Aggies host South Alabama in final non-conference game of season
Las Cruces, NM — The New Mexico State men’s basketball team (10-5) takes on South Alabama, Saturday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. (MT) in the Pan American Center. The game is scheduled to air over the radio waves on KGRT 103.9 FM. Fans can listen to the radio coverage provided by NM State Hall of Fame inductee, Jack Nixon starting at 6:30 p.m. (MT) on the Aggie Sports Network. Live stats are available online at www.NMStateSports.com under the live events link and in-game updates will be given on Twitter @NMStateAggies.
The Aggies have a week off before taking opening the 2014 Western Athletic Conference season against Grand Canyon on Saturday, Jan. 4 in Phoenix, Ariz. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. (MT) in Grand Canyon Arena and the game is scheduled to air on the radio with ‘Voice of the Aggies’ and Hall of Famer, Jack Nixon giving the play-by-play action
Fans and media can access post-game video interviews with head coach Marvin Menzies and selected players after each game on-line at www.NMStateSports.com by clicking on the game recap.
About the Aggies
Currently, the Aggies are 10-5 on the season, after beating Drake and in-state rival New Mexico on the road before returning home to handle Northern New Mexico with a 97-47 win in the Pan American Center last week. The Aggies are 5-1 in the Pan American Center this year while going 4-3 on the road.
As a team, the Aggies are averaging 76.2 points per game, outscoring their opponents by 7.7 points per game. NM State is shooting 47.0 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from behind the 3-point arc and 69.6 percent from the free throw line. On the boards, NM State is pulling down 37.1 rebounds a game, while recording 6.0 blocks, 5.1 steals and 12.4 assists a game. Five Aggies are shooting over 80 percent from the charity stripe.
Daniel Mullings leads the Aggies with 16.6 points per game, shooting 45.3 percent from the field. He also leads the Aggies in steals with 25. Sim Bhullar is shooting a team leading 67.1 percent from the floor, while also leading the team in rebounds (114) and blocks (52). K.C. Ross-Miller leads the squad with 52 assists, while shooting a team leading 89.6 percent at the free throw line. DK Eldridge is hot from the 3-point line, making 45.5 percent of his attempts, while Renaldo Dixon is second on the team at the free throw line, knocking down 82.1 percent of his attempts.
Aggies against South Alabama
The Aggies are 8-6 all-time the South Alabama Jaguars while going 3-3 at home, 5-2 on the road and 0-1 at a neutral site. The Aggies defeated South Alabama last year 58-52. The teams first met on Dec. 12, 1976 when the NM State Aggies experienced their first loss to the Jaguars, 83-85.
Last 10 Games versus South Alabama
Scouting the South Alabama Jaguars
South Alabama, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, has an overall record of 6-6 after losing to Arkansas, Saturday, Dec. 21, 72-60. The Jaguars are currently 0-3 on the road this season.
The Jaguars average 73.2 points per game while shooting 40.2 percent from the field and 37.6 percent from 3-point range. South Alabama also averages 40.7 rebounds per game while only allowing 36.6 rebound per game.
The Jaguars are led by forward Augustine Rubit, who leads the team in points per game (17.8), field goal percentage (47.9), 3-point field goal percentage (48.0) and rebounds per game (9.8). The 6-foot-7 senior already has a Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week award under his belt this season.
Aggies at Home
NM State is currently 5-1 at home this season with its only loss coming from New Mexico on Dec. 4. The Aggies currently have a 551-146 record in the Pan American Center with 43 winning seasons in 45 years. NM State has marked at least 15 wins in the Pan American Center seven times and have gone undefeated at home three times (1969-70, 1970-71, 1989-90).
The Aggies defeated I-25 rival UTEP, 86-73, Nov. 15 in from of 10,009 fans. That was NM State’s home opener and it gave the Aggies a 105-100 advantage in the 205 meetings between the two rivals. NM State shot over 50 percent in the contest, sinking 25 of 44 shots to finish with a 56.8 shooting percentage while holding UTEP to 46 percent on the night. The Aggie advantage in the paint was also noticeable as NM State out-rebounded the Miners, 37-23. The Aggies most recent home victory was a 50-point victory over Northern New Mexico with the Aggies shooting 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from behind the three point line.
The Aggies are shooting 51.6 percent from the field in the Pan American Center this year, while out-rebounding their opponents 229-194. NM State has also out-blocked its opponents 42-9 in the Pan American Center with Sim Bhullar posting 24 in front of the Aggie crowd. Bhullar broke the school record for blocks in a game when he tallied 10 during a 91-60 win over Prairie View A&M , Nov. 27, 2013.
Aggies in the WAC
Of the nine teams in the Western Athletic Conference, the Aggies have the best record at 10-5, while Seattle U is the only other WAC team with a winning record at 8-4.
NM State leads the league in many different statistical categories individually. Center Sim Bhullar, is first overall in field goal percentage at 67.1 and blocked shots with a staggering 3.47 blocks per game, which is 2.05 above anyone else in the WAC. Complimentary to his ranking in blocks and field goal percentage, Bhullar stands up to the competition by ranking second in rebounds, with 40 offensively and is 11 total rebounds behind the leader Killian Larson from Grand Canyon.
Daniel Mullings is in the top 10 in scoring (No. 3), assists (No. 4), steals (No. 3), assist/turnover ratio (No. 5) and minutes played (No. 2). Ross-Miller is also in the top 10 for assists (No. 5) free throw percentage (No. 3) and assist-turnover ratio (No. 2). Ross-Miller enters the game against Northern New Mexico with 48 placing him in fifth and Mullings is just ahead with 50, standing in fourth.
Mullings is the highest ranking Aggie in scoring (fourth), steals (third), and minutes played (second), while for free throw percentages, Ross-Miller places in second in the league with a .892 percentage recorded.
Kevin Aronis is in the top 10 for 3-pointers made and DK Eldridge is in the top 10 for 3-point field goal percentage.
Aggies in the Nation
Coming into the week of Dec. 23, NM State leads the nation in free throw attempts and free throws made out of 345 teams ranked.
The Aggies are also top contenders for blocked shots per game and are ranked No. 26 nationally with 6.0 blocks shots per game while the national leader St. John’s from New York records a 9.6 per game. The Aggies are also No. 2 nationally for total blocks, while St. John’s is the national leader in that category as well.
NM State is No. 5 in the nation in rebounds with 557, while Iowa leads the country with 597.
Center Sim Bhullar comes into the week at 12th in the nation in blocked shots per game and No. 4 in total blocks. Bhullar has 52 total blocks and national leader Jordan Bachynski from Arizona St. has posted 57
Guard Daniel Mullings comes into the week of Dec. 23 ranked 38th in total points with 233. The national leader, Antoine Mason from Niagra had 339 as of Dec. 22.