Aggies to play for first in WAC
Las Cruces, NM — The New Mexico State University men’s basketball team continues on the road as the Aggies take on the Utah Valley Wolverines, Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. (MT) in Orem, Utah. The game airs on the radio in Las Cruces on KGRT 104 FM with “Voice of the Aggies” Jack Nixon giving the play-by-play. Live stats are available online at www.NMStateSports.com and in-game updates are given on Twitter @NMStateAggies.
NM State takes on Bakersfield, Saturday, March 1, in Bakersfield, Calif. The Bakersfield game is set to air on the radio with coverage on KGRT 104 FM in Las Cruces. Radio coverage for both games on the Aggie Sports Network includes coverage in Alamogordo (107.1 FM), Albuquerque (101.7 FM), Artesia (990 AM) and Carlsbad (1240 AM).
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
NM State has had two seven-game winning streaks this season with the first starting on Nov. 9 against Tennessee State in Honolulu. The final victory of that streak was against Prairie View A&M as the Aggies won 91-60 in Las Cruces on Nov. 27. The second seven-game winning streak began on Dec. 14 in Des Moines, Iowa when NM State defeated Drake 81-63 in overtime. The final victory of that streak came against Idaho on Jan. 11 when NM State won 78-54 in the Pan American Center. The winning streak was snapped by Chicago State on Jan. 16, when they fell 86-81 on the road. The Aggies then lost their second straight Western Athletic Conference game of the year to Kansas City 68-66 on the road as well, Jan. 18. However, the Aggies managed to recover with three consecutive home victories, including a dominating 72-49 win over first place Utah Valley, Saturday, Feb. 1.
The Aggies have recovered from the loss on the road to Idaho on Feb. 6, and responded with a four game winning streak. They are now sitting at 10-3 in league play after a 92-77 road victory against conference opponent Seattle in Seattle, Washington on Feb. 8, followed by back-to-back home wins also coming against conference opponents Kansas City on Feb. 13 and Chicago State on Feb. 15 and another road win against WAC opponent Texas-Pan American on Feb. 20.
NM State is averaging 78.3 points per game this season while shooting 49.4 percent from the field. They are shooting fairly well from behind the 3-point arc as well, hitting 37.2 percent of their 3-point attempts. The NM State defense is holding its opponents to a 40.8 shooting percentage on the year and is out-rebounding the opposing teams by an average of 36.8 per game to 32.4 per game (+4.3 rebounding margin).
Junior guard Daniel Mullings leads all scorers on the squad with 16.9 points per game and is also the defensive leader of the team with a league 53 steals on the year. He also leads the Western Athletic Conference in steals per game averaging 1.9 per competition. He also has 93 assists on the year, and is in the top-10 in the league in that category.
Sophomore center Sim Bhullar, who returned to the court on Thursday, Jan. 30 after missing six straight games due to a foot injury, leads the team and the WAC in blocked shots with 79 blocks on the season. Junior Tshilidzi Nephawe is the team leader in rebounds with 7.7 per game and he is also second on the team and the WAC with 43 blocks on the year, which includes a career-high six blocks against Idaho (Jan. 11).
Senior guard Kevin Aronis leads the Aggies in 3-point shooting percentage hitting 43.8 percent of his attempts and is No. 5 in the WAC in 3-pointers per game with 2.2 per contest. Junior KC Ross-Miller is second on the team in 3-point shooting percentage going 39.0 percent from behind the 3-point arc (23-of-59).
Senior forward/center Renaldo Dixon made 11 consecutive starts which ended on Feb. 15, against Chicago State and is averaging 25.3 minutes per competition. He is posting 8.9 points per game and is grabbing 5.7 rebounds per game.
The New Mexico State men’s basketball team defeated Texas-Pan American, 78-61, in Edinburg, Texas Thursday, Feb. 20. The Aggies improved to 21-8 on the season and 10-3 in WAC play, while Texas-Pan American fell to 8-20 overall, 4-9 in the WAC.
Junior guard Daniel Mullings scored a team-high 18 points shooting 5-of-7 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line. Sophomore center Sim Bhullar was too much for the Broncs in the middle as he added 15 points going 7-of-8 from the field and the Aggies as a team posted 36 points in the paint.
NM State finished the game shooting 68 percent as a team, after shooting 80 percent in the second half. The Aggies dished out 18 assists with Mullings leading that category dropping six dimes, while junior KC Ross-Miller added five assists.
NM State came out and scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 40-33 lead. The Aggie lead was extended to 10 points again at 45-35, when Eldridge hit 1-of-2 free throws with 14:46 on the clock in the second half. The Aggies never trailed again and took their largest lead of the game at 64-48 after two free throws by Mullings. Aronis hit a 3-pointer with 3:35 left in the game giving the Aggies a 71-54 lead before closing out the game to win 78-61.
Series History versus Utah Valley
The Aggies and Wolverines have met only once in series history which during the 2013-2014 season. The last time the two teams met NM State defeated Utah Valley 72-49 at the Pan American Center on Feb. 1.
Feb. 1, 2014 … Home … 72-49 W
Scouting the Wolverines
This will be the second time the NM State Aggies face off against the Utah Valley Wolverines.
The Wolverines are led by head coach Dick Hunsaker in his 12th season with the team. He is assisted by Curtis Condie in his fifth year with the team and Terry Parker in his first year with the team.
Utah Valley has an overall record of 16-10 with a 10-2 record at home. The Wolverines are led by senior guard, Holton Hunsaker in scoring and assists, averaging 14.0 points per game with 108 total assists on the season. Just trailing Hunsaker in scoring is senior center Ben Aird with 295 total points on the season and averaging 11.3 points per game. Freshman forward Zach Nelson comes in third for the Wolverines in overall points with 288 on the season and averaging 11.1 points per game. Nelson also comes in second for Utah Valley with 81 assists just trailing Hunsaker.
As a team, the Wolverines have a +1.9 scoring margin. Throughout the season they have tallied 878 rebounds, 370 assists and average a 43.9 field goal percentage.