LAS VEGAS, NV (KTSM) — The Aggies have their swagger back — or at least, so it appears following their 77-61 win over UTRGV in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Thursday night.
After starting the season 2-5, NMSU has reeled off four-straight wins and head coach Chris Jans believes his team is playing their best basketball of the season. It was evident when the Aggies jumped out to a first half double-digit lead that their focus over the course of the last month of the regular season has been on one thing: three days in March — punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
“Guys that were out there, most of them had been there and done that,” said NMSU head coach Chris Jans. “It’s nice to be able to rely on those guys to lead us off to a good start and they certainly did that tonight.”
NMSU has received an automatic bid to March Madness by winning seven of the last eight WAC Tournament championships and while the majority of this year’s Aggies team has yet to enjoy the success of year’s past in ‘WAC Vegas,’ the bright lights inside Orleans Arena had little affect on the new guys.
“They [NMSU’s newcomers] were comfortable,” said Jans. “They played and brought stuff to the table and we’re going to need guys like that to play bigger roles if we want to keep advancing.”
NMSU will play Utah Valley in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament on Friday night at 9 p.m. MT. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+. The Aggies split their regular season series with the Wolverines last month.