NM State vs. Idaho Coverage
Television: ROOT Sports (play-by-play: Mark Neely; Analyst: Marty Fletcher)
Radio: KGRT 103.9 FM (play-by-play: ‘Voice of the Aggies’ - Jack Nixon)
Live Stats: www.NMStateSports.com (click on live events link)
The New Mexico State men’s basketball team (13-5, 2-0 WAC) takes on Idaho (7-10, 1-2 WAC) in the Pan American Center, Saturday, Jan. 11. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (MT). Fans can listen to the pregame show at 5:30 p.m. with the Hall of Famer ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon on KGRT 103.9 FM in Las Cruces. The game is also scheduled to be televised on ROOT Sports and fans should check with their local cable or satellite provider for show times.
NM State heads out on the road facing Chicago State, Thursday, Jan. 16 and Kansas City, Saturday, Jan. 18. Both games will be aired on the radio on the Aggie Sports Network. The Aggie Sports Network includes radio coverage in Alamogordo (107.1 FM), Albuquerque (101.7 FM), Artesia (990 AM) and Carlsbad (1240 AM).
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.
Aggies Against Idaho
The NM State Aggies and Idaho Vandals have played a total of 27 times since the 1964 season. NM State is 23-4 all-time against the Vandals and are 13-0 when taking on Idaho at home. The Aggies won the first game between the two teams, 81-69 (Dec. 29, 1964). The Aggies largest winning streak was a total of 10 games from 2000-09. The most recent game resulted in another win the by the Aggies 65-49 during the WAC tournament, March 14, 2013.
The Aggies take on the Idaho Vandals, Jan. 11 at the Pan American Center and again on Feb. 6 in Moscow, Idaho at the Cowan Spectrum.
Scouting the Vandals
Idaho is struggling this season at 7-10 overall and 1-2 in league play. The Vandals lost to Kansas City to open WAC play on Thursday, Jan. 2 and then fell to Chicago State 57-55, while both those games were on their home court. Idaho defeated UTPA 86-85 in a double-overtime game, Thursday, on the road, using a last second shot to win the game.
Stephen Madison is the team leader in scoring and is No. 2 in the WAC posting 17.6 points per game, while he is also No. 2 in the conference in rebounding grabbing 8.2 boards per game. The Aggies will have to use caution with Glen Dean as he is No. 3 in the WAC in free throw percentage hitting 85.7 percent of his free throw attempts.
Last Time Versus Idaho (game recap)
The New Mexico State men’s basketball team opened the 2013 WAC Tournament with a 65-49 win over Idaho in the tournament quarterfinals, March 14, 2013. Guard Daniel Mullings scored a game-high 23 points.
The Aggies advanced to the semifinals of the tournament with the win. Mullings was 10-of-14 from the field for his ninth 20-point game of the season. He also added three steals. 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.
NM State shot 60 percent from the field (27-of-45) as a team. The Aggie defense was also effective and held an opponent to under 50 points for the second time in the WAC Tournament. Last year, the Aggies began the tournament with a 65-49 win over Fresno State.
After shooting 59.1 percent from the field (13-of-22) including a 3-of-5 performance from the 3-point line in the first half, the Aggies had a 32-28 lead at halftime. Mullings led the team with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Center Sim Bhullar added five, while sophomore guard Terrel de Rouen contributed four points off the bench.
NM State in Mid-Major Poll
In the most recent CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll (Jan. 6), the NM State men’s basketball team moved up two spots from No. 12 to No. 10. The Aggies had 473 points in the poll, while Wichita State is No. 1 in the poll. Aggie opponent, Gonzaga in No. 3 in the poll, Northern Colorado is No. 22 and Drake is No. 24.
Aggies in the WAC
NM State’s overall record of 13-5 is tops in the WAC, while it is tied for first in the league standing with Kansas City at 2-0. The Aggies are one of only two teams in the conference with a winning overall record (Seattle U at 8-7). NM State is 2-0 in WAC play after an 84-62 win versus Grand Canyon University on Saturday, Jan. 4, in Phoenix, Ariz., and a 96-87 win over Seattle U on Thursday.
The Aggies lead the conference in scoring offense (78.1 points/game), field goal percentage (48.4), scoring margin (+9.1), blocked shots (103) and blocked shots per game (5.72).
NM State’s defense also leads the WAC in opponent’s field goal percentage, holding opponents to 40.4 percent shooting, while standing in third in the WAC in scoring defense, allowing 68.9 points per game.
