The New Mexico State men's basketball team faces both rivals this week. The Aggies meet in-state rival New Mexico in Albuquerque, Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. for the first time of the season. The Rio Grande Rivalry matchup airs on the Mountain network. NM State then returns to Las Cruces to host I-10 rival UTEP, Saturday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. in the Aggies' home opener of the 2011-12 season. The game will be shown live on AggieVision and broadcast across New Mexico on Comcast. Both games are available on KGRT 104 FM with the 'Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon, and the pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to tip. The game at New Mexico will also be available in Spanish with Martin Cortez on Vista 98.7 FM.
New Mexico State Aggies
For the second straight season, the Aggies opened the season with a road victory. NM State defeated Northern Colorado, 89-75, Nov. 12 in Greeley, Colo. Sophomore guard Christian Kabongo had a game-high 20 points. Redshirt senior Wendell McKines posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds in his first game back after missing the 2010-11 season due to injury. Senior guard Hernst Laroche and junior forward Bandja Sy also provided 13 points each.
Scouting New Mexico
The Lobos opened the season with a 92-40 win over New Orleans, Nov. 11, in Albuquerque. New Mexico had six players in double-digits, and senior forward Drew Gordo had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
New Mexico won both meetings last season with an 84-78 win in overtime in Las Cruces, Dec. 4, and 78-62 win in The Pit. The Lobos lead the all-time series 112-94. The Aggies are looking for their first win in the series since the 2007-08 season, 71-62, Dec. 4, 2007 in Las Cruces. NM State hasn't won at The Pit since a 72-60 victory, Dec. 15, 2002.
Guard Christian Kabongo scored a career-high 21 points in the second Rio Grande Rivalry game of 2010-11. The Toronto, Ontario native also posted a game-high mark but the Aggies fell 78-62, Dec. 11, 2010 in Albuquerque. Center Hamidu Rahman recorded his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 17 rebounds, which tied a career-high mark. Guard Hernst Laroche was also in double figures with 11 points.
The Miners are 1-1 following a 52-41 win over UC Riverside, Nov. 13, in El Paso. UTEP fell to Texas-San Antonio, 73-64, Nov. 11 in its season opener at the Don Haskins Center. Junior guard Jacques Streeter has a team-high 11.5 points per game. The Aggies have faced Streeter when he played at Cal State Fullerton. Freshman forward/guard Julian Washburn adds 11.0 points per contest after the opening weekend.
Despite falling to the Miners twice last season, the Aggies have a 102-98 advantage in the all-time series. UTEP won the first meeting, 73-56, Nov. 23 in El Paso, and 74-72, Nov. 30 in Las Cruces.
In the second I-10 rivalry game of 2010-11, the Aggies were edged 74-72, Nov. 30 in Las Cruces. Forward Troy Gillenwater led NM State with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds, and guard Christian Kabongo added 13 points.
Aggies Outlast Northern Colorado in Opener, 89-75
The Aggies had a strong second-half effort to collect an 89-75 win at Northern Colorado in the season opener, Nov. 12 in Greeley, Colo. The Aggies had four players in double-figures. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines posted his 28th career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Christian Kabongo scored a game-high 20 points, while senior guard Hernst Laroche added 13. Junior forward Bandja Sy also contributed to the offense with 13 second-half points including a 3-for-4 showing at the 3-point line. The Aggies avenged last season's ESPNU BracketBuster loss to the Bears with a 14-point second-half advantage. NM State's defense was also vital in the final period and held the Bears to a 2-of-11 performance at the 3-point line.
Aggies Face UTEP in Home Opener
After the first two games of 2011-12 on the road, the Aggies return to Las Cruces and the Pan American Center for their home opener against UTEP, Saturday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. The Aggies are 3-1 in home openers under head coach Marvin Menzies. NM State is unveiling a new floor prior to the game. Doors open at 4 p.m. for the special event, and the floor reveal is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Kabongo Hits 20-Point Mark
Sophomore guard Christian Kabongo led the Aggies to an 89-75 win at Northern Colorado, Nov. 12, with a game-high 20 points. In the season opener, Kabongo was 50 percent from the field (5-of-10) and 76.9 percent from the free-throw line (10-of-13). This was only the third 20-point game of his career. Kabongo also had two rebounds, two assists, a blocked shot and a steal in 24 minutes of action.
Aggies Own the Glass
NM State has a renewed focus on rebounding this season with a very experience front court. In the season opener, the Aggies had a +14 advantage on the boards, 41-27, at Northern Colorado. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines had a game-high 10 rebounds, while senior center Hamidu Rahman added eight.
