Aggies set to host North Dakota State

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The dawn of a new basketball season begins Tuesday, Nov. 6, inside the Pan American Center as New Mexico State head men’s basketball coach Chris Jans and the Aggie men’s basketball begin their march towards another NCAA Tournament berth with a 7:30 p.m. (MT) tip-off against North Dakota State in The Summit League/WAC Challenge to open the 2018-19 campaign.

Adam Young (@youngpbp) will have the call alongside former Lou Henson assistant Rus Bradburd on the broadcast.

WHERE TO WATCH

Aggie fans can catch the game on several stations including FOX Sports Arizona Plus as well as FOX College Sports Pacific (delayed). In addition, fans with a paid cable subscription can catch the action anywhere on the go through their mobile device using the FOX Sports GO App on both Apple and Android platforms. 

Fans can also stream the game through Twitch.tv on the Eleven Sports NEXT channel

FOX Sports Arizona PLUS (LIVE)

DISH: SD – 441, HD – 9579 | DISH Hopper: 412-29 | DTV: 686-1

FOX College Sports Pacific (DELAY – Midnight)

DTV: 608 | Comcast Xfinity: 262 | AT&T U-verse: 647

DOUBLE THE PLEASURE, DOUBLE THE FUN

To kick open the 2018-19 basketball season New Mexico State will host a doubleheader on Tuesday, Nov. 6, inside the Pan American Center. The NM State women’s basketball team, winners of four-straight Western Athletic Conference regular-season championships, entertain UT Permian Basin at 5 p.m. (MT) before the Aggie men’s basketball team welcomes North Dakota State to the Pan Am Center for The Summit League/WAC Challenge at 7:30 p.m. 

GET CONNECTED

Get up to the minute information and news about the NM State men’s basketball team all season long on Twitter and Instagram by following @NMStateMBB and on Facebook at FB.com/NMStateMBB.

LISTEN UP!

Aggie fans that can’t make it to the home and season-opener can catch the game by listening to NM State Athletics/US Bank Hall of Famer Jack Nixon and former Aggie Justin Hawkins on 99.5 Zia Country and affiliate stations on the Aggie Sports Network listed below or via TuneIn.

Alamogordo                       103.7 FM KNMZ

Albuquerque                      1150 AM KNMM

Carlsbad                               1240 AM KAMQ

El Paso                                  1380 AM KHEY

Gallup                                   1230 AM, 94.9 FM KYVA

Las Vegas                             107.1 FM KMDS

THE BIG 5-0

The 2017-18 campaign serves as the 50th anniversary since the Pan American Center was built in 1968-69 and has since been home to the NM State men’s basketball team. To celebrate, the NM State marketing department created a special edition posters that includes an image from the construction of the building.

PROECT THIS HOUSE

New Mexico State is 619-153 (.802) all-time inside the Pan American Center and has gone 138-23 the last 10 years at home (not including the 2018-19 season). NM State has not lost more than two games on its home floor, since 2011-12 when it dropped three games on Lou Henson Court.

New Mexico State begins the 2018-19 campaign with a dominant 102-11 (.903) record on Lou Henson Court dating back to the 2011-12 season. The Aggies will get 17 chances at home this season to improve that record and continue the success on the parquet floors.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Heading into Tuesday’s home and season-opener, here’s how the Aggies have fared throughout the years in their first game…

Season-Openers: 68-42-1

Home-Openers: 82-27-1

Season/Home Opener was the Same Game: 55-18-1

The Aggie men have won four-straight home-openers and seven of their last eight. Only loss during that stretch came against Western Michigan in 2013. The only year NM State didn’t have a home-opener was during the 1907-08 campaign. 

TOP OF HIS CLASS

Head coach Chris Jans’ 28-6 overall mark and .824 winning-percentage was best among first-year head coaches and first-year head coaches at a new school last season. 

MEET THE NEWCOMERS

With just five players returning from last year’s historic run, Coach Jans and his staff scoured the country once again and finished with 10 new players. In addition, the Aggies had two new members join them on staff with James Miller and Sean McClurg taking over duties for Lou Gudino and Jordan Sperber, respectively. 

Of the 10, four will redshirt during the 2018-19 season and of the four, one is sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules. The Aggies will also get the services of JoJo Zamora, Jabari Rice, C.J. Bobbitt and Robert Brown, who redshirted last season.

