LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Now, it's conference time.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Now, it’s conference time.

The Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions can only wish their nonconference tour had gone a little better. Three players reached double figures for the Lions, but Wendell McKines was too much for them to handle as he led New Mexico State to an 81-65 victory over UAPB on Saturday.

The Lions fell to 1-12 and will begin SWAC play Tuesday night at next-door conference rival Mississippi Valley State.

Mitchell Anderson scored 20 points and played all 40 minutes, adding two blocks and two rebounds to lead UAPB. Savalace Townsend, who also played the entire game, had 13 points, five assists and six rebounds, and Daniel Broughton had 14 points and four boards.

Kines scored a game-high 22 points, hitting 7 of 14 from the floor, totaled 14 rebounds, dealt four assists and made two steals for the Aggies (9-5). The forward played 35 minutes.

UAPB led by as much as 10-8 but lost the lead for good almost 5 minutes into the game. New Mexico State went up by double digits at 32-20 late in the first half on a Bandja Sy 3-point basket and took a 45-32 advantage into the locker room.

The Lions pulled within 56-47 at the 12:57 mark of the game after a 3-pointer by Townsend. But with McKines scoring eight of his team’s next nine points, the Aggies’ lead grew to 63-47 with 8:45 left.

Anderson and Clay Johnson each went 2 for 2 at the line, helping UAPB to pull within 66-59 with 6:06 left. That was as close as the Lions would get before the Aggies pulled away.

This was UAPB’s third game in the Southwest in four days. The team played Wednesday and Thursday in the Don Haskins Invitational in El Paso, Texas, losing to Jacksonville State and UTEP. The Lions have lost 10 straight and 38 of their last 39 nonconference games.

The Lions have yet to play a home game. They’ll visit Valley, Alabama A&M next Saturday and Alabama A&M on Jan. 9 before playing their first game of the season in H.O. Clemmons Arena against Southern on Jan. 14.