The New Mexico State men's basketball team opens WAC play on the road for the third straight year, when the Aggies meet UT Arlington, Saturday, Dec. 29 at 6 p.m. in Arlington, Texas, and Louisiana Tech, Monday, Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. in Ruston, La.
New Mexico State Aggies
The Aggies are 6-6 this season after defeating Missouri State, 71-51, Dec. 22 in Las Cruces. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings is leading the team with 13.6 points per game. Senior forward Tyrone Watson adds 10.6 points per game, and freshman center Sim Bhullar contributes 8.4 points per contest.
Scouting UT Arlington
The Mavericks are 5-3 entering conference play following a 69-44 loss at Oklahoma State, Dec. 19. Senior forward Jordan Reves is leading UTA with 10.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, while senior forward Kevin Butler supplies 9.8 points per game.
The Aggies lead the all-time series 10-1 but the teams haven't met since the 2004-05 season. The Mavs won the last meeting, 88-67, Nov. 24, 2004 in Las Cruces.
Scouting Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs finished non-conference action with a 9-3 record after edging Arkansas-Little Rock, 75-73, Dec. 17. Louisiana Tech opens WAC play versus Denver, Dec. 29. Sophomore guard Raheem Appleby is posting a team-high 17.8 points per game, and junior guard Cordarius Johnson is also in double figures with 11.9 points per contest.
NM State has a 15-3 record all-time against Louisiana Tech. The Aggies won all three games last season and have won the last seven in the series.
The Aggies won their third WAC Tournament Championship in school history with an 82-57 win over No. 5 seed Louisiana Tech, March 10, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nev. The Aggies earned their 19th NCAA Tournament appearance with the victory and their second WAC title in three years. Forward Wendell McKines guided the Aggies with his 20th double-double of the season with 27 points and 14 rebounds on 12-of-16 shooting. Forward Tyrone Watson and guard Daniel Mullings supplied 12 points each. Center Hamidu Rahman added nine points and three blocked shots, and guard Hernst Laroche had eight points, six rebounds and six assists in the title game.
Aggies Beat Missouri State 71-51
NM State defeated Missouri State, 71-51, Dec. 22, in its last tune-up before WAC play begins. Freshman center Sim Bhullar scored a career-high 25 points to pace the Aggies. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings recorded his eighth game in double-digits this season with 11 points. Senior forward Tyrone Watson contributed nine, and freshman forward Matej Buovac added eight points in his Aggie debut.
National Rankings for the Aggies
The Aggies are currently 31st in the NCAA in rebounding margin (+7.8). NM State has out-rebounded opponents in nine games. The Aggies are 34th in 3-point field goal defense (28.5) and 40th in field goal percent defense (38.2) as of Dec. 23.
Against the WAC Competition
Currently, the Aggies lead the conference in 3-point field goal percent defense (28.5). NM State ranks second in field goal percent defense (38.2) and third in scoring defense (60.7 points per game allowed), scoring margin (+5.4) and rebounding defense (30.8).
Individually, freshman center Sim Bhullar ranks first in the league in field goal percentage (63.5) and sixth in blocked shots (1.33 per game). Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings ranks sixth in field goal percentage (52.8) and eighth in free-throw percentage (77.4). Sophomore guard K.C. Ross-Miller is fourth in free-throw percentage (86.7), and junior guard Kevin Aronis is fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (42.9) as of Dec. 22.
Crimson and White Defense is Stifling
The Aggie defense has been imposing in 2012-13. NM State is only allowing 60.7 points per game and has held opponents to 60 or fewer points in seven of the 12 games.
Defense in the Menzies Era
In head coach Marvin Menzies' six seasons, the Aggie defense has continued to improve during his tenure. This year NM State has already held opponents to 60 or fewer points seven times. Here' s a look at how this year's team compares to previous squads.
Allowing 60 points or less
2012-13 7 games
2011-12 9 games
2010-11 8 games
2009-10 2 games
2008-09 3 games
2007-08 6 games
Aggies Control the Glass
NM State has consistently out-rebounded opponents this season. NM State is averaging 38.5 boards per game with a +7.8 rebounding margin. The Aggies have out-rebounded teams in nine games.
Ready, Aim, Fire
The Aggie offense is strong with a team field goal percentage of 44.4 percent. NM State has three players shooting over 50 percent this season including freshman center Sim Bhullar (63.5), sophomore guard Daniel Mullings (52.8) and junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe (51.1). The Aggies have a better shooting percentage than their opponents in seven games.
Aggie Aggressiveness Leads to the Line
The Crimson and White are continuing the trend of getting to the free-throw line in 2012-13. In 12 games, the Aggies are averaging 24.1 attempts per game, 5.3 more attempts than their opponents.
