EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) — In a game that didn’t officially come together until two hours before tip-off, the New Mexico State men’s basketball team will face Western New Mexico at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso on Monday.
The game will tip off at 4 p.m. and air on Fox Sports Arizona, the WAC Digital Network, and other networks across multiple providers. Per an athletic department official, no fans will be permitted.
NMSU did not officially announce the game until 2 hours and 9 minutes before tip-off, though the game had been placed on the WAC’s online schedule, as well as WNMU’s website on Sunday evening.
The Aggies are returning to action for the first time since Dec. 28, when NMSU lost on the road to CSU-Northridge, 66-63. NMSU went on pause due to cases of COVID-19 on Jan. 4 and were unable to practice until Saturday, Jan. 23.
New Mexico State spent much of the last two months living, practicing, taking classes and playing games in Phoenix, Ariz., due to COVID-19 regulations in New Mexico that barred them from playing or practicing.
Last week, governor Michelle Lujan Grisham eased restrictions slightly, allowing NMSU to return to Las Cruces, where they can hold practices; however, the current regulations do not allow games to be played in the Land of Enchantment, meaning that for now, NMSU will still be playing all of its games outside Las Cruces.
NMSU Director of Athletics Mario Moccia told KTSM last week that the Aggies are eyeing playing their “home” games in El Paso, and Monday’s game at the Don Haskins Center could be a sign of what’s to come. NMSU is paying UTEP around $5,000 in rental fees to host the game in El Paso.
New Mexico State is scheduled to open WAC play Jan. 29-30 on the road at Grand Canyon in Phoenix, Ariz. The Aggies are 2-1 on the season.