LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Sometimes, you have to go home to find the range.
New Mexico State, which does not have a player shooting 50% or better from the floor, discovered its shooting touch in the Pan American Center Thursday night and rolled to a 75-59 Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. basketball victory over UC Irvine.
The Aggies (15-13 overall and 7-8 in conference) shot 37% from the field and 50% from the free-throw line in a 79-62 loss to the Anteaters in Irvine Jan. 30, but they connected on 54% of their field goal attempts and 89% (23 of 26) of their free throws this time. Irvine (14-11, 9-7) shot 51% from the floor, but made 2 of 4 free throws.
Seldom have two games between the same teams been more different. Irvine center Wayne Engelstad, who ripped through New Mexico State's matchup zone defense for 40 points in the first game, was stymied on this night. He finished with eight points, failing to score in double figures for the first time in 28 games.