BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The New Mexico State University men’s basketball team plays its final road game of the year taking on the Bakersfield Roadrunners, Saturday, March 1 at 8 p.m. (MT) in Bakersfield, Calif. The game airs on the radio in Las Cruces on KGRT 103.9 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.
NM State takes on Grand Canyon on ‘Senior Night,’ Thursday, March 6 in the Pan American Center. The 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).
Seniors Kevin Aronis and Renaldo Dixon will be honored after the game.
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
The Aggies are currently 21-9 overall and 10-4 in Western Athletic Conference play after falling to Utah Valley 66-61 in overtime in Orem, Utah, Thursday. NM State now sits in second place in the league standings.
The Aggies went into Thursday’s game riding a four-game winning streak after recovering from a loss on the road to Idaho on Feb. 6. NM State posted 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 77.8 points per game this season while shooting 48.9 percent from the field. They are shooting fairly well from behind the 3-point arc as well, hitting 36.9 percent of their 3-point attempts. The NM State defense is holding its opponents to a 40.7 shooting percentage on the year and is out-rebounding the opposing teams by an average of 36.9 per game to 32.6 per game (+4.3 rebounding margin).
Junior guard Daniel Mullings leads all scorers on the squad with 17.0 points per game and is also the defensive leader of the team with a league 55 steals on the year. He also leads the Western Athletic Conference in steals per game averaging 1.9 per competition. He also has 98 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 85 blocks on the season. Junior Tshilidzi Nephawe is the team leader in rebounds with 7.5 per game and he is also second on the team and the WAC with 44 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 43.7 percent of his attempts and is No. 5 in the WAC in 3-pointers per game with 2.2 per contest.
Senior forward/center Renaldo Dixon made 11 consecutive starts which ended on Feb. 15, against Chicago State and is averaging 25.7 minutes per competition. He is posting 8.8 points per game and is grabbing 7.2 rebounds per game.
Two Aggies Suspended
After an altercation after the overtime loss to Utah Valley on Thursday, Feb. 27, junior guard K.C. Ross-Miller has been suspended for two games and senior forward Renaldo Dixon is suspended for one game. Both suspensions start, Saturday, March 1 against Bakersfield.
The New Mexico State men’s basketball team fell 66-61 to Utah Valley, Thursday, Feb. 27, in Orem, Utah as sophomore center Sim Bhullar and junior guard Daniel Mullings each posted a double-double. NM State falls to 21-9 overall and 10-4 in Western Athletic Conference play and the Wolverines move into first place in the league standings at 11-3, while moving to 17-10 on the season.
Bhullar posted 10 points while grabbing a season-high 14 rebounds and adding six blocks. Mullings scored a team-high 19 points as he added 10 rebounds to go along with five assists and two steals. Junior DK Eldridge also scored in double-figures with 10 points, while he had the best night of all Aggies from the charity stripe hitting 5-of-6 free throws. NM State struggled as a team from the free throw line hitting 15-of-30, which could have been the difference of the game as UVU hit 24-of-30 free shots.
Series History versus Bakersfield
This is the sixth meeting between NM State and the Roadrunners. The Aggies are 5-0 all-time against Bakersfield and picked up their first win defeating the ‘Runners 88-64, Dec. 7, 1985. This will be the second ever road game against Bakersfield as the Aggies won on the road, Jan. 2, 2012 by the score of 73-72.
Dec. 7, 1985 … Home … 88-64 (W)
Jan. 2, 2012 … Away … 73-72 (W)
Feb. 1, 2012 … Home … 78-57 (W)
Jan. 30, 2013 … Home … 89-86 (W)
Scouting the Roadrunners
The Roadrunners are currently sitting in a tie for seventh place with Texas-Pan American as both teams are 5-9 in league play. Bakersfield is coach by Rod Barnes, who is in his third season with the team. Brandon Barnes is the top returning scorer and rebounder for the Runners.
Last time against the Roadrunners
The New Mexico State men’s basketball team escaped an upset bid by last place Bakersfield, 89-86, on Thursday night inside the Pan American Center. The Aggies improve to 16-7 overall and 5-2 in Western Athletic Conference play while the Roadrunners fall to 8-13 overall and 1-6 in the WAC.
NM State narrowly thwarted what would have been a devastating blow to its WAC championships hopes. A loss by the Aggies would have meant that they would be three games behind WAC-leading Utah Valley who remained undefeated in WAC play by easily handling Texas-Pan American on Thursday night.
The Aggies seemed to have the game under control, leading by double digits or close to it for most of the game. But a 13-0 Bakersfield run in the latter portion of the game gave the Roadrunners their biggest lead of the matchup, 80-74, with five minutes remaining in the contest. NM State allowed 50 second-half points to Bakersfield.
But the Aggies finished the final five minutes of the game by outscoring Bakersfield 15-6. NM State used good defense, including three blocks, a big three by junior guard K.C. Ross-Miller and 6-of-8 free throw shooting in the final two minutes to take a three-point lead with 5.5 seconds left.
Still, NM State could not breathe easily until a desperation three by Bakersfield guard Zach Lamb clanked off the backboard at the buzzer.
The Aggies were heavily aided in the win by sinking 32-of-44 free throws in the game for a 72.7 free-throw percentage. Although the Roadrunners shot 80 percent from the free-throw line, they only attempted 25 free throws, 19 less than the Aggies.
NM State also shot 53.1 percent from the field (26-of-49) and 38.5 from 3-point range (5-of-13), but 14 Aggie turnovers almost cost them the game as Bakersfield converted those 14 turnovers into 24 points.
Junior guard Daniel Mullings led the Aggies with 19 points, including four points in the final two minutes. Center Tshilidzi Nephawe added 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds, missing his seventh double-double of the season by one rebound.
Sophomore center Sim Bhullar made his first appearance in WAC play after missing six games with a foot injury and his presence was important. He finished with 13 points and six blocks on the night, as the Roadrunners noticed his attendance in the paint.
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.
With six blocks in a 66-61 overtime loss at Utah Valley, Thursday, Feb. 26, Bhullar tied his own single-season record of 85 blocks. He will break his own record with his very next block.
Bhullar currently has 167 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), 170
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) – 85
3. Roland Grant (1973-74) – 58
4. Sam Lacey (1968-69) – 53
5. James Moore (2000-01) 52
Clyde Jordan (1994-95) – 52
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 492 points this season and now has 1,309 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 24 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) – 1,309
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
Mullings with another steal
Guard Daniel Mullings leads the team in steals with 55 this season. Mullings has 28 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) 192
4. James Moore (2000-03) 174
5. Randy Brown (1988-92) 162