#2 seed Aggies take on Seattle in WAC Tournament
Las Cruces, NM — The New Mexico State men’s basketball team is the No. 2 seed in the 2014 Western Athletic Conference Tournament and faces No. 7 seed Seattle U in the quarterfinals, Thursday, March 13 at 9:30 p.m. (MT) in The Orleans Arena. The game is scheduled to air over the radio waves in Las Cruces with ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon giving the play-by-play action. A webcast will also be available online at www.WAC.tv for a fee and live stats are available free of charge at www.NMStateSports.com. In-game score updates are given on Twitter @NMStateAggies.
Looking Ahead: If the Aggies win their quarterfinal game, they will take on the winner between No. 3 Chicago State and No. 6 Bakersfield, Friday at 9:30 p.m. (MT). The WAC Tournament Championship is scheduled for 8 p.m. (MT) and will be televised on ESPNU. All games will be aired on the Aggie Sports Network with coverage in Alamogordo (107.1 FM), Albuquerque (101.7 FM), Artesia (990 AM) and Carlsbad (1240 AM).
About the Aggies
NM State finished with a 23-9 overall record during the regular season and head into the WAC Tournament as the No. 2 seed after finishing league play at 12-4. The Aggies were just behind Utah Valley, who is the No. 1 seed after winning the WAC regular season title.
The Aggies finished the regular season winning two straight and won eight of their last 10 games. The two losses during that stretch came at the hands of Idaho (Feb. 6) and Utah Valley (Feb. 27) both on the road. NM State fell by six points to Idaho and to Utah Valley in overtime by five.
NM State put together three winning streaks of four or more wins, including two seven-game win streaks. The first win streak (7 games) started with a win over Tennessee State on Nov. 9, 2013 and ended when NM State was defeated 85-83 at Colorado State on Nov. 30, 2013. The second win streak (7 games) began when the Aggies defeated Drake 81-69 in overtime, Dec. 14, 2013 and ended when they lost to Chicago State, 86-81 on the road. The final streak was a four game win streak with wins over Seattle (Feb. 8), Kansas City (Feb. 13), Chicago State (Feb. 15) and UTPA (Feb. 20).
NM State is averaging 77.7 points per game this season while shooting 48.8 percent from the field. They are shooting well from behind the three-point arc as well, hitting 36.8 percent of their three point attempts. The NM State defense is holding its opponents to 40.1 percent from the field and out-rebounding opponents by an average of 37.4 per game to 32.6 per game (+4.8 rebounding margin).
Junior guard Daniel Mullings leads all scorers on the squad with 16.9 points per game and is also the defensive leader on the team with 59 steals on the season. Mullings is also second in the WAC in steals per game with 1.97 per game. He also has 105 assists on the year and is top ten in the league in that category.
Sophomore center Sim Bhullar returned to the court Thursday, Jan. 30, after missing six straight games due to a foot injury, leads the team and the WAC in blocked shots with 91 blocks on the year. Junior Tshilidzi Nephawe is the team leader in rebounds with 7.8 rebounds per game and is second on the team and the WAC in blocked shots with 50, which includes a career high six blocks against Idaho, Jan. 11.
Senior Guard Kevin Aronis leads the Aggies in three-point shooting percentage hitting 44.2 percent of shots beyond the arc and is No. 5 in the WAC in three pointers per game with 2.19 a contest.
Senior forward/center Renaldo Dixon made 11 consecutive starts, which ended on Feb. 15, against Chicago State and is averaging 25.6 minutes per competition. He is posting 8.7 points per game and grabbing 5.8 rebounds per game.
The New Mexico State men’s basketball team defeated Grand Canyon 81-57, Thursday, March 6, 2014 in the Pan American Center for senior forward Reynaldo Dixon and senior guard Kevin Aronis’ last home game as Aggies. NM State moves to 23-9 overall and 12-4 in WAC play, while the ‘Lopes fall to 14-14 overall and 9-6 in the WAC.
Aronis scored double-digits with 17 total points in the game going 50 percent from the field hitting 5-for-10. Dixon contributed 11 rebounds, second highest against the ‘Lopes just behind center sophomore Sim Bhullar with 12 rebounds on the game. Bhullar posted a game-high 22 points making the only double-double of the game while adding a team-high five assists. Three other Aggies hit double-digit total points including junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe (15), junior guard Daniel Mullings (17), and Aronis (17). NM State shot at 44.1 percent from the field compared to Grand Canyon at 33.9 percent.
Series History Versus Seattle U
NM State has faced Seattle U five times since their first meeting in 1970. After the 1971 loss by the Aggies, there was a 42-year span before the teams met again in 2013.
The Aggies currently lead the all-time record against the Redhawks with 5-1 overall. The closest scoring margin the two teams have seen was during the 2012-2013 season when NM State beat Seattle U by one point in double overtime, 83-82.
The last meeting between the two teams was on Feb. 8, 2014 when the Aggies defeated the Redhawks, 92-77 in Seattle, Wash.
Individually, junior guard DK Eldridge led the Aggies with an average of 16.5 points per game against Seattle U this season while contributing 5.5 rebounds per game. Junior guard KC Ross-Miller hit 70.0 percent from the field going 7-for-10 against the Redhawks.