The New Mexico State men’s basketball team is set to begin the second-half of league play this weekend with a pair of critical road games beginning with CSU Bakersfield this Thursday, Feb. 7, at 8 p.m. (MT).
Vance Palm will have the call on Thursday night’s game with Greg Kerr serving as the analyst on the ESPN3 broadcast.
WHERE TO WATCH
Aggie fans that can’t make it to Thursday’s contest can catch the game by listening to NM State Athletics/US Bank Hall of Famer Jack Nixon on 99.5 Zia Country and affiliate stations on the Aggie Sports Network listed below or via TuneIn.
103.7 FM KNMZ
1150 AM KNMM
1240 AM KAMQ
1380 AM KHEY
1230 AM, 94.9 FM KYVA
107.1 FM KMDS
IN THE NATION
Through games on Feb. 4, NM State is ranked 7th in the country rebounding margin (8.7) and its offensive rebounds per game (13.23) checks in at No. 21 in the nation while its NET ranking of 64 is best amongst WAC teams. The Aggies are just outside the top-25 in scoring margin (12.3), checking in at No. 27 while its .818 winning-percentage is tied for 17th in the nation.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
With conference play halfway through, here’s how some of the Aggies stack up against the rest of the league…
ROLLING IN THE DEEP
Through games on Feb. 3, NM State leads the nation with games where 12-plus players have registered 10 or more minutes. The Aggies have also had 10-plus players register 10 or more minutes in a game in half of their games (11).
Players with 10+ mins
New Mexico State
New Mexico State
San José State
San José State
North Carolina A&T
New Mexico State
North Dakota State
RETURN OF THE CHUHA
Redshirt senior Eli Chuha is starting to return to form heading into the heart of WAC play, putting up numbers close to his sophomore season where he was named second-team all-league.
In his last five games, Chuha is averaging 11.2 points and 7.8 rebounds with a deadly .724 shooting clip. In his redshirt sophomore campaign, Chuha averaged 12.4 points and 8.9 rebounds for the Aggies as it clinched the WAC Tournament title and the program’s 20th NCAA Tournament appearance.
With 21 career double-doubles through 22 games this season, Chuha is ranked 29th amongst active players as well.
KEEPING AN EYE ON THE RUNNERS
Heading into Thursday’s match-up NM State has won four-straight against the CSU Bakersfield, but have gone 1-1 the last two seasons against the ‘Runners on the road. The Runners are 15-7 overall on the season and 6-2 in league play after falling to Grand Canyon at home last Saturday. CSUB had won four-straight before Saturday’s loss and have now won seven of its last 10 games.
New Mexico State is 16-2 all-time against the Runners and 4-1 when playing on the road heading into Thursday’s game.
Jarkel Joiner leads all players with 15.1 points per game while Rickey Holden and Damiyne Durham check in at 10.9 points per game and 10.7 points per game, respectively. James Suber paces the team on the glass, pulling down 7.6 rebounds per game. Holden’s 97 assists is good for the team lead while four players have registered 20-plus steals and led by Taze Moore’s 28.
From a shooting standpoint, Suber’s .649 clip is best amongst CSUB while Durham has made a team-high 50 shots from downtown.
Since the start of WAC play Joiner has boosted his play, averaging 18.5 points and 3.3 boards. However, Joiner has been playing even better in the last five games for CSUB – averaging 22.0 points while shooting a .538 clip from the floor.
LAST TIME OUT
The Aggies wrap up the first-half of league action 7-1 after last Saturday’s dominating win and moved to 18-4 overall. The 7-1 mark tied them with Grand Canyon for the league lead midway through league play.
The last time NM State held an opponent under 40 at home was against Northern New Mexico on Dec. 22, 2014 (78-39) while the most recent time occurred on the road against Utah Valley (51-38) on Feb. 19, 2015.
Like the UMKC game, NM State got off to a quick start thanks to 3-point shooting. AJ Harris got things going for the Aggies while Clayton Henry sandwiched a lay-in with a pair of threes for the 11-3 at the 15:58 media break.
NM State’s offensive onslaught didn’t stop there as four other Aggies joined in on the 3-point barrage that led to the 46-21 lead at halftime. NM State saw 12-of-14 players that saw the floor score in the first half while seven of those 12 drained at least one 3-pointer before heading into the break 10-of-20 from deep.
The second-half didn’t offer much of a difference in outcome as NM State drilled 15-of-31 (48.4%) shots from the floor as a team while holding Chicago State (3-20, 0-8 WAC) to just 7-of-30 (23.3%) en route to a 44-point victory.
NM State will remain on the road and head to the Valley of the Sun for a 7 p.m. (MT) showdown with Grand Canyon on Saturday, Feb. 9, on ESPN3. Should the Aggies win on Thursday against CSUB, Saturday’s game could have league title implications.
The Aggies return home for a four-game homestand, beginning with a meeting against Utah Valley on Thursday, Feb. 14, on Valentine’s Day. NM State then entertains Seattle U on Saturday, Feb. 16, for its Pack the Pan Am game. Both games are slated to tip-off at 7 p.m. (MT) in the Pan American Center and televised nationally.