The New Mexico State men's basketball team meets No. 13 Saint Louis, Thursday, March 21 at 12:10 p.m. (MT) at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., on TNT. The Aggies are a No.13 seed (24-10), and the Billikens are a No. 4 seed (27-6) in the Midwest Regional. The NCAA Tournament games can be heard on the Aggie Sports Network and KGRT 104 FM in Las Cruces with the 'Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon, and the pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to tip. The Aggies are making their 20th appearance in the NCAA Tournament in school history and their second consecutive showing and third trip in four years for the Crimson and White.
New Mexico State Aggies
The Aggies are 24-10 overall this season after winning its second consecutive WAC Tournament Championship following a 64-55 win over UT Arlington, March 16 in Las Vegas, Nev. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings is leading the team with 14.0 points per game. Senior forward Bandja Sy is also in double figures with 11.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Senior forward Tyrone Watson and freshman center Sim Bhullar add 10.8 and 10.2 points per contest, respectively. Watson has missed the last four games due to an ankle injury.
Scouting Saint Louis
The Billikens are 27-6 overall after winning the Atlantic-10 Tournament with a 62-56 victory over No. 25/22 VCU, March 17 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Saint Louis has three players averaging in double figures with junior forward Dwayne Evans leading the way with 13.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Senior guard Kwamain Mitchell provides 10.4 points per contest, and senior forward Cody Ellis adds 10.3 points per game.
Thursday's meeting is the seventh between the two schools with Saint Louis leading the all-time series, 4-2, but the teams haven't met since the 1974-75 season. The Billikens were the Aggies' first-ever opponent in the NCAA Tournament in 1952. Saint Louis and NM State played in Kansas City, Mo., in March 21, 1952, with the Aggies falling, 62-53. The Billikens won all three meetings in Saint Louis, Mo., 96-41, Dec. 7, 1975, 69-54, Feb. 15, 1973 and 78-60, Feb. 27, 1975. The Aggies won both meetings in Las Cruces, 74-58, Jan. 5, 1974, and 55-48, Feb. 6, 1975.
Aggies Win Back-to-Back WAC Championships
NM State defeated UT Arlington, 64-55, to win its second consecutive WAC Tournament Championship, March 16 in Las Vegas, Nev. The Aggies have won three WAC titles in four years and earned their 20th NCAA Tournament berth. NM State is the first team to win back-to-back WAC Tournament Championships since Hawai'i in the 2001 and 2002 seasons. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings and freshman center Sim Bhullar led the Aggies with 16 points each. Bhullar recorded his second consecutive double-double and the third of his career with 15 rebounds along with five blocked shots. Senior forward Bandja Sy was also in double-figures with 10 points on a 3-of-4 shooting performance from the 3-point line. The Aggies shot 42.6 percent from the field (20-of-47).
NCAA Tournament Third Round
With a win, the Aggies face the winner of the No. 17/19 Oklahoma State-No. 25/24 Oregon game, March 23, in the NCAA Tournament Third Round. Oklahoma State is 24-8 this season after falling to Kansas State, 68-57, in the Big 12 Tournament, March 15. The Cowboys have four players in double figures with freshman guard Marcus Smart posting a team-high 15.4 points per game for the Cowboys. Junior guard Markel Brown adds 15.3 points per game, while sophomore guard/forward Le'Bryan Nash and freshman guard Phil Forte contribute 14.1 points and 10.4 points per game, respectively. Oregon is 26-8 overall after winning the Pac-12 Championship, 78-69, over No. 21 UCLA, March 16. The Ducks have a balanced offense with senior forward E.J. Singler scoring a team-best 11.6 points per game. Senior forward Carlos Emory provides 11.0 points, while freshman guard Damyean Dotson adds 10.8 points per game. Former Aggie assistant coach Tony Stubblefield is now an assistant coach at Oregon.
