Aggies play for top spot in WAC standings, Thursday; Take on Utah Valley in Orem, Utah
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  02/24/2014

LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico State University men’s basketball team continues on the road as the Aggies take on the Utah Valley Wolverines, Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. (MT) in Orem, Utah. The game airs on the radio in Las Cruces on KGRT 104 FM with “Voice of the Aggies” Jack Nixon giving the play-by-play. Live stats are available online at www.NMStateSports.com and in-game updates are given on Twitter @NMStateAggies.

Looking Ahead

NM State takes on Bakersfield, Saturday, March 1, in Bakersfield, Calif.  The Bakersfield game is set to air on the radio with coverage on KGRT 104 FM in Las Cruces.  Radio coverage for both games on the Aggie Sports Network includes coverage in Alamogordo (107.1 FM), Albuquerque (101.7 FM), Artesia (990 AM) and Carlsbad (1240 AM).

Post-Game Interviews

Fans and media can access post-game video interviews with head coach Marvin Menzies and selected players after each game on-line at www.NMStateSports.com by clicking on the game recap.

About the Aggies

NM State has had two seven-game winning streaks this season with the first starting on Nov. 9 against Tennessee State in Honolulu. The final victory of that streak was against Prairie View A&M as the Aggies won 91-60 in Las Cruces on Nov. 27. The second seven-game winning streak began on Dec. 14 in Des Moines, Iowa when NM State defeated Drake 81-63 in overtime. The final victory of that streak came against Idaho on Jan. 11 when NM State won 78-54 in the Pan American Center. The winning streak was snapped by Chicago State on Jan. 16, when they fell 86-81 on the road. The Aggies then lost their second straight Western Athletic Conference game of the year to Kansas City 68-66 on the road as well, Jan.  18.  However, the Aggies managed to recover with three consecutive home victories, including a dominating 72-49 win over first place Utah Valley, Saturday, Feb. 1.

The Aggies have recovered from the loss on the road to Idaho on Feb. 6, and responded with a four game winning streak. They are now sitting at 10-3 in league play after a 92-77 road victory against conference opponent Seattle in Seattle, Washington on Feb. 8, followed by back-to-back home wins also coming against conference opponents Kansas City on Feb. 13 and Chicago State on Feb. 15 and another road win against WAC opponent Texas-Pan American on Feb. 20.

NM State is averaging 78.3 points per game this season while shooting 49.4 percent from the field. They are shooting fairly well from behind the 3-point arc as well, hitting 37.2 percent of their 3-point attempts. The NM State defense is holding its opponents to a 40.8 shooting percentage on the year and is out-rebounding the opposing teams by an average of 36.8 per game to 32.4 per game (+4.3 rebounding margin).

Junior guard Daniel Mullings leads all scorers on the squad with 16.9 points per game and is also the defensive leader of the team with a league 53 steals on the year. He also leads the Western Athletic Conference in steals per game averaging 1.9 per competition. He also has 93 assists on the year, and is in the top-10 in the league in that category.

Sophomore center Sim Bhullar, who returned to the court on Thursday, Jan. 30 after missing six straight games due to a foot injury, leads the team and the WAC in blocked shots with 79 blocks on the season. Junior Tshilidzi Nephawe is the team leader in rebounds with 7.7 per game and he is also second on the team and the WAC with 43 blocks on the year, which includes a career-high six blocks against Idaho (Jan. 11).

Senior guard Kevin Aronis leads the Aggies in 3-point shooting percentage hitting 43.8 percent of his attempts and is No. 5 in the WAC in 3-pointers per game with 2.2 per contest. Junior KC Ross-Miller is second on the team in 3-point shooting percentage going 39.0 percent from behind the 3-point arc (23-of-59).

Senior forward/center Renaldo Dixon made 11 consecutive starts which ended on Feb. 15, against Chicago State and is averaging 25.3 minutes per competition. He is posting 8.9 points per game and is grabbing 5.7 rebounds per game.

Looking Back

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team defeated Texas-Pan American, 78-61, in Edinburg, Texas Thursday, Feb. 20.  The Aggies improved to 21-8 on the season and 10-3 in WAC play, while Texas-Pan American fell to 8-20 overall, 4-9 in the WAC.

Junior guard Daniel Mullings scored a team-high 18 points shooting 5-of-7 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line.  Sophomore center Sim Bhullar was too much for the Broncs in the middle as he added 15 points going 7-of-8 from the field and the Aggies as a team posted 36 points in the paint.

NM State finished the game shooting 68 percent as a team, after shooting 80 percent in the second half.  The Aggies dished out 18 assists with Mullings leading that category dropping six dimes, while junior KC Ross-Miller added five assists.