Freshman Berrick JeanLouis comes to NM State as a three-star recruit according to 247Sports.com after spending his last two prep seasons at Canterbury School. There, he led the Cougars to the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 3A finals as a senior after an undefeated run in District 6 play (14-0) before finishing with a 21-6 overall record. He was also named The News-Press Male Athlete of the Year at the Annual Southwest Florida Sports Award after averaging 17.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.3 blocks. 

JUCO transfer Terrell Brown is set to make his Aggie debut this season after leading City College of San Francisco to its second California Community College Athletic Association championship in three years. The junior was named the Coast Conference-North MVP and also earned CCCAA All-State Championship Tournament Team honors after leading CCSF to a 33-1 overall record and undefeated mark in conference play (12-0). The 6-1 guard averaged 15.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting 50.3-percent from the floor and 47.3-percent from beyond the arc.

The Canadian pipeline continues for NM State with Clayton Henry. The JUCO transfer from Palm Beach State College averaged 10.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a sophomore with the Panthers. Henry tallied seven double-doubles that year, including a triple-double against Miami Dade with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on 10-of-19 shooting. As a freshman, the Calgary, Canada, product heled guide Palm Beach State College to a 25-6 overall record and participated in the Southeastern JUCO Jamboree and All-American Jamboree.

Ivan Aurrecoechea, a top-10 ranked JUCO player when he signed with the Aggies, led Indian Hills Community College to its fifth-consecutive National Junior College Athletic Associational National Championship appearance and finished 33-1 on the year – which was a program best in wins. The 6-8 forward earned Iowa Community College Athletic Conference All-Region First-Team for the second-straight year after averaging a double-double with 13.1 points and 11.5 rebounds with a .592 shooting clip. Aurrecoechea tallied 17 double-doubles while pulling down 10-plus boards in 19 games.

Addison Wallace was highly touted coming out of Cleburne High School where he guided the team’s resurgence into relevancy with its first playoff appearance in eight years as a junior. The 6-3 guard wrapped up his high school career leading CHS to a 22-12 overall mark while averaging 24.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.3 blocks as a senior. Wallace named District 9-5A MVP as a junior and senior while garnering all-district honors his entire prep career – including Johnson County MVP honors as a junior. The Cleburne, Texas, native also excelled in the classroom, owning the third-highest GPA in his graduating class and is a member of the National Honor Society as well as the Beta Club.

Last but not least is Mohamed Thiam, who is a JUCO transfer from Marshalltown Community College. The 6-9 forward had a breakout sophomore campaign, averaging 19.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists while leading Marshalltown CC to another National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament appearance. The sixth-ranked JUCO player according to JucoRecruiting.com garnered NJCAA Third-Team All-American accolades for his efforts as well as First-team All-Region XI honors this past season. He opened last season with 13-straight games with double-digit scoring and finished the season with 16-straight contests in double-figures.

AGGIES AWAIT HERD OF BISON

North Dakota State makes the journey to Las Cruces for the first meeting ever between the Aggies and Bison this Tuesday, Nov. 6, to kick off the 2018-19 college basketball season. The Bison went 15-17 overall in 2017-18 and 5-9 in Summit League play under fifth year head coach David Richman – who is a double graduate of NDSU. The Bison return two starters as well as six letter winners while adding six newcomers. 

NDSU was picked to finish fifth in the league in the preseason poll. Tyson Ward, the Bison’s lead returning scorer was named to the Preseason All-Summit League Second-Team after averaging 11.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 2017-18. The other Bison starter returning is Cameron Hunter, a 6-3 guard that averaged 9.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists. 

Of the six newcomers for North Dakota State, Jordan horn was deem eligible to play immediately for the Bison by the NCAA via a waiver after transferring from Siena. The 6-2 guard averaged 7.9 points for the Saints and knocked down 48 threes last season.

Prior to Tuesday’s season-opener NDSU took on Concordia-Moorhead in an exhibition match that it won handedly 81-49 at the Scheels Center. Freshman guard Sam Griesel led all scorers with 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting, five rebounds and three assists. Tyree Eady, Jaxon, Knotek and Deng Geu each had 10 points apiece in the exhibition victory. The Bison were comfortable at home, knocking down 57.8-percent of their shots and 50-percent from deep. 

