The New Mexico State men's basketball team begins the 2012-13 season at Oregon State, Sunday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Corvallis, Ore., on ESPNU. This is the first game for the Aggies in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project. It is the fourth consecutive season and fifth time in six years that the Aggies have started the year on the road. The game is available on the KGRT 104 FM with the 'Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon, and the pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to tip.
New Mexico State Aggies
The Aggies have seven players returning for last year's squad that finished with a 26-10 overall record and 10-4 record in the WAC. NM State won the WAC Tournament Championship and made its 19th NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012. The Aggies have two starters back with senior forward Tyrone Watson and sophomore guard Daniel Mullings. Watson averaged 7.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, while he dished 113 assists in 2011-12. In his first season, Mullings contributed 9.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game along with 58 steals. Watson earned WAC All-Tournament Team honors, and Mullings was named to the WAC All-Newcomer Team in 2011-12.
NM State is replacing three seniors that each played a vital role for the Crimson and White. The 2011-12 season was the first time in NM State history that the team had three 1,000-career point scorers in the same season with Wendell McKines, Hernst Laroche and Hamidu Rahman achieving the milestone. McKines became the second player in school history with 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. He was the second in the NCAA to accomplish the feat in 2011-12 and 12th player in the WAC history to earn the significant honor. McKines finished No. 2 on the NM State rebounding list (1,135) and No. 8 on the scoring list (1,521). Laroche concluded his career as the Aggies' all-time leader in steals (216), games played (135) and minutes played (4,417). Rahman ended his time in Las Cruces as No. 21 in scoring (1,081) and No. 2 in blocked shots (137).
Scouting Oregon State
The Beavers open the season when they host Niagara, Friday, Nov. 9 in Corvallis. Last season, Oregon State finished with a 21-15 overall record and 7-11 record in Pac-12 action. The Beavers were 10th in the NCAA in scoring last year with 78.9 points per game and finished just ahead of the Aggies. Oregon State lost its leading scoring, Jared Cunningham and his 17.9 points per game, to the NBA, but it returns junior forward Devon Collier and junior guard Ahmad Starks, and they averaged 13.1 points and 12.1 points, respectively.
Oregon State leads the all-time series 2-0 but the teams have not played since 1960. In the first-ever meeting, the Beavers edged the Aggies, 54-50, in Corvallis, Dec. 26, 1959. The following season, NM State fell to Oregon State, 65-57, Dec. 2, 1960 in Las Cruces.
Aggies Cruise in Exhibition Win 98-49
NM State rolled to a 98-49 win over Western New Mexico in its lone exhibition game of the season, Nov. 5, in Las Cruces. The Aggies had five players in double figures with senior forward Tyrone Watson and sophomore guard Daniel Mullings providing 13 points each. Senior forward Bandja Sy added 12 points, junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe chipped in 11 and redshirt freshman guard Eric Weary had 10. NM State utilized its size advantage for a 20-rebound edge on the boards, 46-26, and Sy grabbed a game-high seven rebounds. The Aggies shot the ball well and recorded a 57.1 field goal percentage and 45.5 3-point percentage.
The Aggies are 3-2 in season openers under head coach Marvin Menzies and have won three straight. In 2011-12, NM State beat Northern Colorado, 89-75, Nov. 12, 2011 in Greeley, Colo. The Aggies defeated Louisiana, 92-76, in Lafayette, La., Nov. 12, 2010 and UC Riverside, 79-52, Nov. 15, 2008 in Las Cruces. NM State fell at Ohio, 80-72, Nov. 9, 2007, and at Saint Mary's, 100-68, Nov. 13, 2009.
A Look Back at the Past Season
In 2011-12, the Aggies posted a 26-10 overall record. They were only one win away from tying the school record for wins in a season. The 26 wins were the most since the 1992-93 season, and it was the 25th 20-win season in program history. The Aggies started the season 4-0, for only the third time since 1992-93. The Crimson and White won 2012 WAC Tournament, which was the third in school history and second title in three years, and earned the 19th NCAA Tournament berth in school history.
Nationally, the Aggies ranked No. 3 in rebounding margin (+8.5), No. 11 in scoring offense (78.1), No. 25 in field goal percentage (47.4) and No. 27 in scoring margin (+9.8) in the NCAA in 2011-12. Individually, Daniel Mullings was one of only 13 players with a triple-double in the season.
The Aggies' high-powered offense scored the most points in a game (115) since the 1996-97 season in a 115-73 rout of Hawai'i, Feb. 23, 2012. In the game, Daniel Mullings recorded the third triple-double in school history and first since 1990 with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, which were all career-high marks.
Bits and Pieces
Here's a look back at some of the interesting facts and figures of the 2011-12 season. The Aggies were:
24-5 out-rebounding teams
21-1 when shooting better than opponents and 13-2 when shooting better than 50 percent
23-3 when scoring 71 points or more
18-3 when allowing 70 points or fewer
20-2 in games decided by 11 points or more
19-1 when leading at halftime
Newcomers in Las Cruces
The Aggies have five newcomers on the squad this season with junior guard Kevin Aronis, freshman center Sim Bhullar, freshman forward Matej Buovac, freshman forward Aaron Kubinski and sophomore guard K.C. Ross-Miller. NM State also has three redshirts returning with junior forward/center B.J. West, freshman guard Eric Weary and freshman guard Emery Coleman.
Previewing the WAC
NM State was voted to win the WAC title in the WAC Coaches' Preseason poll and second in the media poll. Senior forward Tyrone Watson and sophomore guard Daniel Mullings earned Preseason All-WAC honors. Mullings was a first team pick and Watson was a second team selection in the coach's ballots.
The Slate for 2012-13
The Aggies have 16 regular season home games scheduled for the 2012-13 season in the Pan American Center. NM State is set to play in three nationally televised games on ESPNU at Oregon State (Nov. 11), against Denver (Jan. 23) and at Utah State (Feb. 16).
Home Sweet Home
NM State had a solid home court advantage in 2011-12 at the Pan American Center and finished with a 14-3 record. In WAC play, the Aggies posted a 6-1 home record.
Menzies is the Fifth Winningest Coach at NM State
Head coach Marvin Menzies has recorded 102 career wins in five seasons at NM State. He ranks fifth in school history, and directed the Aggies to their third 20-win season in his tenure in 2011-12.
All-Time Winningest Coaches (by victories)
• 1. Lou Henson-289
• 2. Neil McCarthy-229
• 3. Jerry Hines-157
• 4. Presley Askew-135
• 5. Marvin Menzies-102
The Aggies return home to host Southeastern Louisiana, Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. in the home opener in a double header with volleyball.