The New Mexico State men's basketball team begins its final four-game home stand with a pair of non-conference games. The Aggies host Northern New Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. inside the Pan American Center and Drake, Saturday, Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. in the Sears BracketBuster on ESPNU. Tuesday's game is broadcast on AggieVision, Comcast across New Mexico, KVIA 24/7 (7.3), ESPN Full Court and tape delayed on Fox Sports-Arizona at 11:30 p.m. The 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 contests are also available in Spanish on Vista 98 FM with Martin Cortez.
New Mexico State Aggies
The Aggies are 18-8 this season and 7-3 in the WAC following an 80-69 win at Utah State, Feb. 11. NM State has three players in double figures with redshirt senior Wendell McKines leading the way with 18.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Senior guard Hernst Laroche provides 12.0 points per game, and senior center Hamidu Rahman adds 10.2 points per game.
Scouting Northern New Mexico
The Eagles are 0-29 this season after falling to Johnson & Wales, 77-74, Feb. 11. Sophomore Gabriel Martinez has a team-high 9.9 points per game. Northern New Mexico is a NAIA school in Espanola.
This is the first meeting between in the Aggies and Eagles in school history.
The Bulldogs are 14-12 and 7-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Drake defeated Evansville, 78-54, Feb. 12. The Bulldogs travel to Bradley, Feb. 15 before the BracketBuster meeting. Sophomore guard Rayvonte Rice has a team-high 16.4 points per game. Junior forward Ben Simons adds 16.1 points per game but has missed the last three games with an illness.
NM State leads the all-time series 16-9. The Aggies are 11-2 in games played in Las Cruces against the former conference foes, but they haven't met since the 1982-83 season.
Aggies Sweep Utah State
The Aggies defeated Utah State, 80-69, in Logan, Utah for the first time since Feb. 11, 2006. NM State completed its first season sweep of the Navy-clad Aggies since the 2005-06 season. The Aggies had four players in double-figures with redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines leading the way with a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Hernst Laroche had 16 points and seven assists. Junior forward Bandja Sy supplied 13 points, while senior center Hamidu Rahman had 10.
NM State-Utah State Notes
The Aggies recorded a season-high 63.6 3-point field goal percentage at Utah State, Feb. 11. NM State was 7-of-11 from the 3-point line, the most 3-pointers since Dec. 31.
This season the Aggies have won road games at New Mexico and at Utah State. It is the first time the Aggies have won at both locations in the same season since 1994-95.
Trends and Tidbits
In 2011-12, the Aggies are 12-1 when they score 80 points or more. Currently, NM State is averaging 76.8 points per game, which ranks No. 26 in the NCAA. Additionally, the Aggies are 7-1 when they hold opponents to 70 points or less.
Aggies Edged at Idaho
NM State suffered a one-point loss at Idaho, 59-58, to snap a five-game win streak over the Vandals, Feb. 9. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines and senior center Hamidu Rahman led the team 12 points each. Senior guard Hernst Laroche and junior forward Tyrone Watson supplied nine points each. Watson also had a career-high eight assists.
Sensational Senior Class
The three-member senior class has made a significant impact for the Aggies. Both Wendell McKines and Hernst Laroche have joined the 1,000-point club at NM State, and Hamidu Rahman is only 10 points shy of joining the club. With Rahman's inclusion, it would be the first time in school history the Aggies have had three players join the 1,000-career point club in a single season as of Feb. 11.
Career Scoring Rankings
11. Wendell McKines-1,338
20. Hernst Laroche-1,092
-- Hamidu Rahman-990
Across the Country
The Aggies rank No. 7 in the NCAA in rebounding margin (+7.4) and No. 26 in scoring offense (76.8). Individually, redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines is eighth in double-doubles (14), No. 17 in rebounding (10.3) and No. 40 in points per game (18.1) as of Feb. 12.
NM State has tallied 16 double-doubles this season. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines has 41 career double-doubles and 14 this season. Senior center Hamidu Rahman also has a double-double this year. Junior forward Bandja Sy posted his first career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds at Hawai'i, as of Feb. 7.
Against the WAC
As a team, the Aggies are leading the WAC in scoring offense (76.8 points per game), scoring margin (+8.2), rebounding margin (+7.4), rebounding offense (39.4 per game) and offensive rebounds (14.35 per game). NM State also ranks second in rebounding defense (32.0), steals (176), defensive rebounds (25.08) and third in field goal percentage (46.4).
