New Mexico State wins WACMar 17, 2013 - 7:09 AM Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - Behind 16 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks from Sim Bhullar, New Mexico State earned its second straight Western Athletic Conference Tournament championship with a 64-55 decision over Texas-Arlington on Saturday.
Daniel Mullings added 16 points and Bandja Sy finished with 10 for the third- seeded Aggies (24-10), who earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament while also capturing their fourth conference championship.
"Couldn't be happier for my guys, these kids really stuck together," said New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies. "We have a lot of character."
Kevin Butler tallied 13 points and 10 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Mavericks (19-13), who will leave the WAC after just one season to join the Sun Belt Conference for the start of the 2013-14 campaign.
"New Mexico State's a great basketball team, they hit shots early on against us," said Texas-Arlington coach Scott Cross. "We had a little bit of lull there in the second half before we got our energy back."
A closely contested first half ended with New Mexico State holding a 32-30 advantage, which ballooned to 12 points just over six minutes through the second period following a 9-0 run.
After falling behind by 13 soon after, Texas-Arlington countered with nine unanswered points to come within four at the eight minute mark and found itself within three at 56-53 with two minutes showing, but never came any closer.
The Aggies closed out the contest with free throws over the final minute.
New Mexico State hold an 12-2 advantage in the all-time series ... The Aggies made 20-of-33 from the free throw line ... The Mavericks were outrebounded, 41-29.
- TEXAS-ARLINGTON: 55
NEW MEXICO STATE: 64
Mar 17 1:17 AM
- TEXAS-ARLINGTON: 30
NEW MEXICO STATE: 32
Mar 17 12:00 AM
- TEXAS-ARLINGTON: 0
NEW MEXICO STATE: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Mar 16 11:13 PM
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