A High-Octane Offense
The Aggies shot over 50 percent from the field in the season opener at Northern Colorado. As a team, NM State had a 53.7 field goal percentage (29-of-54). The Aggies had four players in double figures.
Aggies Win Exhibition 115-64
The Aggies coasted to a 115-64 win over Eastern New Mexico, Nov. 2, in the team's lone exhibition game of the season. The Aggies had five players in double figures. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines directed the Aggies with a team-high 19 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Christian Kabongo scored 18 points with seven assists. Freshman guard Daniel Mullings added 13 points off the bench, while senior guard Hernst Laroche and sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe provided 10 points each.
The Aggies improved to 3-2 in season openers under head coach Marvin Menzies with the 89-75 win at Northern Colorado, Nov. 12. Last season, NM State opened the year with a 92-76 win at Louisiana, Nov. 12, 2010. The Aggies defeated UC Riverside, 79-52, Nov. 15, 2008, in Las Cruces but fell at Ohio, 80-72, Nov. 9, 2007, and at Saint Mary's, 100-68, Nov. 13, 2009.
Senior guard Hernst Laroche returned for his final season in Las Cruces and started his 100th consecutive game at Northern Colorado, Nov. 12. Jonathan Gibson has the school record in games played with 131. Laroche has 3,243 career minutes played, and he moved into No. 5 on the school record list after 34 minutes at Northern Colorado. He needs just 540 minutes to tie all-time leader Eric Channing (3,783).
Laroche also ranks second on the all-time list for career assists (421) at NM State. He trails Sam Crawford by 171 assists (592). At Northern Colorado, Laroche had a game-high five assists along with 13 points.
Career Leaders in Assists
1. Sam Crawford-592
2. Hernst Laroche-421
3. Keith Hill-379
The Aggies have nine newcomers this season with freshmen guards Daniel Mullings, Terrel de Rouen, D.J. Lewis, freshmen forwards Eric Weary, Remi Barry, freshman center Sim Bhullar and sophomore guard K.C. Ross-Miller, while freshman guard Emery Coleman and freshman forward Temjae Singleton are slated to redshirt.
Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines recorded the first double-double of the season at Northern Colorado, Nov. 12, with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Last year, the Aggies had eight double-doubles. Sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe, senior center Hamidu Rahman and junior forward Tyrone Watson all recorded a double-double last season.
Home Sweet Home
NM State utilized its home court advantage in 2010-11 at the Pan American Center and finished with a 7-1 record in WAC home games in 2010-11. The Aggies had their 12-game WAC home win streak snapped March 2 against Utah State.
Rahman Climbs the Ladder
Senior center Hamidu Rahman currently has 98 career blocked shots. He is now tied for No. 4 with Johnny Roberson on the Aggie all-time list.
Career Leaders in Blocked Shots
1. James Moore-200
2. Slab Jones-124
3. Charles Goza-116
4. Johnny Roberson-98
4. Hamidu Rahman-98
Menzies Is the Sixth Winningest Coach at NM State
Head coach Marvin Menzies recorded his 70th victory at NM State in 2010-11. He now ranks sixth on the all-time winningest coaches list in program history. Menzies is the second fastest to reach 70 behind Lou Henson.
All-Time Winningest Coaches (by victories)
1. Lou Henson-289
2. Neil McCarthy-229
3. Jerry Hines-157
4. Presley Askew-135
5. Weldon Drew-82
6. Marvin Menzies-77
McKines Returns to the Hardwood
Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines returned in 2011-12 after being sidelined last year due to a broken foot he sustained in mid-October. An All-WAC honorable mention selection in 2009-10, he ranks No.6 on the all-time rebounding list at NM State with 771 boards. McKines has posted one double-double in 2011-12 and has 28 in his career.
Career Leaders in Rebounds
1. Sam Lacey 1,265
2. Slab Jones 951
3. George Knighton 866
4. Billy Joe Price 824
5. Charles Gosa 788
6. Wendell McKines 771
Mullings Makes Aggie Debut
In his first game in the Crimson and White, freshman guard Daniel Mullings scored nine points off the bench, including a three-point play on a fast break dunk that spurred the Aggies second-half effort at Northern Colorado. Mullings also had three assists and three steals in 25 minutes.
Sy Lights Up from Long Range
Junior forward Bandja Sy helped the Aggies to a second half surge at Northern Colorado with 13 second half points off the bench. He was 3-of-3 from the 3-point line in the final 20 minutes of action. Sy also supplied three assists, a block and a steal.
The Aggies head to Anchorage, Alaska, for the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout, Nov. 24-26. NM State meets Central Michigan, Nov. 24, at 8:30 p.m. and then UC Irvine or Southern Mississippi, Nov. 25.