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Hawkins leads New Mexico State to upset of Nevada

Jan 21, 2007 - 7:04 AM LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (Ticker) -- Justin Hawkins was the catalyst in New Mexico State's upset victory.

Hawkins scored a career-high 29 points on 12-of-19 shooting to lead the Aggies to an 80-73 triumph over No. 13 Nevada in the Western Athletic Conference.

The 6-5 Hawkins scored 19 points in the first half to keep New Mexico St. (15-4, 5-1 WAC) in the game as Nevada (17-2, 5-1) held a slim 34-33 lead at halftime.

"I was in the right place at the right time," Hawkins said. "The guys were able to find me and I had nine offensive rebounds and was able to put a few of those back in. The ball was just going in for me."

Nick Fazekas' layup with 11:02 remaining cut the Aggies' lead to 53-52, but New Mexico followed with a 9-0 run capped by Tyrone Nelson's free throws with 7:35 to play for a 62-52 bulge.

Elijah Ingram scored 14 points and Nelson added 12 for the Aggies, which shot just 39 percent (24-of-62) but converted 28-of-34 from the free-throw line, including 18 consecutive over the final 5:32.

"I can't tell you how happy I am that our guys came out focused," New Mexico State coach Reggie Theus said. "They had them down, they kept them down and when it came down the stretch we shot 82 percent from the free-throw line, which I have to chuckle because the guys have been working on it."

Ramon Sessions scored 23 points and Fazekas netted 21 for the Wolf Pack, who shot 50 pecent (26-of-52).

Nevada had its 10-game winning streak snapped. It was the team's first conference loss of the year after the Wolf Pack opened with five wins for the first time since joining the league in 2000-01.