SUMMIT LEAGUE/WAC CHALLENGE

The first season of a two-year deal between the WAC and Summit League that’ll pit teams from each conference against another begins this season. The Challenge features head-to-head competition between all nine teams. Matchups were set based upon factors including the previous year’s achievements, records and RPI rankings, as well as projected rankings in the upcoming season. Those teams with home games in 2018 will play on the road in 2019 and vice versa. In addition, teams won’t face the same opponent in back-to-back years.

2018-19 Matchups

Nov. 6           Grand Canyon at South Dakota State

Nov. 6           North Dakota State at NM State

Nov. 13        California Baptist at Oral Roberts

Dec. 1            Kansas City at Purdue Fort Wayne

Dec. 1            CSU Bakersfield at South Dakota

Dec. 1            Denver at Utah Valley

Dec. 5            North Dakota at UT Rio Grande Valley

Dec. 6            Omaha at Seattle U

Dec. 20         Chicago State at Western Illinois

2019-20 Matchups

                        South Dakota at California Baptist

                        South Dakota State at CSU Bakersfield

                        Oral Roberts at Chicago State

                        Purdue Fort Wayne at Grand Canyon

                        Western Illinois at Kansas City

                        NM State at Denver

                        Seattle U at North Dakota

                        UT Rio Grande Valley at Omaha

                        Utah Valley at North Dakota State

#WACVEGAS

For the ninth-consecutive year, the Western Athletic Conference Tournament returns to Orleans Arena (March 14-16). Fans interested in catching all the action in #WACvegas can book their hotel rooms in advance via phone by calling 1-800-675-3267 or book online at www.orleanscasino.com/groups and using the code A9WAC03.

Since joining the Western Athletic Conference, New Mexico State has enjoyed great success, winning eight of the 13 conference tournaments it has played in – including four-straight from 2012-15.

The Aggies are 29-5 all-time at the WAC Tournament, good the most victories in conference tournament history. Its .853 winning-percentage is the best amongst WAC Tournament teams with a winning record.

UP NEXT

New Mexico State remains home for the second game of a three-game homestand to open the year as it plays host to Battle of I-10 rival UTEP at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9. For tickets, visit the Pan American Center, by calling 575-646-1420 or online via Ticketmaster.

LOFTON SIGNS TWO-WAY CONTRACT WITH PISTONS

Former Aggie guard Zach Lofton signed a two-way contract with the Detroit Pistons after a impressing the front office at the NBA Summer League and training camp. Lofton averaged 10.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.0 assists in six games for the Pistons, including a 21 point performance against the Los Angeles Lakers in the quarterfinals of NBA Summer League Playoffs.

A couple days after signing his two-way contract, Lofton saw action in the Detroit Piston’s opening-night roster. The 6-4 guard made his NBA debut that night and started the second quarter for Detroit and registered a steal.

Lofton had a tremendous debut with the Grand Rapids Drive, the G League affiliate for the Detroit Pistons, on opening night. The St. Paul, Minn., native was an assist shy of a triple-double in his G League debut, posting 26 points on 10-of-23 shooting with 11 rebounds and nine assists along with four steals. 

#SUPERJJ SIGNS WITH SOUTH BAY LAKERS

Former NM State All-American Jemerrio Jones was selected No. 18 overall by the Santa Cruz Warriors in the 2018 G League Draft before being traded to the South Bay Lakers. The 6-5 forward made his pro debut with the South Bay Lakers on Saturday, Nov. 3, posting five points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

#PROAGGIES

New Mexico State men’s basketball has 16 former players who are currently playing professional basketball around the world. The list is highlighted by 2016 NBA first rounder Pascal Siakam and 2018 undrafted free-agent Zach Lofton. When Lofton entered the game on opening night in the second quarter, he and Pascal became the first pair of Aggies to play on opening-night of the NBA since Randy Brown (CHI) and Reggie Jordan (MIN) did so in 1997. For a complete list of Aggies playing professional around the world, fans can visit www.nmstatesports.com/proaggies

ATHLETIC PROWESS

At the end of last season, New Mexico State was one of 13 schools with 28 wins in 2017-18, joining Virginia, Cincinnati, Gonzaga, Villanova, Michigan State, Loyola Chicago, Saint Mary’s, Xavier, Purdue, Stephen F. Austin, South Dakota State and Michigan. 

Of those 13 teams, ONLY New Mexico State (Arizona Bowl), Michigan State (Holiday) and Purdue (Foster Farms Bowl) had their football program win a bowl game while their men’s basketball team posted 28 wins on the season.

