CS Fullerton Gets Praise, New Mexico State Gets Victory
New Mexico State won the Big West Conference basketball game against Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday night, 66-58, but Aggie Coach Neil McCarthy had far more praise for the Titans than he did for his own team.
“That’s a good little team,” McCarthy said. “They’re well-coached and they play hard. If this game was decided on effort, I’d give them the win. They made some mistakes, but they weren’t mental mistakes. They just got outmatched physically a few more times.”
Just about all McCarthy did was rage about his own team’s play, although the No. 24 Aggies (12-3) moved up to 3-1 in their bid for a third consecutive Big West championship and handed the Titans (4-7) their first conference loss after two road victories. The Aggies remained unbeaten in eight games in Pan American Center.
“We stunk against UC Irvine, and we stunk tonight,” McCarthy said. “We had at least three players that were somewhere off in outer space. . . . If we played these last two games on the road, (we’d have lost both). We’re not emotionally ready for games.”
Fullerton Coach Bob Hawking wasn’t happy with his team’s play, but had no complaints about the effort. He was more concerned about his team’s inability to work the ball inside against the Aggies’ matchup zone defense and to make three-point shots. The Titans made 46.9% of their shots, but only three of 14 from three-point range.
The Titans got 10 first-half points from center Winston Peterson, but he was held to one free throw the rest of the way with the Aggies clamping down inside.
Forward David Frigout and guard Chris St. Clair led the Titans with 12 points. Guard Chuck Overton had 11. Two other guards faltered. Chris Dade, slowed by flu, made only one of eight shots and guard James French was limited to two free throws.
The Titans made 52% of their shots in the first half but still trailed at halftime, 32-30.