POSTED: Thursday, March 8, 2012 - 7:39pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 8, 2012 - 8:19pm
The New Mexico State men's basketball team opened the 2012 WAC Tournament with a 65-49 win over Fresno State in the quarterfinals.
The Aggies (24-9) advance and meet No. 6 seed Hawai'i, Friday, March 9 at 7 p.m. The game is shown on WAC Sports Network on Comcast channel 4 in Las Cruces and ESPN Full Court and available on KGRT 104 FM with the 'Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon.
NM State had three players in double-digits with redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines leading the way with 15 points and 13 rebounds for his 19th double-double of the season. Junior forward Tyrone Watson supplied 13 points, and freshman guard Daniel Mullings added 11.
The win marked the sixth-straight season the Aggies have made the tournament semifinals, and it was head coach Marvin Menzies' 100th-career win.
The Aggies ended the first half on a 15-5 run and hit the last 5-of-6 shots to take a 25-19 lead into halftime. Watson had a game-high seven points, while senior guard Hernst Laroche added six points including a jumper as time expired.
McKines contributed five points and six rebounds including three offensive boards. The Aggies out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 21-18, and had a 10-4 advantage in second chance points.
Mullings jump started the offense with his first basket of the game, a jumper from the right wing, at the 4:43 mark. Watson followed with a layup on the next possession and scored five straight points to give the Aggies a 17-14 lead with 2:52 left.
In the second half, the Aggies build a 16-point lead, 43-27, on a layup from sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe at 9:37. The 13-2 rally began with a put-back from senior center Hamidu Rahman at the 15:19 mark.
Junior forward Bandja Sy continued the run with five of his seven second-half points that included a jumper and 3-pointer to give the Aggies their first double-figure lead, 37-25, with 13:21 to play.