New Mexico State 81, No. 24 DePaul 73
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) _ Sam Crawford had 21 points and 11 assists and harassed DePaul into numerous turnovers as New Mexico State upset the 24th-ranked Blue Demons 81-73 today in a first-round NCAA West Regional game.
Led by the 5-foot-8 inch point guard, recruited by DePaul and rejected because of his height, the 13th-seeded Aggies led by as many as 15 points in the first half and 14 in the second and never let DePaul get closer than three.
Crawford was particularly effective in the first half, when he had eight points, eight assists and four steals as New Mexico State (24-7) harassed the fourth-seeded Blue Demons into 12 turnovers as New Mexico State and took a 41-34 lead at intermission.
Cliff Reed had 16 points for the Aggies, who won the Big West tournament after finishing third in the regular season, six games behind Nevada-Las Vegas, which was ineligible for NCAA play. Chris Hickman had 13 and William Benjamin 10 for the Aggies.
David Booth led DePaul (20-9) with 19 points, including eight in a 10-2 second-half run that cut a 52-38 Aggies’ lead to six. DePaul, regular-season co-champion of the Great Midwest, got within three twice, the last time at 66-63 with 9:50 left.
But Reed scored on a dunk and Benjamin hit a jumper and two foul shots to open it up again.
Jeff Stern had 13 points and David Howard 12 for DePaul, which finished with three losses in its final four games.