point halftime lead and nearly gave it away in the waning moments of the game, but Daniel Mullings block on Cullen Neal kept New Mexico from tying the game at 61 with 30 seconds to play.
K.C. Ross-Miller would go to the line three times in the final seconds and connect on all six free throws, icing the game and helping the Aggies pick up a 67-61 non-conference victory over the rival Lobos on Tuesday night inside The Pit.
The Aggies led 39-26 at half aided by 7-of-12 3-point shooting, while the Lobos struggled to knock down shots, connecting on 27 percent of their attempts in the first half.
New Mexico State is one of the favorites in the WAC, and its out-of-conference schedule was filled with tough opponents, including a grueling portion of the schedule that included back-to-back road games against No. 19 Gonzaga and top-ranked Arizona. Tuesday night gives the Aggies a signature non-conference win, with two games to go before conference play begins.
The Lobos, who were without Hugh Greenwood on Tuesday, have dropped back-to-back games after losing to No. 13 Kansas on Saturday. They take on Marquette, at a neutral site, on Dec. 21.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.