LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – New Mexico State (7-8, 0-3 WAC) men’s basketball will aim for its first win in Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play this season when they host California Baptist (9-7, 1-2 WAC) at the Pan American Center on Saturday.
It’s been a less than ideal start to league play for the Aggies. NMSU has lost three straight games to start off their conference campaign. The Aggies suffered losses to Southern Utah (Dec. 28), Sam Houston State (Dec. 31), and most recently, Stephen F. Austin (Jan. 4).
It’s been the first time NMSU started WAC play with three losses since the 2020-21 season. That was the season that was impacted by COVID-19. The Aggies played “home” games at Eastwood High School in El Paso, Texas. Before that, you’d have to go back to the 2004-05 season to find the program’s last 0-3 start in conference action.
New Mexico State will aim to snap the three-game losing streak against California Baptist on Saturday. The Aggies are getting solid production from most of their starting lineup. Xavier Pinson leads the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game. Pinson had 20 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the floor last game against Stephen F. Austin. His backcourt partner, Deshawndre Washington has been doing it all as he is averaging 12.3 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game, and 4.6 assists per game. Down low, Issa Muhammad has been the man to get buckets. Muhamad is averaging 10.7 points per game along with 4.6 rebounds per game.
New Mexico State will look to use its newest addition to the team. Mady Traoré made his debut against Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday. Traoré scored five points on 2-of-2 shooting in 11 minutes played. The 6’11” Frenchmen committed to New Mexico State on last month.
NMSU is averaging 76.1 points per game as a team, which is the ranked 98th out of 352 NCAA Division I teams. NMSU is holding opponents to scoring 67.9 points per game, which is ranked 152nd in the country. Rebounding has been one of the Aggies’ strengths so far this season. The team pulls in 38.0 total rebounds per game (ranked 75th in NCAA).
California Baptist comes into Saturday’s matchup off of a 72-58 win against Utah Tech on Thursday. The Lancers’ backcourt of Taran Armstrong (10.4 PPG) and Joe Quintana (10.7 PPG) are averaging double-digit scoring totals. Hunter Goodrick is the next leading scorer as he’s averaging 9.3 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds per game.
The Lancers are scoring 66.9 points per game so far this season. They shoot 41.2% from the floor and 32.0% from three. The Lancers average about 8.1 three-point makes on 25.2 three-point attempts. Their defense has been their strong point as they’ve held opponents to 63.8 points per game, which is ranked 55th in NCAA DI basketball.
New Mexico State and California Baptist will face off on Saturday at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. MT. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.