Aurrecoechea playing big for Aggies, to host Seattle U

NMSU

LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – Riding the nation’s fourth-longest active winning streak, the New Mexico State men’s basketball team returns to the Pan American Center on Thursday night to begin a three-game homestand with a WAC battle against Seattle U at 7:00 p.m.

NM STATE vs. SEATTLE U | THE SERIES
Overall vs. Seattle U | 17-3 (.850)
In Las Cruces, N.M. | 8-0 (1.000)
At the Pan Am Center | 8-0 (1.000)
In Seattle, Wash. | 6-3 (.667)
At the Redhawk Center | 6-3 (.667)
At neutral sites | 3-0 (1.000)
Last meeting | NM State 75, at SU 67 | 1.18.20
Last NMSU win | 1.18.20 | 75-67
Last NMSU home win | 2.16.19 | 59-53
Last NMSU road win | 1.18.20 | 75-67
Last SU win | 2.17.18 | 73-63 (OT)
Last SU home win | 2.17.18 | 73-63 (OT)
Last SU road win | none
Largest margin of victory (NMSU) | 33 | 86-53 on 2.25.17
Largest margin of defeat (NMSU) | 10 | 73-63 on 2.17.18
Current Streak | NMSU won four
Last five games | 4-1 (.800)
Last five home games | 5-0 (1.000)
Last five away games | 4-1 (.800)
Last 10 games | 9-1 (.900)
Last 10 home games | 8-0 (1.000)
Last 10 away games | 6-3 (.667)
NM State points | average | 1,506 | 75.3
SU points | average | 1,312 | 65.6
NMSU scoring margin | +9.7
Jans vs. Seattle U | 5-1 (.833)
At the Pan Am Center | 2-0 (1.000)
At the Redhawk Center | 2-1 (.667)
Jans vs. Hayford | 5-1 (.833)
Hayford vs. NM State | 1-5 (.167)
NMSU all-time on 2.13 | 18-15 (.545)

LET’S TALK TWENTY
• When they hit the court against the Redhawks Thursday night, the Aggies will be gunning for win number 20 on the year. NM State has reached the 20-win mark in each of the last eight seasons – the longest streak of 20-win seasons in the history of the program. 
• NM State has won 20 or more games in a season 32 times in the history of the program. 
• Third-year head coach Chris Jans is seeking to become the first coach in NM State history to win 20 or more games in each of his first three seasons in charge.

GETTING DEFENSIVE
• Point prevention has been a point of emphasis for the Aggies through the entire 2019-20 season, but since WAC play started NM State has taken its defense to another level. 
• The Aggies possess the nation’s seventh-best scoring defense, letting up just 59.8 points per game. 
• During NM State’s 13-game winning streak, only three opponents have succeeded in reaching or exceeding 65 points.

THE UPPER CRUST
• NM State currently ranks among the top 50 teams in all of NCAA Division I men’s basketball in a multitude of statistical categories. 
• Scoring defense | 7th | 59.8 opp. ppg
• Rebound margin | 16th | +7.2
• Winning percentage | 26th | .760
• Scoring margin | 27th | +10.9
• 3FG made | 30th | 224
• 3FG attempts | 38th | 637
• 3FG per game | 40th | 9.0

WAC FACTS
• New Mexico State is the only squad in the nine-team WAC who has not suffered a league loss in 2019-20. 
• The Aggies own a three-game lead for the top spot in the WAC standings with six regular season games remaining. 
• With an 10-0 mark in WAC action, the Aggies are one of just five teams from around the nation who have not fell in league action yet. Other squads in that group include Baylor (Big 12), Dayton (A-10), Gonzaga (WCC) and San Diego State (Mountain West).
• The Aggies’ 19 total wins are the most in the league – one more than California Baptist’s total of 18 on the season. 
• Since Jans and company took over in Las Cruces prior to the start of the 2017-18 season, New Mexico State owns a 37-3 (.925) record in WAC games. Only Gonzaga (44-1, .978) out of the West Coast Conference (WCC) has a higher in-conference winning percentage through that same span. Vermont (38-4, .905) is just behind with NM State for the third-highest in-league winning percentage since 2017-18 while Virginia (41-8, .837) ranks fourth. 

