By Alden Lee
With a strong second half surge, the New Mexico Aggies rumbled over the San Francisco Dons to claim third place at the Shootout, finishing with a 81-71 victory.
What began as an equally matched first half quickly turned into Aggies domination as NMSU charged into the opening minutes of second half and continued to distance themselves from the Dons.
Huge contributions from sophomore guard Christian Kabongo, who led the team in scoring with 23 points and was named Player of the Game. Junior forward Tyrone Watson, who hit 6 of his 15 of his shots, threw down several dunks over SFU defense, helped decide the outcome of the second half.
The Dons couldn’t get the rolls and breaks when they needed it down the stretch. The loss, which puts them in fifth place for the tourney, came despite shooting 46.3 percent on the night. NMSU was about the same in shooting overall (46.9 percent on 23 of 49 shooting) but used a 60.0 percent conversion rate in the second half alone.
The Dons were led offensively by senior forward Angelo Caloiaro who had 22 points on the evening to go along with three assists and three boards. Also pitching in were junior forward Perris Blackwell (12 points, six boards) and senior guard Rashad Green (11 points, six assists).