By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Cal State Bakersfield's struggles in its inaugural Western Athletic Conference season continued Thursday night as the Roadrunners lost 89-86 at New Mexico State.
CSUB (8-12, 1-6 WAC) trailed 47-36 at halftime after falling behind by 13 points earlier.
Bakersfield used a 13-0 run to take an 80-74 lead with 5:14 left after two Zach Lamb free throws.
But the Aggies closed the game on a 15-6 run to pull out the victory. New Mexico State had three blocks and hit 6-of-8 free throws in the final two minutes to hold on.
The Roadrunners trailed 86-84 with less than 30 seconds remaining and had the ball. But Lamb's turnover while driving to the basket thwarted a potential game-tying shot attempt. Daniel Mullings hit two free throws with 12 seconds left to make it 88-84.
Issiah Grayson's layup made it 88-86 with six seconds left but the Aggies added a free throw for the final margin. Lamb's desperation 3-point try bounced off the backboard at the final buzzer. Grayson scored a game-high 20 points with Lamb adding a season-high 15 points. Kregg Jones, who had only six points and only four games prior to Thursday, finished with a career-high 13 points in 17 minutes of action.Aly Ahmed scored 11 points and Javonte Maynor added 10.
New Mexico State, the overwhelming preseason WAC favorite, improved to 16-7 overall and 5-2 in the WAC. The Aggies have won 18 straight WAC home games.
The Aggies were led by Mullings' 19 points and 15 points by Tshilidzi Nephawe.
Sophomore center Sim Bhullar, who had missed six straight games with a foot injury, returned for the Aggies to score 13 points and block six shots.
CSUB had a 35-34 rebounding edge and went 20-of-25 from the line. New Mexico State was 32 of 44 in its free throws.
CSUB concludes the first half of the WAC regular season at Texas-Pam American on Saturday.