The Aggies are also second in the conference in 3-point shooting percentage (37.8), rebounding (37.2 rebounds/game) and rebound margin (+3.7) while placing third in free throw percentage (69.2) and assists per game (13.06).
Individually, sophomore center Sim Bhullar is the WAC overall leader in field goal percentage (67.0) and easily leads the conference in blocked shots (53) and blocked shots per game (3.31). No one else in the conference has over 20 blocked shots or is averaging over 1.40 blocked shots per game.
Bhullar also ranks third among WAC players in rebounds per game (7.4) while placing fourth in defensive rebounds per game (4.81) and third in offensive rebounds per game (2.56).
Fellow center Tshilidzi Nephawe is right behind Bhullar, placing third in the WAC in field goal percentage (53.2), sixth in rebounds per game (6.8), 10th in blocked shots (15) and 10th in blocked shots per game (0.83). Nephawe is tied for sixth in the conference in defensive rebounds per game (4.67) and ninth in offensive rebounds per game (2.17).
Sandwiched in between Bhullar and Nephawe in the blocked shots category is senior forward Renaldo Dixon whose 18 blocked shots place him in a tie for fifth most in the WAC.
Junior guard K.C. Ross-Miller is second the WAC in free throw percentage shooting at a 85.5 percent average (65-of-76). Ross-Miller is also tied for the conference lead in total assists with 67 helpers on the season. He is fourth in assists per game (3.72) and second in the conference in assist/turnover ratio (1.81).
NM State’s leading scorer, junior guard Daniel Mullings, is fourth in the WAC in scoring with 16.4 points per game. He leads the conference in steals with 36 (2.12/game). Mullings is also third in minutes played per game (33.29), fourth in assist/turnover ratio (1.49), fifth in total assists (61) and sixth in assists per game (3.59).
Senior guard Kevin Aronis is tied for sixth in the WAC with 38 3-point field goals made and is sixth in the conference with a 2.11 3-pointers per game average. He also is seventh in the WAC in 3-point field goal percentage with a 41.8 percent average (38-of-91). Fellow guard DK Eldridge leads the Aggies in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 42.3 percent from beyond the arc (22-of-52), good enough for fourth-best in the WAC.
Aggies at Home
NM State holds a 7-1 record at the Pan American Center this season. The Aggies only home loss came at the hands of I-25 rival New Mexico, 79-70, on Dec. 4. The loss snapped a 15-game home winning streak for NM State dating back to last season. The Lobos were also the only team to hand NM State a home loss during the 2012-13 season as the Aggies finished the season 15-1 at home and undefeated in WAC play inside the Pan Am. The last WAC opponent to defeat NM State at home was Nevada, which defeated the Aggies, 68-60, on Jan. 26, 2012.
Since the loss to New Mexico, NM State has won its last three home games, with two of those three in blowout fashion. The Aggies defeated Northern New Mexico, 97-47, on Dec. 21, and won over South Alabama, 82-64, on Dec. 28.
NM State is averaging 83.5 points per game at home while holding opponents to 66.1 points per game for a +17.4 scoring margin. The Aggies are shooting over 50 percent from the field at home (53.2) while holding opponents to 39.4 percent and outrebound their opponents by an average of 5.9 rebounds per game (37.5 to 31.6).
Junior guards Daniel Mullings and DK Eldridge as well as Renaldo Dixon are averaging double-digit points for NM State inside the Pan Am. Mullings leads the team at home, averaging 17.6 points per game while Eldridge averages 13.1. Dixon adds 10.4 points per game in the Pan American Center.
A duo of Aggies is at the cusp of double-digit points at home. Junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe averages 9.6 points per game at home and fellow center Sim Bhullar averages 9.4 points per game.
Mullings and Eldridge also lead NM State in minutes played at home with an average of 31.9 and 28.5 minutes respectively. Mullings is also shooting 57.7 percent from the field at home, second only to Bhullar who is shooting 67.6 percent inside the Pan Am. Bhullar also leads the Aggies at home in rebounds (50), rebounds per game (7.1) and blocked shots (25). The 7-5 big man broke a school record with 10 blocked shots during the Aggies’ home matchup versus Prairie View A&M on Nov. 27. That same night the NM State team also broke the team blocked shots record, finishing with 14 total blocks.
