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UVU basketball: Utah Valley falls to WAC leader New Mexico State, 51-38

Senior forward Mitch Bruneel (center) dribbles past a New Mexico State defender. Bruneel pulled down 10 rebounds and scored four points with two steals in the 51-38 setback to the Aggies.
Senior forward Mitch Bruneel (center) dribbles past a New Mexico State defender. Bruneel pulled down 10 rebounds and scored four points with two steals in the 51-38 setback to the Aggies.
Linsey Craig, UVU Athletics

The Utah Valley University men's basketball team dropped a 51-38 decision to Western Athletic Conference leader New Mexico State on Thursday night at the UCCU Center.

Utah Valley (9-16, 3-7) jumped out to an early 10-5 lead and maintained the five-point advantage, 17-12, with 5:33 to play in the first half. New Mexico State (18-10, 10-1) then used a 13-2 run during the final five minutes of the period to take a 25-19 lead into the break.

The Wolverines cut the Aggie lead to just three points, 32-29, with 15:25 to play in the final period. NM State answered with a 17-3 run to extend its lead to a game-high 17 points, 49-32, with four minutes to play to secure the victory.

New Mexico State shot 40.9 percent from the field, while holding the Wolverines to a 28.6 percent clip.

"New Mexico State was too long, too tall, too strong and too lateral," Utah Valley head coach Dick Hunsaker said. "We just couldn't sustain our inspired effort. I thought the guys worked hard and executed our game plan. New Mexico State played like the conference leader tonight."

Zach Nelson led the Wolverines with 12 points. The sophomore forward hit 6-of-11 shots from the field and tallied five rebounds, a block and an assist. Senior forward Mitch Bruneel pulled down 10 rebounds to go along with four points. Freshman forward Boston Gubler tied a career high with seven points with three rebounds and two blocks. Junior guard Marcel Davis tallied six points with eight assists.

Pascal Siakam led NM State with a game-high 14 points. The freshman forward also tallied 10 rebounds, two blocks and a pair of assists. Senior guard Daniel Mullings also recorded double digits with 11 points.

Utah Valley continues WAC play at home on Saturday night against Texas-Pan American (9-18, 3-8). Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m. MT.

Jason Erickson works in the communications office at the Utah Valley University athletic department. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.