PHOENIX, AZ (KTSM) — For the second time in three days, New Mexico State gets into the win column against an NAIA program, but deeper waters await the Aggies.
Evan Gilyard and Donnie Tillman each recorded 17 points, Jabari Rice added 15 points, and Johnny McCants recorded a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds) — as the Aggies improved to 2-0 on the season with a 92-54 win over Benedictine Mesa on Tuesday night. Gilyard added seven assists while Tillman pulled down eight rebounds in the win.
Dating back to last season, NMSU has won 21-straight games, matching a program-high set back in 1937-38. While the win gets the Aggies one step closer to making history, head coach Chris Jans knows the competition is about to get much tougher.
“We’re right there, so obviously we want to etch our name in the Aggie history book,” said Jans. “Certainly the level of competition will go up real quick with the next few games we’ll play. It’ll be more difficult to extend the streak.”
On Tuesday, NMSU announced their first Division I opponent on their non-conference schedule. The Aggies will play at Arizona for the second consecutive season on Saturday, Dec. 12. Including last year’s matchup, the Wildcats have won the last six games and lead the all-time series 62-40.
As of Tuesday night, Arizona is the next opponent of NMSU’s schedule. However, Jans expects to schedule one or two additional games before the matchup.
“We are working the phones all day long. We are close,” said Jans. “I’m hopeful we’ll roll something out in 24-48 hours of lining some stuff up before Arizona. We would love to play at least one [game] and would rather play two games before we play Arizona just because the days are dwindling. There’s only 31 days left until conference play starts for most of the country.”
For now, the Aggies will continue to train at the Arizona Grand with a mindset that they will play anyone, anytime, anywhere.