The Aggies won their fourth WAC Tournament Championship in eight years with the 2013 crown. NM State joined the league in 2005-06, and won the title in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013. The Aggies were the first team to win consecutive titles since Hawai'i accomplished the feat in 2001 and 2002.
The Aggies are making their 20th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. NM State has a 10-21 record in the Big Dance with a Final Four appearance in 1970.
Bhullar and Mullings Guide Aggies to WAC Championship
Freshman center Sim Bhullar was named the WAC Tournament Most Valuable Player after recording his second consecutive double-double in the tournament championship game with 16 points and 15 rebounds versus UT Arlington, March 16. He is the first freshman since BYU's Shawn Bradley earned the award in 1991. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings was also named to the WAC All-Tournament Team. He averaged 15.0 points and 2.7 steals per game and shot 58.6 percent from the field (17-of-29).
NM State Thrives under Menzies
In the last 20 games, the Aggies have an 18-2 record. NM State's overall record of 24-10 is the second-best win total in Marvin Menzies' tenure, and this is the fourth season Menzies has coached the Aggies to a 20-win season. This is the 26th 20-win season in school history for NM State.
WAC Tournament History
Since joining the WAC in 2005-06, the Aggies have a 17-4 record in the conference tournament. NM State has won four tournament titles in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013. In head coach Marvin Menzies' tenure, the Aggies have played in the championship game four times (2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013) with three titles (2010, 2012 and 2013). Under Menzies, the Aggies are 13-3 in WAC Tournament games.
NM State fell to Boise State in triple overtime, 107-102, March 15, 2008 in Las Cruces, defeated Utah State, 69-63, March 13, 2010 in Reno, Nev., beat Louisiana Tech, 82-57, March 10, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nev., and defeated UT Arlington, 64-55, March 16, 2013 in Las Vegas.
Aggies Beat Texas State, Advance to Title Game
The Aggies defeated Texas State, 74-65, in the WAC Tournament semifinals, March 15, to advance to their second consecutive conference tournament title game appearance. NM State had four players in double figures with freshman center Sim Bhullar leading the way with his second career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Junior forward Renaldo Dixon tied a career-high mark with 13 points. Sophomore guard K.C. Ross-Miller added 12 points, which is his fifth double-figure scoring game of the season. Off the bench, sophomore forward Remi Barry contributed 11 points.
Aggies Outlast Idaho
NM State opened the 2013 WAC Tournament with a 65-49 win over Idaho in the WAC Tournament quarterfinals, March 14. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings scored a game-high 23 points. Mullings was 10-of-14 from the field for his ninth 20-point game of the season. He also added three steals. Senior forward Bandja Sy supplied 14 points and seven rebounds. He was 5-of-11 from the field including 2-of-4 from the 3-point line.
Sy, Mullings, Bhullar Earn All-WAC Honors
Senior forward Bandja Sy, sophomore guard Daniel Mullings and freshman center Sim Bhullar earned All-WAC honors. Sy was named a first-team selection after averaging 14.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. This is Sy's first postseason honor, and it is the seventh consecutive year that the Aggies have had a first-team honoree. Mullings was voted to the second team All-WAC and all-defensive team, after he supplied 14.7 points, 2.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game in conference games. Bhullar was named the WAC Freshman of the Year and to the third team All-WAC and all-newcomer team after averaging 11.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game in WAC play.
National Rankings for the Aggies
The Aggies are currently 14th in blocked shots per game (5.5) and 20th in rebounding margin (+6.4) in the NCAA. NM State has out-rebounded opponents in 23 games. The Aggies are 45th in field goal percentage (46.1) and 47th in field goal percent defense (39.8). Individually, sophomore guard Daniel Mullings is ranked 25th in steals per game (2.24). Freshman center Sim Bhullar is 32nd in blocked shots per game (2.41) as of March 17.
