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Aggies shoot 61 percent to roll past Hounds

LAS CRUCES — Junior forward Troy Gillenwater led five New Mexico State players in double figures with 18 points Monday night as the Aggies raced past Eastern New Mexico University 98-72 in the Greyhounds’ final preseason exhibition game.

Junior guard Hernst Laroche went 8-for-10 from the field and finished with 17 points for NMSU, which was playing its only preseason exhibition. The Aggies shot 66 percent from the field in the first half and 61 percent for the game while holding the Hounds to 38 percent (24-of-64).

Junior forward Aaron Edwards led all scorers with 22 points for the Hounds, while senior forward Tyler Jefferson had 14 points and junior guard Tralyn Harden came off the bench for 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.

ENMU played three NCAA Division I tournament qualifiers from last year in tuning up for Friday’s 7 p.m. regular-season opener against NAIA member Northern New Mexico at Greyhound Arena. The Hounds lost at Texas-El Paso 80-76 on Oct. 30 and fell at New Mexico 80-52 last Wednesday, although in both of those games they had substantial early leads.

This time, ENMU had several early 3-point leads, the last at 11-8 on a basket by Jefferson with 16:45 to go in the half.

Sophomore forward Tyrone Watson put the Aggies ahead for good with a putback at the 13:29 mark, and a 7-0 run extended the lead to 22-14 with eight minutes left.

ENMU was still within seven after a basket by Jefferson with less than three minutes to go in the half, but the Aggies outscored the Hounds 12-2 the rest of the way to open a 48-31 lead at the intermission.

The margin stayed between 16 and 22 points for most of the second half. Two free throws by junior guard Versia Hodges with 1:32 left made it 90-72 before the Aggies finished it off with the final eight points.

In addition to outshooting the Hounds, NMSU completely trounced the Hounds on the boards 55-20, with 12 players grabbing at least one rebound. The Aggies also had a 12-0 advantage in blocked shots and thus were easily able to survive 29 turnovers.