POSTED: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 4:30pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 11:48pm
The New Mexico State men's basketball team begins a four-game home stand with a pair of WAC games. The Aggies host Nevada, Thursday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. for a fight for first place in the conference inside the Pan American Center. The Aggies also meet Fresno State, Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the annual Lou Henson Classic.
The Nevada game is shown live on AggieVision and broadcast across New Mexico on Comcast, Altitude2, KVIA 24/7 (Channel 7.3), ESPN Full Court and ESPN3. The Fresno State contest is also available on AggieVision, Comcast, Fox Sports-Arizona Plus, CW (Channel 7.2) and ESPN Full Court. Both the Nevada and Fresno State games are WAC Sports Network broadcasts. The games are available on KGRT 104 FM with the 'Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon, and the pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to tip. The contests are also available in Spanish on Vista 98 FM with Martin Cortez.
New Mexico State Aggies
The Aggies are 14-6 this season and 4-1 in the WAC after suffering their first loss of conference play at Hawai'i, 91-87, Jan. 21. NM State has three players in double figures with redshirt senior Wendell McKines leading the way with 18.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Senior guard Hernst Laroche provides 12.1 points per game, and senior center Hamidu Rahman adds 10.4 points per game.
The Wolf Pack is 16-3 and 5-0 in the WAC after its 13th straight win with a 74-61 victory over Fresno State, 74-61, Jan. 21 in Reno, Nev. Sophomore guard Deonte Burton posts a team-high 15.6 points per game. Junior guard Malik Story and senior forward Olek Czyz are contributing 14.5 points and 11.4 points per game, respectively.
The Aggies have a 19-15 lead in the all-time series. Last year, NM State won two of three meetings including the last two games. Nevada won the first contest in Reno, 90-71, Jan. 20, 2011. The Aggies won the game in Las Cruces, 77-68, March 5, 2011 and then 66-60, March 10, 2011 in the WAC Tournament Quarterfinals in Las Vegas, Nev.
In the 2011 WAC Tournament Quarterfinals, NM State defeated Nevada, 66-60, March 10, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nev. The Aggies advanced to the tournament semifinals for the sixth consecutive season. Forward Troy Gillenwater scored a game-high 18 points along with a season-high four blocked shots. Guard Gordo Castillo added 14 points, which included a 10-of-10 performance at the free-throw line. Guard Hernst Laroche was also in double-digits with 11. The Aggies used a strong second-half effort to eliminate Nevada from the WAC Tournament for the second straight year.
Scouting Fresno State
The Bulldogs are 9-12 overall and 1-4 in the WAC after a 74-61 loss at Nevada. Fresno State travels to Louisiana Tech, Thursday, Jan. 26, before meeting the Aggies. Sophomore guard Kevin Olekaibe is the leading scorer for the Bulldogs with 18.1 points per game, while senior guard Jonathan Wills adds 11.0 points per game.
The Aggies have a 22-13 series advantage after a season split last year. Both teams won on their home floor. NM State won the first meeting, 80-68, Jan. 18, 2011 but fell at Fresno State, 88-83, in overtime, Feb. 3.