Wolverines' second-half surge topples NM State in Las Cruces

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM Rhaiah Spooner-Knight scored 18 points and hauled in six rebounds
Rhaiah Spooner-Knight scored 18 points and hauled in six rebounds

Feb. 27, 2014

Box Score

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Utah Valley University scored 52 points in the second half and erased an 11-point deficit to pick up an 87-81 WAC win over New Mexico State at the Pan American Center Thursday night. All five UVU starters finished the game in double figures.

Georgia Agnew and Rhaiah Spooner-Knight led the Wolverines (7-20, 4-10 WAC) with 18 points apiece while Katie Kuklok finished with 16 points. Sam Loggins, who snatched a game-high nine rebounds, tallied 14 points while Whitney Jenkins rounded out the double-digit efforts with 11 points. In all, UVU got 77 of its 87 points from the starting five.

"We showed so much resiliency tonight," said Utah Valley head coach Cathy Nixon. "We just kept chipping away and made the plays when we needed to. These kids work so hard and put in so much effort -- they deserve a win like this. I'm very proud of this team and the character they showed tonight."

Trailing by five at the break, Utah Valley quickly found itself behind by 11 when NM State (10-17, 7-7 WAC) knocked down back-to-back three pointers to open the second period. That pair of triples accounted for just a fraction of the 17 made threes that came off Aggie fingertips Thursday night. NM State finished the game 17-of-41 from beyond the arc, scoring 51 of 81 points from distance.

Despite the Aggies' hot touch from three the Wolverines hung tight for much of the half, finally making their move behind a giant 23-5 run to overtake the home team. Battling back to within five at 65-60 with 7:38 to go, UVU rallied off seven straight points to regain the lead for the first time since leading 15-14 with 11:51 still showing in the first half. An NM State score leveled things at 67-67, but Jenkins buried a jumper to put the Wolverines back out in front. Spooner-Knight's 12-footer put UVU up four, matching its largest lead of the contest, before Jenkins knocked down a straight away three to make the score 74-67 in favor of the visitors.



The Wolverines would grow the lead to as many as nine at 79-70 after a three-point play from Agnew. A couple desperation 3-pointers from NM State kept the Aggies in the game, but UVU got the job done at the foul line with a perfect 6-of-6 mark over the last minute of play.

NM State was led by 29 points from Abby Scott, who knocked down eight treys by herself, and 15 points from both Sasha Weber and Danesia Williamson. The Aggies lost for just the second time this season after scoring more than 70 points.

UVU continues its season-ending road trip when it travels to Edinburg, Texas, to face Texas-Pan American on Saturday. The Wolverines fell to the Broncs, 64-54, in the first meeting this season, played in Orem on Jan. 30. UTPA is one of UVU's oldest opponents as the series, led by Utah Valley 12-7, dates all the way back to the 2004-05 season.