NMSU men back to work to host Idaho Saturday

NMSU men back to work to host Idaho Saturday
New Mexico State
Friday, January 10, 2014 - 4:31pm

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team (13-5, 2-0 WAC) takes on Idaho (7-10, 1-2 WAC) in the Pan American Center, Saturday, Jan. 11. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (MT). Fans can listen to the pregame show at 5:30 p.m. with the Hall of Famer ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon on KGRT 103.9 FM in Las Cruces. The game is also scheduled to be televised on ROOT Sports and fans should check with their local cable or satellite provider for show times.

Looking Ahead
NM State heads out on the road facing Chicago State, Thursday, Jan. 16 and Kansas City, Saturday, Jan. 18. Both games will be aired on the radio on the Aggie Sports Network. The Aggie Sports Network includes radio coverage in Alamogordo (107.1 FM), Albuquerque (101.7 FM), Artesia (990 AM) and Carlsbad (1240 AM).

Post-Game Interviews
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.

Aggies Against Idaho
The NM State Aggies and Idaho Vandals have played a total of 27 times since the 1964 season. NM State is 23-4 all-time against the Vandals and are 13-0 when taking on Idaho at home. The Aggies won the first game between the two teams, 81-69 (Dec. 29, 1964). The Aggies largest winning streak was a total of 10 games from 2000-09. The most recent game resulted in another win the by the Aggies 65-49 during the WAC tournament, March 14, 2013.

The Aggies take on the Idaho Vandals, Jan. 11 at the Pan American Center and again on Feb. 6 in Moscow, Idaho at the Cowan Spectrum.

Scouting the Vandals
Idaho is struggling this season at 7-10 overall and 1-2 in league play. The Vandals lost to Kansas City to open WAC play on Thursday, Jan. 2 and then fell to Chicago State 57-55, while both those games were on their home court. Idaho defeated UTPA 86-85 in a double-overtime game, Thursday, on the road, using a last second shot to win the game.

Stephen Madison is the team leader in scoring and is No. 2 in the WAC posting 17.6 points per game, while he is also No. 2 in the conference in rebounding grabbing 8.2 boards per game. The Aggies will have to use caution with Glen Dean as he is No. 3 in the WAC in free throw percentage hitting 85.7 percent of his free throw attempts.

Last Time Versus Idaho (game recap)
The New Mexico State men’s basketball team opened the 2013 WAC Tournament with a 65-49 win over Idaho in the tournament quarterfinals, March 14, 2013. Guard Daniel Mullings scored a game-high 23 points.

The Aggies advanced to the semifinals of the tournament with the win. Mullings was 10-of-14 from the field for his ninth 20-point game of the season. He also added three steals. Forward Bandja Sy supplied 14 points and seven rebounds. He was 5-of-11 from the field including 2-of-4 from the 3-point line.

NM State shot 60 percent from the field (27-of-45) as a team. The Aggie defense was also effective and held an opponent to under 50 points for the second time in the WAC Tournament. Last year, the Aggies began the tournament with a 65-49 win over Fresno State.

After shooting 59.1 percent from the field (13-of-22) including a 3-of-5 performance from the 3-point line in the first half, the Aggies had a 32-28 lead at halftime. Mullings led the team with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Center Sim Bhullar added five, while sophomore guard Terrel de Rouen contributed four points off the bench.

NM State in Mid-Major Poll
In the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll (Jan. 6), the NM State men’s basketball team moved up two spots from No. 12 to No. 10. The Aggies had 473 points in the poll, while Wichita State is No. 1 in the poll. Aggie opponent, Gonzaga in No. 3 in the poll, Northern Colorado is No. 22 and Drake is No. 24.

Aggies in the WAC
NM State’s overall record of 13-5 is tops in the WAC, while it is tied for first in the league standing with Kansas City at 2-0. The Aggies are one of only two teams in the conference with a winning overall record (Seattle U at 8-7). NM State is 2-0 in WAC play after an 84-62 win versus Grand Canyon University on Saturday, Jan. 4, in Phoenix, Ariz., and a 96-87 win over Seattle U on Thursday.

The Aggies lead the conference in scoring offense (78.1 points/game), field goal percentage (48.4), scoring margin (+9.1), blocked shots (103) and blocked shots per game (5.72).

NM State’s defense also leads the WAC in opponent’s field goal percentage, holding opponents to 40.4 percent shooting, while standing in third in the WAC in scoring defense, allowing 68.9 points per game.

The Aggies are also second in the conference in 3-point shooting percentage (37.8), rebounding (37.2 rebounds/game) and rebound margin (+3.7) while placing third in free throw percentage (69.2) and assists per game (13.06).

Individually, sophomore center Sim Bhullar is the WAC overall leader in field goal percentage (67.0) and easily leads the conference in blocked shots (53) and blocked shots per game (3.31). No one else in the conference has over 20 blocked shots or is averaging over 1.40 blocked shots per game.

Bhullar also ranks third among WAC players in rebounds per game (7.4) while placing fourth in defensive rebounds per game (4.81) and third in offensive rebounds per game (2.56).

Fellow center Tshilidzi Nephawe is right behind Bhullar, placing third in the WAC in field goal percentage (53.2), sixth in rebounds per game (6.8), 10th in blocked shots (15) and 10th in blocked shots per game (0.83). Nephawe is tied for sixth in the conference in defensive rebounds per game (4.67) and ninth in offensive rebounds per game (2.17).

Sandwiched in between Bhullar and Nephawe in the blocked shots category is senior forward Renaldo Dixon whose 18 blocked shots place him in a tie for fifth most in the WAC.

Junior guard K.C. Ross-Miller is second the WAC in free throw percentage shooting at a 85.5 percent average (65-of-76). Ross-Miller is also tied for the conference lead in total assists with 67 helpers on the season. He is fourth in assists per game (3.72) and second in the conference in assist/turnover ratio (1.81).

NM State’s leading scorer, junior guard Daniel Mullings, is fourth in the WAC in scoring with 16.4 points per game. He leads the conference in steals with 36 (2.12/game). Mullings is also third in minutes played per game (33.29), fourth in assist/turnover ratio (1.49), fifth in total assists (61) and sixth in assists per game (3.59).

Senior guard Kevin Aronis is tied for sixth in the WAC with 38 3-point field goals made and is sixth in the conference with a 2.11 3-pointers per game average. He also is seventh in the WAC in 3-point field goal percentage with a 41.8 percent average (38-of-91). Fellow guard DK Eldridge leads the Aggies in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 42.3 percent from beyond the arc (22-of-52), good enough for fourth-best in the WAC.

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