NM State came out and scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 40-33 lead. The Aggie lead was extended to 10 points again at 45-35, when Eldridge hit 1-of-2 free throws with 14:46 on the clock in the second half. The Aggies never trailed again and took their largest lead of the game at 64-48 after two free throws by Mullings.  Aronis hit a 3-pointer with 3:35 left in the game giving the Aggies a 71-54 lead before closing out the game to win 78-61.

Series History versus Utah Valley

The Aggies and Wolverines have met only once in series history which during the 2013-2014 season. The last time the two teams met NM State defeated Utah Valley 72-49 at the Pan American Center on Feb. 1.

Feb. 1, 2014 … Home … 72-49 W

Scouting the Wolverines

This will be the second time the NM State Aggies face off against the Utah Valley Wolverines.

The Wolverines are led by head coach Dick Hunsaker in his 12th season with the team. He is assisted by Curtis Condie in his fifth year with the team and Terry Parker in his first year with the team.

Utah Valley has an overall record of 16-10 with a 10-2 record at home. The Wolverines are led by senior guard, Holton Hunsaker in scoring and assists, averaging 14.0 points per game with 108 total assists on the season. Just trailing Hunsaker in scoring is senior center Ben Aird with 295 total points on the season and averaging 11.3 points per game. Freshman forward Zach Nelson comes in third for the Wolverines in overall points with 288 on the season and averaging 11.1 points per game. Nelson also comes in second for Utah Valley with 81 assists just trailing Hunsaker.

As a team, the Wolverines have a +1.9 scoring margin. Throughout the season they have tallied 878 rebounds, 370 assists and average a 43.9 field goal percentage. 

Last Game against Utah Valley

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team defeated then Western Athletic Conference leader Utah Valley in convincing fashion, 72-49, Saturday, Feb. 1 inside the Pan American Center. It was the 19th consecutive conference-home win for NM State dating back to 2012.

With the win the Aggies moved to 17-7 overall at the time and moved to just one game behind the Wolverines in the WAC standings with a 6-2 record.  The last Aggie home-conference loss came at the hands of Nevada on Jan. 26, 2012.

NM State only held a five-point lead at the half, but only allowed 21 points and eight field goals during the second half to handily give Utah Valley its first WAC loss of the season.  The Aggie defense also forced 11 turnovers, which led to 17 points.

Players to Watch (Ian Baker and Daniel Mullings)

Freshman guard Ian Baker has provided depth at guard for the Aggies during the 2013-14 season. Baker’s first game came midway through the season against Northern New Mexico on Dec. 21, where he scored a career-high 12 points in an efficient 14 minutes of action going 5-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 from the three point line. He has seen a recent surge in play time from the 6.5 minutes per game in his first seven contests to 13.2 minutes per game in his previous eight outings.

Baker played a career-high 23 minutes against Kansas City, Feb. 13 and recorded a career-high four assist. On the season he is averaging 3.7 points per game and 3.1 points per game during conference play. 

Junior guard Daniel Mullings scored a team-high 18 points while grabbing a game-high seven rebounds and dishing out a game-high six assists as the Aggies dominated Texas-Pan American 78-61.  Mullings went 5-of-7 from the field, 1-of-1 from 3-point range and 7-of-9 from the charity stripe to help his team to its 10th WAC win of the year. This game marked the 24th time Mullings tallied double-figures in scoring and the 21st time he tallied at least 15 points.  Mullings is averaging 16.9 points per game this season (third in WAC) and is dishing out 3.32 assists per game (sixth in WAC) while leading the league in steals with 1.89 per game.

Aggie Free Throws

NM State is currently ranked third in the nation for free throw attempts (852) and fifth in the nation for free throws made (585). With a 68.7 free throw percentage, the Aggies are tied for third in the WAC for overall games but seventh in WAC only games with a 67.8 free throw percentage.

KC Ross-Miller (82.5) and Renaldo Dixon (77.8) lead the way for the Aggies from the charity stripe. NM State’s Daniel Mullings has more attempted shots than any other Aggie and has made more free throw shots than any other player.

During the 2013-2014 season, both Ross-Miller and Mullings have had extended streaks for free throws made.

Ross-Miller’s streak began against New Mexico on Dec. 4, 2013 when he went 2-for-2 on the line. Ross-Miller made consecutive free throws for eight games of the season totaling 27 free throws during those games. The streak was broken when the Aggies played Seattle U at the Pan American Center and Ross-Miller went 2-for-6 on the line. On the season, Ross-Miller has shot 100 percent from the free throw line 16 games totaling 53 points during that time.