NM State RPI
In the latest RPI released by the NCAA, NM State is No. 52, just behind UCLA. Kansas City has the next highest RPI in the Western Athletic Conference at 131.
Ross-Miller from the Charity Stripe
Junior K.C. Ross-Miller leads the Aggies and is second in the WAC shooting 85.5 percent from the free-throw line. Ross-Miller has only missed 11 of his 76 free-throw attempts on the season and had a streak going of 33 free throw makes from Nov. 23, 2013 through, Jan. 9.
During that streak of 33 straight, Ross-Miller sank six of his eight free throws during the final 30 seconds of the game to thwart a UNM comeback and give NM State its first win against its I-25 rival in over two years.
If Ross-Miller has a legitimate shot at breaking Eric Channing’s single-season free throw percentage record of 89.4 percent, which he set during the 2001-02 season. The Aggie record for consecutive free throws made still stands and is held by former Aggie Jahmar Young, who recorded of 36-consecutive free throws made during the 2009-10 season.
Mullings Climbs the Steals List
This season, guard Daniel Mullings leads the team in steals with 36. He ranks fourth on the all-time list with 173. He recently surpassed former Aggie great Randy Brown (1988-92), who had 162 steals. Mullings is averaging 2.1 steals per game this season. In 18 games, Mullings has recorded 11 games with at least two steals, including four games with three steals.
Against Seattle U on Jan. 9, Mullings tied a career-high seven steals. He marked seven steals against Seattle U almost one year to the date as he picked up seven steals on Jan. 10, 2013 in Seattle.
If Mullings keeps his current pace of 2.1 steals per game, by the end of the regular season he will rank third all-time with 194. He needs just on more steal to tie former Aggie All-American James Moore for third on the all-time steals list at NM State.
Bhullar with another Block
Sophomore center Sim Bhullar broke the school record 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 138 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 now tallied at least one block shot in 20 straight games he has played in.
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 3.4 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).
Blocked Shots (career)
1. James Moore (2000-03), 200
2. Sim Bhullar (2012-Present), 138
3. Hamidu Rahman (2008-12), 137
4. Slab Jones (1976-80), 124
5. Charles Gosa (1995-99), 116
Players to Watch
Senior forward/center Renaldo Dixon marked a career-high 10 free throws in a 96-87 win over Seattle U this past Thursday. He is stepping in at the center position for the injured Sim Bhullar. Dixon is averaging 6.8 points per game, while hitting 83.3 percent of his free throw attempts. He went 10-of-12 from the charity stripe against Seattle U in the Pan American Center, Jan. 9. Dixon has played in all 18 games this season this season and has started in the last two.
He is posting 15.6 minutes per game on his career and has averaged 4.5 points per game in 89 games played in the Crimson and White. He is also a 76.1 percent free throw shooter while at NM State.
Senior guard Kevin Aronis scored a career-high 20 points in an 84-62 win at Grand Canyon University to help give NM State its first WAC win of the year. He went 7-of-10 (70%) from the field and 6-of-8 (75%) from behind the 3-point arc. He was 5-of-6 from behind the 3-point line in the first half of the game scoring 15 points in the first half, which helped give the Aggies a 45-31 lead. The six treys he made against the ‘Lopes ties a career-high as he also marked six against Northern New Mexico on Dec. 21, 2012.
Aronis scored 15 points against Seattle U on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 from behind the 3-point line. He is shooting 41.8 from 3-point land this season and shot 34.4 percent from behind the arc last season. He is hitting 38.1 percent of his 3-pointer attempts on his career (69-of-181).
Mullings Reaches 1,000 – 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 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-of-14 from the field while also making 6-of-9 free throws.
Mullings has scored 279 points this season and now has 1,096 points on his career. He is currently averaging 16.4 points per game this season and is looking to climb the all-time scoring list. Mullings moved up two spots from last week and is now at No. 21 on the all-time list after surpassing former Aggies Kenny Travis (1986-87) and Hamidu Rahman (2008-12). He needs 30 more points to tie for 20th with former Aggie Justin Hawkins (2006-08).
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 all-time points scored. He was under coach Menzies from 2008-12 and scored a total of 400 points 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 his first two years. The most recent Aggies to enter the 1,000 Point Club were Wendell McKines, Hernst Laroche, and Hamidu Rahman in 2012. Former Aggie Billy Keys is currently No. 31 on the 1,000-point list with 1,004 points in 65 games played (two seasons; 1999-00).