Eagles Win Season Opener, Knocking Off #21 West Texas A&M

by Staff Reporter / Oct 23, 2017 / comments
Walid Aly moved the ball downcourt. Courtesy photo

Eagles Win Season Opener, Knocking Off #21 West Texas A&M

The Northern New Mexico College Eagles started off their 2017-2018 season with quite a statement. The Eagles were able to hold off the visiting Buffalos of West Texas A&M, by a score of 91-86 at Eagle Memorial Sports Stadium. The visiting Buffalos, who were knocked out in the Sweet 16, of the NCAA Division II National Tournament in 2016, had 7 returners leading the charge. The Eagles countered with 4 of their 5 starters from the 2016 team returning, and a plethora of new faces added to the roster. The win was bigger and better then the Eagles could have imagined as the NCAA Pre Season Coaches poll had West Texas A&M picked 21st in the country.
The Eagles, who were down by 2 at half 37-39, made a late charge with 5:32 left in the second half led by the defensive efforts of Walid Aly and Estevan Martinez. Full court pressure led to 3 consecutive
steals, and 3 missed shots which gave the Eagles a 12 point lead, which they held on to, until the final minute.

Bryce Simmons. Courtesy photo

The Buffalos hit two 3 pointers to cut the lead to 5 with 13 seconds, but that would be as close as they would come, as the Eagles hit 4 of their last 5 free throws, to close out the game.
The Eagles were led in scoring by Bryce Simmons with 21 points and Walid Aly with 22. Eric Coca, a local of Santa Fe, rounded out the top scorers with 10 points. Coach Ryan
Cordova was pleased with the efforts of his team, but was also pleasantly surprised by the play of his Freshmen saying, "The Freshmen really stepped up when we needed free throws and rebounds, and played with a lot of maturity". Ty Weaver led the Eagles in rebounds, pulling down 7 in his 20 minutes of play. Marcus hill led the team in steals in his college debut, confiscating 4 for the game.
The Eagles will entertain Wayland Baptist next on 
Thursday Oct. 26th at 7:00 PM. The game will be the 1st NAIA game of the season.