Mullings has been perfect from the line for eight games during the 2013-2014 season. His consecutive streak began against Texas Pan-American where he went 13-15, making the last two free throw shots of the game. Mullings made 22 consecutive free throws until facing Idaho on Feb. 6 where he went 2-for-4 during the game. His latest free throw streak began in the second half of a conference game against Seattle on Feb. 8, when he made his final free throw attempt of the night. The streak ended on Feb. 20 versus Texas-Pan American at seven consecutive free throws made. Mullings has notched 36 points from the free throw line through eight games where he finished 100 percent from the line.

Aggies in the WAC

The Aggies are currently tied for first place in the WAC with a 10-3 record.  NM State has the best overall record of any WAC team at 21-8.

Utah Valley is coming off a road loss to conference opponent Kansas City while New Mexico State is currently enjoying a four game winning streak. On Feb. 27 the two teams will square off for the conference lead in Orem, Utah. 

The Aggies are currently leading the WAC in scoring (78.3 ppg), scoring margin (+10.2), field goal percentage (49.4) and blocked shots per game (6.4) as they head into their matchup versus the Wolverines.

Sitting third on scoring in the WAC with 16.9 points per game, Daniel Mullings leads NM State’s offense while Sim Bhullar and Tshilidzi Nephawe anchor the defense with 3.4 and 1.5 blocked shots per game respectively. The tandem also ranks first and second in the WAC for blocked shots.

Aggies in the Nation (As of Feb. 24)

The Aggies sit at third in the Nation on total blocked shots with 185 and are third in the nation in free throws attempted with 852 attempts on the season.  NM State is also ranked fifth in free throws made with 585.

Sim Bhullar is sitting at fifth in the nation for blocked shots per game with 3.43 and is also at 19 in the nation with total blocked shots (79).  Tshilidzi Nephawe is 127th in the Nation with 1.48 blocks a game.  Daniel Mullings slipped another several spots, down to 52nd in the nation in steals per game with 1.89.

Daniel Mullings on the NM State All-Time Scoring List

Moving up the all-time scoring list junior guard and Canadian native, Daniel Mullings led the NM State men’s basketball team with 483 points during the 2012-13 season.  During the 2011-12 season, he tallied a total of 334 points.  Prior to the start of this season Mullings needed 183 points to reach 1,000 points for NM State.

Mullings’ 1,000 career point game came at the 17:32 mark in the second half of the Gonzaga game when he made two free-throws.  He finished the evening going 5-14 from the field while also making 6-9 free-throws to finish with 17 points.

Mullings has scored 473 points this season and now has 1,290 points in his career.  He is currently averaging 16.9 points per game this season and is looking to continue his climb up the all-time scoring list.  Mullings currently sits alone at No. 13 on the list after he recently surpassed former Aggie Charles Gosa (1995-99), who scored 1,233 points during his time at NM State.

Mullings now needs 43 more points to tie No. 12 on the list, former Aggie great Steve Colter (1981-84).  Colter put in 1,333 points when he averaged 19.5 points during his senior season (1983-84).

If Mullings maintains this pace, by the end of the regular season he could be 12th on the all-time scoring list behind Ernest Patterson (1980-83) who finished his career with 1,419 points.

Eric Channing is NM State’s all-time scoring leader with 1,862 points.  Channing played for the Aggies from 1998-02.

Former Aggie guard Hernst Laroche is No. 15 on the list of all-time points scored.  He played under coach Menzies from 2008-12 and scored a total of 400 points in his first two years at NM State.  George Knighton was the first Aggie to ever reach 1,000 points.  He played for NM State from 1960-62 and scored over 1,000 points in his first two years.

The most recent Aggies to enter the 1,000 Point Club were Wendell McKines, Hernst  Laroche and Hamidu Rahmad in 2012.  Former Aggie Billy Keys rounds out the 1,000 point club at No. 31 with 1,004 points in 65 games played (two seasons, 1999-00).

All-time scoring list

11. Ernest Patterson (1980-83) – 1,419

12. Steve Colter (1981-84) – 1,333

13. Daniel Mullings (2012-Present) – 1,290

14. Charles Gosa (1995-99) – 1,233

15. Johnny Roberson (1986-89) – 1,223

16. Hernst Laroche (2008-12) – 1,209

17. Keith Hill (1987-90) – 1,201

18. “Super” John Williamson (1971-73) – 1,168

Bhullar with another Block

Sophomore center Sim Bhullar broke the school for blocks in a single game when he tallied 10 blocked shots in a 91-60 win over Prairie View A&M, Nov. 27 in the Pan American Center.  That day the Aggies tallied 14 blocks as a team, which is also a new school record at Nm State.  Former Aggie All-American James Moore is the former record holder for blocks in a game as he tallied eight blocks against North Texas on Feb. 7, 2004.  The previous school record for blocked shots by an Aggie team was 12.  Nm State marked 12 blocks against Creighton, Jan. 12, 1978, and against UTSA, Feb. 2, 2013.