LET’S GO STREAKING
• The Aggies’ dominance in the WAC as of late has resulted in any number of impressive winning streaks for the squad. 
• NM State’s current 13-game winning streak is the fourth-longest among all NCAA Division I squads at the moment. 
• Dating back to last season, the Aggies have won 28 consecutive games against WAC opposition – the nation’s longest active run against league foes. 
• In regular season WAC tilts, NM State has reeled off 25 consecutive triumphs – the longest streak in the history of the league and the second-longest active run in the nation. Only Gonzaga (38 consecutive regular season WCC wins) owns a longest streak.
• NM State has won each of their last six road games – a streak that’s the sixth-longest in the nation at the moment. 
• Inside their home venue of the Pan Am Center, the Aggies have racked up 21-straight triumphs over WAC opposition. That’s the nation’s second-longest winning streak in conference home games bettered only by South Dakota State’s 25 consecutive home victories over Summit League adversaries. 
• NM State has won its last 13 WAC road games. Among all other NCAA Division I squads, only Gonzaga (38 games) has put forth a longer winning streak in conference road games.

THE SPANIARD AND THE TEXAN
• Ever since senior guard and NM State’s leading scorer Trevelin Queen had surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus on Tuesday, Jan. 21, each of the remaining Aggies on the roster has stepped up substantially to replace the production lost by Queen’s absence. 
• Two of the best who have done so are senior forward Ivan Aurrecoechea and redshirt sophomore guard Jabari Rice. In the five games since Queen’s absence – a stretch where the Aggies are 5-0, by the way – each has contributed heavily in a big way. 
• Through that span, Aurrecoechea is averaging 17.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting a team-best 62.7-percent from the field. Rice, meanwhile, is adding 14.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per outing while putting up shooting splits of .489/.440/.824 through that same stretch.
• Rice has been playing a team-leading 30.2 minutes per game over the last five and is an important part of the Aggies’ defensive effort, too. NM State is yielding just 56.2 points per game to the opposition over its last five outings. 

BITTEN BY THE BUG
• A program that has been defined by its depth ever since head coach Chris Jans set foot in Las Cruces, N.M., that depth has been tested this season due to a rash of ill-timed injuries. 
• Heading into Thursday’s game, Terrell Brown, A.J. Harris, Clayton Henry, Dajour Joseph, Wilfried Likayi, Trevelin Queen and Jabari Rice have missed a combined 95 games due to various injuries. Harris, Henry and Likayi will be sidelined for the remainder of the season and, unfortunately, the Aggies received more bad news on Wednesday, Jan. 22 regarding Queen. 
• A senior from Glen Burnie, Md., Queen – the team’s leading scorer and rebounder  – will miss the next 4-6 weeks while recovering from successful surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus. Queen went down awkwardly while contesting a shot in the Aggies’ win at Utah Valley on Thurday, Jan. 16, but returned to the game minutes later. In his team’s win over Seattle U last Saturday, Queen came through with 10 points and six rebounds in 14 minutes of action. 

JANS THE MAN
• With the Aggies’ win over CSU Bakersfield on Thursday, Jan. 30, NM State has produced winning streak of 10 or more games in each of the last four seasons. Third-year head coach Chris Jans has reeled off 10 or more consecutive in each of his seasons in Las Cruces, making him the first NM State head coach to produce double-digit winning streaks in three consecutive seasons. 
• January in Las Cruces goes by a different name: Jans-uary. Since he took over at New Mexico State, third-year head coach Chris Jans is 20-1 (.952) as the Aggies’ bench boss in the month. For his career, Jans owns a 26-4 (.867) record in the month. That’s the second-highest winning percentage in the month of January by an active NCAA Division I head coach and only Gonzaga’s Mark Few (.896) possesses a better winning percentage in the month. 
• Jans is just two wins away from reaching an even 100 for his NCAA Division I head coaching career. 
• In games decided by five or fewer points, Jans is 17-7 (.708) in his tenure at New Mexico State. Overall, his record in games of that configuration stands at 24-12 (.667) as an NCAA Division I head coach. 
• In games decided by 10 or fewer points, Jans is 29-13 (.690) in his tenure at New Mexico State. Overall, his record in games of that configuration stands at 40-20 (.667) as an NCAA Division I head coach. 
• Jans possesses an impressive 39-3 (.929) record in games played inside the Pan Am Center as the Aggies’ head coach.
• Dating back to the 2017-18 season, Jans has won 13 consecutive games in the month of February. In his head coaching career at the NCAA Division I level, Jans has gone 22-4 (.846) in that month.

