LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – New Mexico State (9-14, 2-9 WAC) men’s basketball is coming off a big week where they strung together a pair of wins in Western Athletic Conference play.
On Wednesday (Feb. 1), NMSU grabbed their first win in league play and snapped a 9-game losing streak. Three days later, NMSU secured a second straight win as they beat Seattle U, 82-75. Both games were played at the Pan American Center and now the Aggies are hoping they can pull off the same result on the road.
“Well now we got to get the monkey off the back for a road win. I think that’s the focal point going into Wednesday is we don’t have a road win in conference play,” NM State head coach Greg Heiar said. “So, we have to have a different dominant type of mindset of going into a hostile environment, a rival game, but more importantly, we got to get our first road win.”
New Mexico State has yet to win a WAC game away from the Pan American Center this season. NMSU is 0-5 in away games in WAC play this season.
The Aggies will aim to grab their first road win this season when they take on Grand Canyon University (15-8, 6-4 WAC) on Wednesday at GCU Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.
Whether you call it a rivalry or not, both teams are prepared for an intense match-up in their first meeting of the season.
“It would be a huge win because of the rivalry, because of the environment, and because we have not won on the road in conference play,” Heiar said. “We have to have that type of grit, hunger, and fight mentality every single possession.”
Grand Canyon is 15-8 overall and 6-4 in WAC play so far this season. The Lopes are coming off an 86-83 win against Stephen F. Austin at GCU Arena on Saturday (Feb. 4). GCU has been dominant at home as they currently have an 11-2 record when playing at GCU Arena this season.
Ray Harrison is the team’s leading scorer as he averages 16.9 points per game. Gabe McGlothan is the second leading scorer as he averages 10.7 points per game. Chance McMillian is the other player that is averaging double figures in scoring as he averages 10.0 points per game.
GCU has been without one of their best players for their last eight games and it’ll stay like that for the rest of the season.
Jovan Blacksher Jr. injured his right knee in a game at Sam Houston (Jan. 5) on a dribble drive in the first half. A magnetic resonance imaging test revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament that will require surgery and several months of rehabilitation, per GCU Athletics.
Grand Canyon has gone 4-4 since losing Blacksher.
Grand Canyon will be the first task at hand for New Mexico State in the squad’s two-game road trip. GCU and NMSU will face each other for the first time this 2022-23 season on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at GCU Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+.
After the GCU game, New Mexico State will make the trip to Riverside, California for a rematch against California Baptist at the CBU Events Center on Saturday, Feb. 11. The last time NMSU and CBU squared off, the Aggies fell 70-61 at the Pan American Center on Jan. 7.