Bhullar currently has 161 blocks on his career and has surpassed former Aggie center Hamidu Rahman, who played for the Aggies from 2008-12, on the all-time blocked shot list at NM State after making one block against South Alabama.  Bhullar has tallied at least one block shot in 36 straight games he has played in while recording three or more blocks in 11 games this season.  

Through 14 games in last season, Bhullar only had 29 blocks, compared to his 53 blocks after 17 games this season.  At his current pace of  3.43 blocks per game, Bhullar is on track to block 108 shots this season, smashing the current single season blocks record at NM State, which he currently holds (85).  He needs just six more blocks to tie the single season record. 

Blocked Shots (career)

1. James Moore (2002-03), 200

2. Sim Bhullar (2012-Present), 164

3. Hamidu Rahman (2008-12), 137

4. Slab Jones (1976-80), 124

5. Charles Gosa (1995-99), 116

Blocked Shots (season)

1. Sim Bhullar (2012-13) – 85

2. Sim Bhullar (2013-14) – 79

3. Roland Grant (1973-74) – 58

4. Sam Lacey (1968-69) – 53

5. James Moore (2000-01) 52 

   Clyde Jordan (1994-95) – 52

Mullings with another steal

Guard Daniel Mullings leads the team in steals with 53 this season.  Mullings has 26 steals in conference play.  That Aggies have a total of 140 steals overall, with 61 in conference.

Mullings tied a career-high seven steals against Seattle University on Jan. 9.  Mullings had a total of five steals on Jan. 16 against Chicago State.  Nm State is averaging 4.8 steals per game compared to their opponent’s average of 5.4 steals versus the Aggies. 

Mullings has 190 steals on his career and is No. 3 on the all-time steals list at NM State behind former Aggie guard and current Las Cruces High head coach William Benjamin, who posted 209 steals from 1988-92.

Career Steals at NM State

1. Hearnst Leroche (2008-12) 216

2. William Benjamin (1988-92) 209

3. Daniel Mullings (2012-Present) 190

4. James Moore (2000-03) 174

5. Randy Brown (1988-92) 162              

Foreign Players at NM State

Out if 524 NCAA Division I players, the Aggies are recognized as one of four schools for having the most foreign players on the roster. With seven foreigners, NM State joins Eastern Washington, Maine and Nicholas St. as having the highest number of foreign players, with a majority of the Aggies players coming from Canada and Australia.

Big man Tshilidzi Nephawe, from Johannesburg, South Africa, leads the Aggies in rebounds with 7.7 rebounds a game for a total of 222. From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, center Sim Bhullar leads the aggies in blocks with 79 on the season. Also from Toronto, guard Daniel Mullings leads the team in points and steals, averaging in 16.9 points per game and with a total of 53 steals on a season.

Renaldo Dixon, also from Toronto, averages 8.9 points a game to go along with his 164 rebounds and 30 blocks. Bhullar also leads the team in field goal percentage at .675. Remi Barry from Paris, France, is out indefinitely after injuring his knee against Colorado State earlier this season.

Slam Dunk

NM State has dunked the ball 110 times compared to its opponents only dunking on the Aggies 43 times this year. Sim Bhullar leads the way with 31 dunks after slamming it down on Hawai’i six times. Bhullar with a total of 35, Dixon following closely behind with 25 dunks this year and Tshilidzi Nephawe is just behind with 23.

Daniel Mullings has had some of the most entertaining dunks, with one put-back against Northern Colorado making ESPN Sportscenter’s Top-10 Play’s at No. 6, on Nov. 21, 2013.

20 or more Win Seasons

With a victory over Chicago State on Feb. 15, the 2013-14 Aggies became the 27th team in NM State history to reach 20 or more wins in a season.

Under Coach Marvin Menzies, the Aggies have reached 20 or more wins five times, starting in Menzies’ first season as head coach, 2007-08.  Under Menzies, the Aggies best record thus far was in 2011-12 where the Aggies finished 26-10, making a trip to the NCAA tournament.

NM State’s best season came under Aggie great, coach Lou Henson.  Henson coached the Aggies to a 27-3 record during the 1969-70 season, making it to the NCAA tournament and advancing all the way to the Final Four. 

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