LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) — The New Mexico State men’s basketball team has won eight in-a-row, but know the most difficult stretch of their schedule lies ahead.
The Aggies (13-2, 3-0 in WAC) are coming off a forfeit win against Lamar, followed by a 12-point win over UTRGV last Saturday. They will host Tarleton State on Thursday, followed by Abilene Christian on Saturday. Chris Jans, who had led NMSU to the NCAA Tournament twice out of a possible three years as the head coach (2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled), believes this year’s Aggies team has the talent to continue their current run, but admits the road gets tougher.
“We are beginning a conference race. So far, so good,” said Jans. “We have a long ways to go with a lot of games still to be played, and I think the competition will see an uptick here real soon. We are going to find out more about what we’re made of.”
NMSU has been battle-tested through non-conference play. The Aggies won four consecutive road games in the month of December, three of which were decided by three points or less, which included a three-point win over a Power Five program in Washington State on Dec. 15. Jans expects his team will have to draw from that late-game experience in the coming weeks during the heat of WAC play.
“It has been quite some time since we’ve been in a game where we are coming down the stretch and the game is going to be decided by a play or two. We are going to have a bunch of those coming up,” said Jans. “I remember saying during the postgame [press conferences] at some of those games that those finishes would benefit us later. Well, we’ll see, because it’s about to happen.”
Tip-off on Thursday against Tarleton State is at 7 p.m. at the Pan American Center. It will mark the first conference meeting between the Aggies and Texans.