EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — New Mexico State (NMSU) basketball will play their remaining “home” games at Eastwood High School, NMSU director of athletics Mario Moccia and Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) officials announced on Monday.
The Aggie men’s team will host Western Athletic Conference (WAC) foe California Baptist on Friday, Feb. 5 and again on Saturday, Feb. 6. Tip-off times are scheduled for 7 p.m. MT.
As it stands, Eastwood will host the Aggie men’s team for a total of four games (Feb. 5-6 and Feb. 19-20) as well as the Aggie women’s team for four games (Feb. 12-13 and Feb. 26-27). According to NMSU officials, no decision has been made in regards to in-person attendance.
“We found a tremendous location in Eastwood High School,” said Moccia. “Our staff, who toured their facility, were amazed not only by the aesthetics inside the bowl, but also the back-of-house infrastructure needed to host NCAA Division I teams. Julio Lopez [Eastwood High School Athletic Coordinator] and the entire school laid out the red carpet for us and Aggie Nation is very appreciative.”
Both the NMSU teams returned to Las Cruces in late January following the Jan. 20 announcement by the governor’s office allowing all collegiate teams to conduct full practices within the state of New Mexico.
While the Aggies are now able to hold practices within the state, New Mexico’s amendments to the COVID-19 Policies for Intercollegiate Athletics do not permit collegiate teams to host any games within the state of New Mexico. As a result, Aggie athletics officials met with a number of potential host sites in El Paso last week to find a suitable location to host basketball games. NMSU officials toured Eastwood and Bel Air High School, in addition to Memorial Gym on the campus of UTEP.
Last week, the NMSU men’s basketball team hosted Western New Mexico at the Don Haskins Center.
“Thanks to the community’s generous support of our bond program, the Ysleta Independent School District is fortunate to be in a position where we can accommodate New Mexico State University’s request to use the state-of-the-art athletic facilities at Eastwood High School,” said YISD superintendent of schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre. “Given that many Ysleta ISD graduates choose to attend NMSU to pursue a post-secondary education, it is our pleasure to assist the Aggies in their efforts to find a suitable venue to host athletic home games and provide a renewed sense of normalcy for their students and overall college experience,”
Boasting one of the newest and most state-of-the-art gyms in both the state of Texas and the nation, Eastwood High School’s newly-renovated 2,000-seat venue was completed just prior to the start of the 2019-20 school year. The Troopers’ dream facility started in 2015 when the YISD received a $430 million bond in 2015.