What: Game Fifteen
Who: NM State (7-7, 0-2 WAC) at Stephen F. Austin (10-5, 2-0 WAC)
When: Wednesday, Jan. 4, 5:30 p.m. MT
Where: Nacogdoches, Texas – William R. Johnson Coliseum (7,203)
Listen: Zia Country 99.5 (PxP – Jack Nixon, Analyst – Anita Skipper)
Attend: Online Ticket Sales
Stats: Click Here
Follow: Twitter – @NMStateMBB, Instagram – @NMStateMBB, Facebook – NM State Men’s Basketball
THE OPENING TIP
• Following a less-than-ideal start to the conference season, NM State takes to the road to take on Stephen F. Austin who opened conference play with a pair of wins last week.
• The Aggies’ loss on Saturday marked the first time the Aggies dropped back-to-back home games since 2010 and the first time since 2009 that NM State suffered consecutive home WAC losses.
• Even with the Aggies’ slow start, the third-ever meeting between the two programs will serve as one of the more-anticipated WAC contests of the season as the Aggies and Lumberjacks were selected second and third, respectively, in both the WAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll and WAC Preseason Media Poll.
• NM State will also look to avoid their first three-game losing streak since the 2020-21 season – a season that was affected greatly by the COVID-19 protocols. Prior to 2020-21, NM State had not lost three straight WAC games since the 2010-11 season.
REMEMBERING LAST SEASON
• On Wednesday, the Aggies will be looking to avenge its lone home WAC loss of the 2021-22 season after the Lumberjacks exited Las Cruces with a win on March 2, 2022, to end NM State’s 10-game winning streak.
• The late-season loss also put an end to NM State’s 29-game WAC winning streak inside the Pan American Center.
• However, only one player on last year’s roster will take the court for NM State on Wednesday as Marchelus Avery and while he was on the team, Avery did not log any minutes in the home loss last season.
• Entering its final season in the WAC, NM State has put together one of the most impressive runs in all of college basketball.
• Across 17-plus years, the Aggies have posted a 196-66 record against conference opponents.
• Additionally, the Aggies’ 10 WAC Tournament titles is the most in conference history with UTEP’s five tournament titles being the next closest.
CRASH THE BOARDS
• After pulling down 15 boards in his previous two outings, Deshawndre Washington enters Saturday’s game ranked 23rd in the nation and second in the WAC in defensive rebounds – pulling down 6.8 defensive rebounds per game.
• The extraterrestrial guard also ranks inside the top-100 in the country in rebounds per game as his team-leading 7.9 rebounds per game rank 95th amond Division I men’s basketball players.
• Deshawndre Washington and Xavier Pinson have been one of the most prolific backcourts in the country and are currently averaging a combined 9.1 assists per game.
• Washington currently ranks first in the WAC with 4.7 assists per game while Pinson ranks fourth in the conference with 4.4 helpers per game.
• The backcourt duo of Pinson and Washington are also the only two Aggies to appear in the starting lineup in each of the Aggies’ first 14 games.
• The two guards who both hail from Chicago, Ill., also each average double figures and have each scored exactly 180 points this season to pace the Aggies in scoring at 12.9 points per contest.
• Pinson and Washington are also the only two Aggies averaging more than 30 minutes of playing time under Greg Heiar this season.
TOUGH SLEDDING TO START
• Losing in WAC play is not something Aggie Nation is used to seeing – especially not to start the season. The 0-2 record against conference opponents marks just the third time in program history that the Aggies have opened WAC play with two losses.
• In fact, NM State has started WAC play with a 2-0 record 10 times since joining the league ahead of the 2005-06 season.
• The Aggies’ schedule doesn’t get any easier either as they fly to Nacogdoches, Texas, to battle with one of just three teams in the WAC with a 2-0 league record.
• Following the mid-week contest in Texas, NM State is then slated to return home to host California Baptist – a team in a similar boat as the Aggies given its high expectations and slow start.
NM STATE ON THIS DATE
• Across the history of the program, the Aggies
have played on the 4th of January a total of
25 times – boasting an overall record of 18-7.
• Wednesday will mark the Aggies’ 12th-ever
away game on Dec. 28 and the Aggies are 9-3 away from home.
• The Aggies have only ever played two conference
road games on Jan. 4 starting with a win over Grand Canyon in 2014 before taking down California Baptist in 2020.
SCOUTING THE LUMBERJACKS
• In his seventh year with the Lumberjacks, Head Coach Kyle Keller will lead Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday against the Aggies.
• Last year, Stephen F. Austin finished with an overall record of 22-10 and 14-4 in WAC play while earning a share of the WAC Regular Season title. SFA ultimately fell to eventual runner-up Abilene Christian in the quarterfinals of the 2022 WAC Tournament.
• Led by Gavin Kensmil’s 61.1% rate from the field, SFA was tops in the WAC shooting percentage a season ago.
• This year’s squad will be missing a pair of key contributors from last year as First Team All-WAC selection Gavin Kensmil and Second Team All-WAC honoree David Kachelries each wrapped up their careers in 2022.
• The Aggies will have to contend with one of the nation’s top pressure defenses as the Lumberjacks rank sixth in the nation in turnovers forced and 24th in the country in steals per game.
• Additionally, while they don’t shoot the ball often (ranked 327th in three-point attempts per game), SFA does shoot the long ball efficiently (ranked 15th in the country in three-point percentage).
• Sadaidrene Hall enters the game as the Lumberjacks’ top scorer at 13.4 points per game to represent one of three SFA scorers to average more than 10 points.
• The other Lumberjacks to average double figures are Latrell Jossell who posts 12.5 points per contest and Nigel Hawkins who averages 11.5 markers.
• This will mark just the third time that Stephen F. Austin and NM State will meet up with the first-ever matchup coming just last season when the two programs split the two-game season series.