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NMSU hosts Utah St. for final time as WAC rivals Thursday

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 6:28pm

New Mexico St. (10-8, 4-2) will put their four game conference win streak on the line Thursday when they host Utah St. (14-1, 5-0) in what may be the final Aggies vs Aggies battle of WAC rivals.

The Utags have accepted an invitation to join the Mountain West conference in 2014 effectively ending a headed conference rivalry with NMSU.

"We are going to miss the games, but we have a few here to embrace the last couple of rounds here, so we'll see how that works,' said NMSU Head Coach Marvin Menzies.

"Everytime we play them, it feels like a very close game, and in general the championship game is us against them," said Senior Bandja Sy.

Some of the NMSU players would like to send Utah State off with a fairwell present.

"We are just trying to win this game and show them that they are the real Aggies," said Sophomore Daniel Mullings.

Utah State has a slight edge 35-29 lead in the all-time series despite NM State winning both meetings last season. The Aggies recorded an 80-60 win, Jan. 12, 2012 in Las Cruces and 80-69 win, Feb. 11, 2012 in Logan, Utah. NM State defeated Utah State in Logan for the first time since Feb. 11, 2006. The Aggies posted their first sweep of the Navy-clad Aggies since the 2005-06 season. NM State had four players in double-figures with forward Wendell McKines leading the way with a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds. Guard Hernst Laroche had 16 points and seven assists. Forward Bandja Sy supplied 13 points, while center Hamidu Rahman had 10.

The Aggies have won four straight games and have a 10-8 overall record and 4-2 WAC record. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings is leading the team with 14.9 points per game. Senior forward Tyrone Watson is also in double figures with 10.7 points per contest, while both senior forward Bandja Sy and freshman center Sim Bhullar follow with 9.9 points per game each.

Thursday's game tips off at the Pan American Center, 7pm. Television coverage is tape delayed in Las Cruces until 10 p.m., CSN-Houston until 1:30 p.m. and Fox Sports-Arizona until 1 a.m. on Jan. 18. The game is shown live on Comcast across New Mexico, Altitude2 and ESPN3. Saturday's game is shown live in Las Cruces, Comcast across New Mexico, Altitude2, Fox Sports-Arizona, ESPN3 and tape delayed on CSN-Houston until 7 a.m. on Jan. 20.

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