Aggies Notch Double-Doubles
NM State has recorded 12 double-doubles in 2012-13 with senior forward Bandja Sy leading the way with four double-doubles. Senior forward Bandja Sy posted a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds at South Alabama, Dec. 4, 16 points and 10 rebounds against Texas State, Jan. 5, and 24 points and 13 rebounds at Texas State, Jan. 31. Sy had his fourth double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds at Denver, March 2. Freshman center Sim Bhullar has three double-doubles with back-to-back performances in the WAC Tournament. Bhullar had 16 points and 15 rebounds against UT Arlington, March 16, and 14 points and 10 rebounds versus Texas State, March 15. Bhullar recorded his first career double-double at UTSA, Feb. 2, with 17 points and 18 rebounds.
Senior forward Tyrone Watson had his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds against Louisiana Tech, March 7. Junior forward Renaldo Dixon posted his first career double-double with 10 and 14 rebounds, a career-high mark, at San Jose State, Feb. 14. Junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe had two this season at Niagara, Nov. 18, with 14 points and 10 rebounds and against Louisiana, Nov. 23, with 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Daniel Mulling had his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds against Southern Miss, Dec. 1.
Home Court Advantage
The Aggies finished the 2012-13 regular season with a 15-1 home record. This marks the most wins in the Pan American Center since the 2007-08 season (16-4). This season's home winning percentage of .938 is the best since the 2006-07 season (.950 and 19-1).
With the first blocked shot at Utah State, Feb. 16, the Aggies set the single-season record for blocks shots. Currently, NM State has 186 rejections this season. The Aggies rank 14th in the NCAA in blocks with 5.5 per game. Freshman center Sim Bhullar leads the team with 82 blocks, and is the NM State single-season leader in blocked shots. Junior forward Renaldo Dixon is also helping the defensive effort with 43 blocked shots. In addition, the Aggies tied the school record for blocked shots in a game with 12 at UTSA, Feb. 2. NM State tied the mark that was set Jan. 12, 1978 against Creighton.
Sy Leaving a Stamp on His Senior Season
Senior forward Bandja Sy has increased his contributions significantly and helped the Aggies to a 12-game win streak. He had a nine-game span in double-digits snapped against Idaho but he grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds versus the Vandals. In the last 20 games, Sy is averaging 14.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, which are team-high marks in that span. He is shooting 48.2 percent from the field (106-of-220), 45.2 percent from the 3-point line (19-of-42) and 72.5 percent from the free-throw line (66-of-91) in the last 20 games. Sy led the team in 14.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in WAC games.
Bhullar Protects the Hoop
Freshman center Sim Bhullar is leading the team with 82 blocked shots this season. In the win over UTEP, he became the single-season blocked shots leader at NM State. Bhullar surpassed Roland Grant, who blocked 58 shots in the 1973-74 season. Bhullar is currently tied for seventh on the NM State all-time list for blocked shots.
Mullings Fuels the Aggies
In his second season, sophomore guard Daniel Mullings has scored in double-figures 24 times. He recorded his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds versus Southern Miss, Dec. 1. Mullings has had nine 20-point games this season and 11 in his career. His shooting has improved from a season ago with 40 percent or better in 26 games. Mullings is shooting 37.0 percent from the 3-point line. He also has three or more assists in 16 games. Defensively, Mullings has a team-high 76 steals and ranks second on the single-season list. He is fifth on the Aggies' career list for steals with 134. Nationally, he ranks 25th in steals per game (2.24).
de Rouen Steps Up
Since entering the starting lineup against Denver Jan. 23, sophomore guard Terrel de Rouen has made a significant impact. The Las Cruces native is averaging 7.1 points, 2.6 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game. He has a 1.6 assist to turnover ratio in an average of 25.1 minutes of action per contest.
Dixon and Barry Making the Most of New Roles
In the last 14 games, junior forward Renaldo Dixon and sophomore forward Remi Barry have increased their production. Dixon is averaging 6.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He has a 48.4 field goal percentage (31-of-64) and 70.0 free-throw percentage (28-of-40) in the 14-game span. Barry is averaging 6.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest in the last 14 games. He is shooting 50.0 percent from the field (29-of-58) and 65.5 percent from the free-throw line (19-of-29).