WAC BLUE BLOODS

Since joining the Western Athletic Conference, New Mexico State has enjoyed great success, winning eight of the 13 conference tournaments it has played in – including four-straight from 2012-15.

The Aggies are 29-5 all-time at the WAC Tournament, giving them the most victories in conference tournament history and passed Battle of I-10 rival UTEP (27-15). Its .853 winning-percentage is the best amongst WAC Tournament teams with a winning record.

VIVA LAS VEGAS!

New Mexico State is now 18-2 all-time when playing at Orleans Arena after last season and 29-5 all-time in the WAC Tournament – including an 11-0 stretch where the aggies won four-straight WAC Tournament titles (2012-15). The two losses for NM State in Las Vegas came in the first year the tournament was moved to Sin City when it lost to the second-seeded Broncos of Boise State in the semifinals while playing as the No. 3 seed. NM State’s other loss came in 2016 to CSU Bakersfield in the championships game on a buzzer beater.

ONE TIME FOR THE ONE TIME

With its resounding 82-58 win over UMKC in the Pan American Center on senior day last year coupled with a Utah Valley loss, New Mexico State clinched the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title for the third time in four years. Other than the three the Aggies had won since the 2014-15 season, the last time NM State won a regular-season title outright was when it captured the Big West Conference back-to-back years from 1992-94.

Chris Jans also became the only first-year head coach in program history to win a regular-season conference title outright last season. Former Aggie head coach Marvin Menzies shared the WAC regular-season title his first year at the helm. 

TITLETOWN USA

New Mexico State wrapped up its 10th WAC Tournament Championship appearance since joining the conference in the 2005-06 season with a 72-58 victory over Grand Canyon this past March. The Aggies moved 8-2 when playing in tournament title games, losing only in 2008 and 2016. NM State also played in its seventh-straight championship game, it last missed out on the title match in 2011. Counting last season’s championship game, NM State has played in the title match 10-of-13 years since joining the league. In addition, the WAC Tournament MVP has come from NM State eight of the last 13 seasons after Jemerrio Jones was crowned the tournament MVP in 2018.

WAC DOMINANCE CONTINUES

After a successful 2017-18 regular-season campaign, New Mexico State head coach Chris Jans was named the Western Athletic Conference Don Haskins Coach of the Year. He became the first WAC men’s head coach since Nevada’s Mark Fox (2004-05) to win coach of the year honors in his first season at the helm. Jemerrio Jones’ WAC Player of the Year honor made it three-straight for New Mexico State. It was also the fourth time an Aggie has been named the league’s top player in five years. 

The Aggies posted a 25-5 overall mark in the regular-season and 12-2 record in conference play under his direction. The 12-2 record in the WAC gave NM Sate its third regular-season title in four years outright and is the second-best record in conference play since joining the WAC. In addition, Jans guided the Aggies to their first win over an AP top-10 ranked opponent since 1990 when NM State defeated then-No. 6/7 Miami 63-54 in the semifinal game of the 2017 Hawaii Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

CONFERENCE POWERHOUSE

Heading into the 2018-19 season, New Mexico State has finished in the top-three in conference play for 13-straight years, which ranks them fifth in the nation and trails only Gonzaga (22), Kansas (19), Belmont (17) and BYU (14).

                                                                                Last Non Top-3 Consecutive Top-3

  1.        School                         Conference Finish         Conference Finishes    
  1.             Gonzaga                               1996-97                               22          
  2.             Kansas                                  1999-2000                          19          
  3.             Belmont                               2001-02                               17          
  4.             BYU                                        2004-05                               14          
  5.             New Mexico State            2005-06                               13          
  6.             Vermont                              2007-08                               11          
  7.             Wichita State                      2008-09                               10          
  8.             Texas Southern                 2009-10                               9            
  9.             Stephen F. Austin             2010-11                               7            

**Does not include top 3 division finishes. In case of divisions, moves to top 3 overall conference records among both divisions. Includes ties in league standings.

RIVALRY REWIND

Head coach Chris Jans became the only first-year head coach in New Mexico State basketball history to sweep both New Mexico and UTEP last season. The win also gave NM State its first victory in Albuquerque since 2013. The last time NM State swept both the Lobos and Miners was during the 2002-03 season under legendary head coach Lou Henson. That was also the last time the Aggies claimed three-straight wins against UNM. The last NM State first-year head coach to sweep the Lobos was Weldon Drew (1979-80).

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