Aggies Notch Double-Doubles
NM State has recorded four double-doubles in 2012-13 with junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe leading the way with two double-doubles. His first double-double of the season occurred at Niagara, Nov. 18, with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Nephawe also had a double-double against Louisiana, Nov. 23, with 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Daniel Mulling had his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds against Southern Miss, Dec. 1. Senior forward Bandja Sy posted a double-double with 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds at South Alabama, Dec. 4.
Mullings Fuels the Offense
In his second season, sophomore guard Daniel Mullings has scored in double-figures eight times. He recorded his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds versus Southern Miss, Dec. 1. Mullings has had three 20-point games this season and five in his career. His shooting has improved from a season ago with 40 percent or better in every game but one this season. Mullings is shooting 50 percent from the 3-point line. He also has three or more assists in six games.
Aggies Edged in Pan Am
NM State's upset bid of in-state rival No. 16/17 New Mexico fell short with a 68-63 loss, Dec. 19 in Las Cruces. It snapped an 11-game home winning streak for the Aggies dating back to last season. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings paced the Aggies with 13 points and five assists. Senior forward Tyrone Watson contributed 11 points, while junior guard Kevin Aronis tied a career-high mark with 12 points. Aronis hit a career-best four 3-poitners (4-of-5), and the Aggies made a season-high 10 shots from beyond the 3-point line (10-of-17).
Aggies Fall in The Pit
NM State fell at No. 17/20 New Mexico, 73-58, Dec. 15. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings scored a team-high 14 points. Freshman center Sim Bhullar and sophomore guard Terrel de Rouen added nine points each, while sophomore guard K.C. Ross-Miller had eight.
Rio Grande Rivalry
In the first game of the year against New Mexico, the Aggies turned in season-best performances. NM State recorded a season-low eight turnovers and a season-high 84.2 free-throw percentage (16-of-19).
Junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe has missed the last three games with an injury. He had surgery on his right hand, and his return to action is unknown at this time.
Aggie Bench Produces at New Mexico
Despite a shortened bench due to the injury to junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe, the Aggie reserves were productive at New Mexico, Dec. 15, with a combined 18 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore guard Terrel de Rouen tied a career high with nine points included a pair 3-pointers, and junior center Renaldo Dixon grabbed a season-high seven rebounds.
Aggies Earn First Road Win
NM State collected its first road of the season with a 58-52 victory at South Alabama, Dec. 4. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings led the Aggies in scoring with 13 points. Freshman center Sim Bhullar contributed 12 points off the bench for his third double-digit game of the year. Senior forward Bandja Sy recorded his second career double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds, a career-high mark, along with a vital steal in the last 20 seconds of the game. Sophomore guard K.C. Ross-Miller had nine points including two free throws to seal the game.
Watson's Senior Campaign Going Strong
In his final season in the Crimson and White, senior forward Tyrone Watson is taking over a leadership role for the Aggies. He scored a career-high 24 points in the home opening win over Southeastern Louisiana, Nov. 15. He made two 3-pointers in back-to-back games for the first time in his career against Bucknell and Niagara. Watson has scored in double-figures in six of the Aggies' games and has shot 44.4 percent or better in eight contests. The senior is second on the team in assists with 32 including two five-assist games.
Sy Shoots and Scores
Senior forward Bandja Sy has been in double-digits in scoring for the Aggies in five games and in double-figures in rebounding in three games. In the win at South Alabama, Dec. 4, he posted his second career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.
Young Aggies Set Career Highs
The Aggie underclassmen are contributing to the team this season. Freshman center Sim Bhullar has four double-digit games this season with a career-high 25 points against Missouri State, Dec. 22. Sophomore guard K.C. Ross-Miller had a career-high 11 points versus Louisiana, Nov. 23. At Niagara, Nov. 18, sophomore guard Terrel de Rouen scored a career-high nine points and dished a career-high three assists.
Defense Dominates inside Pan Am
The Aggies held Northern New Mexico to just 37 points, Nov. 21. This was the first time since a 41-37 win over Cal State Fullerton, Jan. 4, 1988, that NM State held an opponent to under 40 points. The Crimson and White followed that performance with a season-high nine blocked shots versus Louisiana, Nov. 23.
Aronis Finds Long Range Touch
Junior guard Kevin Aronis is making an impact for the Aggies in his first season. He has a team-high 12 3-point field goals this year, and has made at least two 3-pointers in four games. He scored a career-high 12 points against Louisiana, Nov. 23, and then again versus No. 16/17 New Mexico, Dec. 19.
Menzies is the Fifth Winningest Coach at NM State
Head coach Marvin Menzies has recorded 108 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)
The Aggies return home to host UTSA, Jan. 3 and Texas State, Jan. 5 inside the Pan American Center.