Aggies on a Roll
After a tough start to the 2012-13 WAC slate, the Aggies bounced back and won 12 consecutive games. The streak started with an 86-62 win at UTSA, Jan. 3, and was snapped at Utah State, 73-69, Feb. 16. The win streak is the longest under head coach Marvin Menzies and longest since the 2006-07 season, when the Aggies won 13 consecutive games. The Aggies have won 18 out of their last 20 games.
Sy Earns WAC Player of the Week Honors
Senior forward Bandja Sy was named the WAC Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 3. This was his first career honor and the only of the season for the Aggies. Sy led NM State to a pair of road wins at Texas State and UTSA. In the 86-72 win over Texas State, Sy posted his third double-double of the season and the fourth of his career with 24 points and 13 rebounds. In the 75-62 win at UTSA, Sy scored 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Bhullar Filling the Gap in the Paint
Since entering the starting lineup, Dec. 15, freshman center Sim Bhullar is averaging 11.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. He recorded his first career double-double with 17 points and 18 rebounds, a career-high mark, at UTSA, Feb. 2. He has 16 double-digit games this season and has three 20-point games.
Against the WAC Competition
The Aggies lead the WAC in blocked shots (5.47 per game) and rank second in rebounding margin (+6.4), field goal percent defense (39.8) and scoring defense (62.1), and rank third in scoring margin (+5.9) and defensive rebounds (25.59).
Individually, sophomore guard Daniel Mullings ranks first in steals (2.24), ninth in free throw percentage (75.6) and field goal percentage (47.7) and eighth in scoring (14.0). Freshman center Sim Bhullar ranks first in field goal percentage (62.3), second in blocked shots (2.41 per game) and ninth in rebounding (6.5). Senior forward Bandja Sy is sixth in rebounding (7.3), and junior forward Renaldo Dixon is seventh in blocked shots (1.30).
In WAC games only, the Aggies finished conference play with top marks in blocked shots (6.50). NM State ranked second in rebounding margin (+5.7) and scoring offense (70.0) and third in scoring margin (+5.4), field goal percentage (47.0), rebounding offense (37.6), offensive rebounds (12.61) and defensive rebounds (24.94).
Individually, sophomore guard Daniel Mullings ranked first in steals (2.61), sixth in scoring (14.7) and free throw percentage (76.5). Freshman center Sim Bhullar was first in blocked shots (3.0) and field goal percentage (60.2) and seventh in rebounding (7.3). Senior forward Bandja Sy ranked fourth in rebounding (7.8), fifth in scoring (14.7) and 10th in field goal percentage (49.2). Junior forward Renaldo Dixon was fifth in blocks (1.83) as of March 9.
Defense in the Menzies Era
In head coach Marvin Menzies' six seasons, the Aggie defense has continued to improve during his tenure. This year NM State has held opponents to 60 or fewer points 16 times. Here's a look at how this year's team compares to previous squads.
Allowing 60 points or less
2012-13 16 games
2011-12 9 games
2010-11 8 games
2009-10 2 games
2008-09 3 games
2007-08 6 games
Sy Shoots and Scores
Senior forward Bandja Sy has been in double-digits in scoring for the Aggies in 22 games and in double-figures in rebounding in seven games. In the win at South Alabama, Dec. 4, he posted his second career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Sy recorded his third career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds versus Texas State, Jan. 5. That performance followed a career-high 25 points against UTSA, Jan. 3. Sy had his third double-double of the season with 24 points and 13 rebounds at Texas State, Jan. 31. At Denver, March 2, Sy recorded his fourth double-double of the season and fifth of his career with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
Menzies is the Fifth Winningest Coach at NM State
Head coach Marvin Menzies has recorded 126 career wins at NM State. He ranks fifth in school history, and directed the Aggies to their fourth 20-win season in his tenure in 2012-13.
All-Time Winningest Coaches (by victories)