New Mexico St. beats Abilene Christian 66-52, win WAC
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
LAS VEGAS (AP) Clayton Henry had 15 points and eight rebounds to help New Mexico State beat Abilene Christian 66-52 on Saturday night in the championship game of the Western Athletic Conference tournament to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Sir'Jabari Rice scored 11 points for New Mexico State (26-6). Teddy Allen and Mario McKinney Jr. added 10 points apiece.
The Aggies won their 10th WAC title overall, their first since 2019.
Henry hit a 3 and Allen made three free throws after he was fouled on a shot from behind the arc before Rice capped a 9-0 spurt with a 3-pointer that made it 14-10 about 6 minutes into the game, and the Aggies led the rest of the way.
Coryon Mason led Abilene Christian (23-9) with 14 points. Airion Simmons and Mahki Morris scored 12 apiece.
The Wildcats had their five-game win streak snapped. Abilene Christian, the No. 6 seed, beat seventh-seeded Utah Valley in the first round before knocking off No. 3 seed Stephen F. Austin in the quarterfinals and second-seeded Seattle in the semis.
Rice hit a 3-pointer and added two free throws to spark a 10-2 run that made it 44-30 with 13:56 to play. Mason made two foul shots to trim the deficit to nine, but Johnny McCants hit a jumper to make it 49-38 with 9:41 left and the Aggies led by double figures the rest of the way.
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Updated March 13, 2022