LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) -- The New Mexico State Aggies have
struggled in the final minutes of this season's games and that
didn't go unnoticed Thursday night.
With his team trailing, New Orleans coach Monte Towe reminded
his players of the Aggies' late-game woes. The Privateers rallied
in the final minute for a 71-66 Sun Belt Conference win."I just told them to go out and play tough and said (the
Aggies) recent history is they've had trouble finishing games,"
Towe said.New Mexico State held a 66-65 lead in the final minute, but New
Orleans took control and got four free throws by Bo McCalebb and
Chad Barnes and a fast-break dunk by Shawn Malloy to rally for the
win.Trailing by three, 69-66, the Aggies had a chance to tie the
game but Duane John turned the ball over with seven seconds left."You can't miss free throws and turn the ball over in the last
few minutes of the game and we did both," said NMSU interim head
coach Tony Stubblefield. "This is a game we should have won."In the final seven minutes, New Orleans was 10-for-11 from the
free throw line, while NMSU was 5-for-12. Towe said it was his
team's best performance from the line this season. New Orleans was
21-for-26 for the night.New Orleans (11-12, 6-4) outrebounded the Aggies 48-27. The 48
rebounds was a season-high for the Privateers.McCalebb led New Orleans with 24 points. It was his 12th
straight game with 20 points or more. McCalebb, a 52-percent free
throw shooter this season, was 6-for-6 against NMSU.The Aggies (5-18, 1-8) led 63-58 with 3:56 to play in the game.
But a pair of layups by McCalebb, a steal and a layup by Todd
Bostic and a free throw by Malloy put New Orleans up 65-63 with
1:53 to play. It was the Privateers' first lead in the game since
the eight-minute mark of the second half.NMSU got a free throw by Mike Mitchell and an inside bucket by
John to go up 66-65, before New Orleans took control in the final
minute."This was a great win for us," Towe said. "Our guys didn't
give up. When we were down five, I told our guys we have to stop
them every time and sure enough we did it."Bostic and Malloy added 12 points each for New Orleans.John led New Mexico State with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jeff
Jones added 13 points and Mitchell had 12.