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Aggies Ready For Home Opener

Aggies Ready For Home Opener

POSTED: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 8:16pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 8:17pm

The New Mexico State men's basketball team returns home to host Southeastern Louisiana, Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. in the home opener. This is a double header with the volleyball team as the Aggies face Idaho at 5:30 p.m. The Aggies are celebrating the 2012 NCAA Tournament and unveiling the NCAA Tournament banner before the game.
The Aggie home opener begins a span of three games in four days for NM State. The Aggies travel east to meet Bucknell, Saturday, Nov. 17 at 3:30 p.m. and Niagara, Sunday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The games are available on the Aggie Sports Network and KGRT 104 FM in Las Cruces with the 'Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon, and the pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to tip.
New Mexico State Aggies
The Aggies are 0-1 this season after falling at Oregon State, 71-62, Nov. 11. Senior forward Tyrone Watson and sophomore guard Daniel Mullings led the way with 14 points each. Senior forward Bandja Sy was also in double figures with 12 points.
Scouting Southeastern Louisiana
The Lions are 0-2 following a pair of road losses at Wisconsin, 87-47, Nov. 11, and at Marquette, 64-53, Nov. 13. Junior guard Dre Evans has a team-high 10.5 points per game, and junior guard Jeffery Ricard adds 7.0 points per game.
Series Notes
The Aggies have a 1-0 series lead over the Lions. NM State won the first-ever meeting, 82-79, Dec. 13, 1997 in Las Cruces.
Scouting Bucknell
The Bison are 2-0 this season after a 70-65 win at Purdue, Nov. 9, and over George Mason, 61-56, Nov. 13. Bucknell plays at Niagara, Nov. 16. Senior forward/center Mike Muscala and senior guard Bryson Johnson are leading the team with 15.0 points per game each. Junior guard Cameron Ayers is also in double figures with 13.5 points per game.
Series Notes
This is the first meeting in school history between NM State and Bucknell.
Scouting Niagara
The Purple Eagles are 1-1 overall before their Nov. 16 game with Bucknell. Niagara opened the season with a 102-83 loss at Oregon State, Nov. 9, and then rebounded for an 86-69 win over St. Francis (Pa.), Nov. 13. The Purple Eagles are averaging 84.5 points per game and have four players in double digits. Redshirt sophomore guard Antoine Mason has a team-high 17.5 points per game. Sophomore guard Juan'ya Green (15.5), freshman forward T.J. Cline (13.0) and sophomore guard Ameen Tanksley (12.0) are also supplying double-figure averages.
Series Notes
Sunday's matchup is the first for NM State and Niagara.
Aggies Stumble in Season Opener at Oregon State
NM State opened the 2012-13 season with a 71-62 loss at Oregon State in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project in Corvallis, Ore., Nov. 11. The Aggies had three players in double figures with senior forward Tyrone Watson and sophomore guard Daniel Mullings scoring 14 points each. Senior forward Bandja Sy nearly had a double-double with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds, and junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe added nine points and seven rebounds.
Home Openers
In the Marvin Menzies era, the Aggies are 4-1 in home openers at the Pan American Center. NM State defeated UTEP, 89-73, Nov. 19, 2011, Western New Mexico, 95-62, Nov. 15, 2010, UC Riverside, 79-52, Nov. 15, 2008 and UC Davis, 75-65, Nov. 14, 2007. The lone loss in a home opener came to in-state rival New Mexico, 97-87, Nov. 17, 2009.
Aggie Aggressiveness Leads to the Line
The Crimson and White opened the year with 32 attempts at the free-throw line at Oregon State. The Aggies had 11 more attempts than the Beavers. Last year, the Aggies were one of the best in the country at getting to the line and attempted 29 free throws per game in 2011-12.
Aggies Crash the Glass
NM State continued last season's trend of out-rebounding teams in the season opener at Oregon State. The Aggies had a +13 rebounding margin, 46-33, over their Pac-12 opponent. Senior forward Bandja Sy grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, while senior forward Tyrone Watson added eight and junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe and sophomore guard Daniel Mullings had seven each.
Watson's Senior Campaign off to a Strong Start
In his final season in the Crimson and White, senior forward Tyrone Watson helped to lead the Aggie offense with 14 points at Oregon State. He added eight rebounds and a team-high three assists. Watson posted a career-high 11 field goal attempts in the season opener.
Mullings Produces on Both Sides of the Court
Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings picked up right where he left off in 2011-12. At Oregon State, the Toronto, Ontario native, scored 14 points on a 6-of-7 free-throw performance and recorded four steals.
Sy Looks to End Career with a Stellar Season
Senior forward Bandja Sy began his final season in Las Cruces with a 12-point and nine-rebound showing in the season opener at Oregon State. He made the Aggies' lone 3-pointer and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, which is double his average from a year ago (4.4).
Nephawe Anchors the Paint
Junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe is back for his third season with the Aggies. In the season opener, he had nine points and seven rebounds at Oregon State.
The Newest Aggies Make Their Debuts
In the season opener, the Aggies had three newcomers make their first appearances in the Crimson and White. Sophomore guard K.C. Ross-Miller started his first game and contributed two assists, freshman center Sim Bhullar blocked two shots and junior guard Kevin Aronis played seven minutes in his first game.
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.
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.
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
Looking ahead
The Aggies return home for a pair of games inside the Pan American Center during Thanksgiving week. NM State hosts Northern New Mexico, Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. in the final game of the 2K Sports Classic. The Aggies host Louisiana, Friday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in a game in memory of former Aggie Kelsey Crooks.

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