PULLMAN, Wash. (AP)Sir’Jabari Rice scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half as New Mexico State steadily eroded a double-digit Washington State lead to come away with a 64-61 victory on Wednesday night.
The Aggies (9-2) trailed by 18 after Washington State opened the second half with three straight 3-pointers. Rice scored the next seven points for New Mexico State, four at the line plus a 3, to begin the steady comeback over the next 14 minutes.
Teddy Allen, who scored 12 of his 18 after halftime, hit a 3-pointer to forge a 58-58 tie with 3:49 remaining. Allen was 0-for-7 from beyond the arc up to that point. He was fouled on a 3 and made all three free throws with 1:56 to go as the Aggies led 63-60.
Washington State (7-4) was unable to inbound under the basket and turned the ball over, it’s 17th turnover, with 24.9 seconds left.
Michael Flowers led the Cougars with 15 points, tying a season high with five 3-pointers, Noah Williams added 13 points. TJ Bamba and Efe Abogidi each scored 11. Abogidi added seven rebounds.
New Mexico State hadn’t led since rallying into a 19-18 lead with a 10-0 run late in the first half. Flowers sparked a comeback with a 3-pointer and WSU outscored the Aggies 17-3 over the last 4:30 into a 35-22 halftime lead.
New Mexico State got off only three shots, missing two, and turned the ball over five times in that stretch.
The win improves New Mexico State to 6-6 against Power Five teams since Chris Jans took over as coach, and has beaten WSU three times.
Next, Washington State will host Northern Colorado Saturday to wrap up nonconference play. New Mexico State entertains Northern New Mexico on Saturday.
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