FEBRUARY FUN
• Since 2014, the Aggies own the nation’s fourth-highest winning percentage in the month of February. 
1. Vermont (42-6) .875 
2. Gonzaga (44-7) .862
3. Wichita State (42-8) .840 
4. NM State (37-8) .822

5. Kansas (42-10) .808 
6. Villanova (39-13) .750

LAST TIME OUT vs. SEATTLE U | JAN. 18, 2020
• Facing a double-digit deficit at the midway point of the opening stanza, the Aggies battled back to tie things up at the half and took control in the late stages of the deciding frame to earn a 75-67 victory over Seattle U. 
• Ivan Aurrecoechea (19 points, 11 rebounds) and Jabari Rice (17 points, 11 rebounds) led the way for the Aggies in the win with the latter draining a big-time three-pointer with 2:05 left that pushed NM State’s lead to 69-64. 
• Through the last 1:25, Terrell Brown and Rice went a combined 6-of-6 from the foul line to seal the deal for the Aggies. In that same span, Seattle U went 0-for-4 from the field and committed the last of its nine turnovers to help NM State’s cause. 
• In what would prove to be his last game before having surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus, senior Trevelin Queen finished with 10 points and scored all of the Aggies’ points during a 7-2 run to open the second half. 
• By overcoming their 11-point deficit in the first half, the Aggies posted their largest come-from-behind win of the season. 
• Getting to the free throw line early and often helped NM State win the day, too. The Aggies generated 34.7-percent of their point total from the charity stripe in the victory.
• A 35-23 edge on the glass helped NM State own a 15-7 edge in second-change points over the Redhawks. Four of the Aggies’ nine offensive boards in the victory went to Queen. 
• The win was the Aggies’ third in a row over the Redhawks and helped NM State remain the league’s lone team without a WAC setback.

LAST TIME OUT | at KANSAS CITY | FEB. 8, 2020
• After trailing at the half for just the second time in 2020, the Aggies relied on the inside play of Ivan Aurrecoechea and netted 40 points over the final 20 minutes to claim a 67-61 come-from-behind victory over Kansas City Saturday night. 
• Aurrecoechea matched his career high by pouring in a game-best 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting to pace NM State. 
• Jabari Rice added 13 while Terrell Brown chipped in 10 to extend the Aggies’ winning streak to 13 games – the fifth-longest in the history of the program. 
• After being held scoreless through the opening frame, Johnny McCants netted nine points in the final stanza and helped the Aggies hold off a late charge by the Roos when he caught a full-court pass from Shunn Buchanan and laid it up and in to push his team’s lead to 66-59 with 25 seconds to go. 
• With the win, NM State moved to 15-1 all-time against Kansas City and extended its winning streak over the Roos to 15 consecutive games. 

SCOUTING SEATTLE U | ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS
• Armed with the WAC’s leading scorer in guard Terrell Brown (20.2 ppg), the Redhawks glide into the Pan Am Center hoping to string together back-to-back league victories for the first time since mid-January. 
• Brown owns the nation’s 29th-best scoring average and leads all WAC players in terms of field goal attempts (446, third nationally), field goals made (181, 15th nationally), total points (479, 26th nationally), free throw attempts (136, 57th nationally) and free throws made (104, 59th nationally). 
• Along with Brown, the Redhawks rely heavily on the play of Myles Carter (9.1 ppg) and Morgan Means (12.0 ppg) to get the job done. Carter represents the team’s top rebounding threat with his WAC-leading mark of 7.1 per game and has four double-doubles to his credit this year – another top WAC mark. Means, meanwhile, leads the WAC in free throw percentage (89.5) and is one of three Seattle U players who have hit 25 or more three-pointers this year. 
• Ball security remains one of the most important things to the Redhawks’ success. Seattle U ranks 13th in the nation by committing just 10.8 turnovers per game and their 260 total turnovers are the 16th-fewest in college basketball. 
• Few teams in the nation get to the foul line at the rate the Redhawks do. Seattle U is tops in the WAC in both free throws attempted (546) and free throws made (419). Those figures put then 32nd and ninth respectively among all NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams. 
• Seattle U head coach Jim Hayford owns the distinction of being one of just two current WAC bench bosses who have defeated Chris Jans (California Baptist’s Rick Croy is the other). 

COMING UP NEXT
• Continuing their longest stretch of home games of the year, NM State returns to the Pan Am Center Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. for a WAC confrontation with Utah Valley. In attendance for that game will by the nine living members of NM State’s 1969-70 Final Four team and they will be recognized at halftime with a banner raising ceremony. 

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