Individually, redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines ranks first in rebounding (10.3) and scoring (18.1 points per game). Senior guard Hernst Laroche is first in steals (47), fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (41.3) and assist/turnover ratio (1.76) and seventh in assists (95). Senior center Hamidu Rahman is second in the league in field goal percentage (61.2), eighth in rebounds (6.0) and 10th in blocked shots (17). Freshman guard Daniel Mullings is third in steals (35), while junior forward Tyrone Watson is eighth in assists (80) and seventh in assists/turnover ratio (1.51) as of Feb. 11.
In conference games only, the Aggies rank first in 3-point field goal percentage defense (29.5), rebounding margin (+8.1), rebounding offense (39.0), rebounding defense (30.9), offensive rebounds (14.40) and steals (66). NM State is second in scoring offense (75.0), scoring margin (+7.1) and third in assists (139) and defensive rebounds (24.60).
Individually, McKines ranks fourth in rebounding (9.8), tied for second in scoring (18.1) and third in free throw percentage (78.0). Laroche is first in steals (24), 3-point field goal percentage (43.2), eighth in assists (37) and ninth in assists/turnover ratio (1.54). Rahman ranks fourth in field goal percentage (61.3) and ninth in blocked shots (9). Junior forward Tyrone Watson is fifth in assists (46), 10th in field goal percentage (51.7) and sixth in assists/turnover ratio (1.84). Mullings is fifth in steals (14). Sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe ranks fourth in free throw percentage (77.8) and 10th in blocked shots (8) as of Feb. 11.
Aggie Hold off Late Charge
The Aggies began the second half of WAC play with an 83-72 win over Louisiana Tech, Feb. 4. NM State ended the game with a 20-5 run to hold off the Bulldogs. Senior center Hamidu Rahman had a team-high 20 points, which tied his season-high mark, on a 7-of-10 performance from the field. It was the fourth 20-point showing of his career. Freshman guard Daniel Mullings added 15 points, with 14 scored in the second half including eight consecutive in the late Aggie run, and seven rebounds. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines posted his 14th double-double of the year with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while junior forward Tyrone Watson had a game-high seven assists, which tied a career high.
McKines Joins 1,000-1,000 Club, Aggies Roll 78-57
Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines became a member of the 1,000-career point and 1,000-career rebound club and led the Aggies to a 78-57 win over CSU Bakersfield, Feb. 1. With his 12th rebound of the game with 7:45 minutes remaining, McKines joined the elite club. He is only the second player in school history along with Sam Lacey, second active player in the NCAA (T.J. Robinson, Long Beach State) and 12th player in the WAC history to achieve the feat. McKines also had his 13th double-double of the year and 40th of his career with a game-high 20 points and 14 rebounds. Freshman guard Daniel Mullings scored 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while senior guard Hernst Laroche supplied 10 points and four assists. For the second consecutive game, sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe blocked four shots.
Laroche is an Aggie Iron Man
With his 118th consecutive game started at San Jose State, Jan. 19, senior guard Hernst Laroche became the 29th member of the 1,000-point club at NM State with his second field goal of the game. He also became the all-time school record for career minutes played in the game. Laroche now has 4,068 career minutes, and he broke the record Eric Channing previously held (3,783). He has 1,092 career points, which ranks No. 20 on the Aggies all-time scoring list.
Strong Second-Half Showings
The Aggies have had strong second-half performances this season. NM State has surged in the second half and outscored opponents by 167 points, 1049-882, as of Feb. 11.
Driving to the Basket
The Aggies haven't been afraid to drive to the basket this season. NM State has taken 807 free throw attempts in 26 games and has 319 more attempts than its opponents. The Aggies have made more free throws (535) then the opponents have attempted (488). As a team, NM State is shooting 66.3 percent from the line, as of Feb. 11.
Aggies Own the Glass
NM State has a renewed focus on rebounding this season with a very experience front court. The Aggies have a +7.4 rebounding margin, which ranks No. 7 in the country, and 1025-832 advantage on the boards. On the offensive glass, the Aggies have 95 more rebounds than their opponents (372-277). Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines is averaging 10.3 rebounds, and senior center Hamidu Rahman is adding 6.0 boards per game, as of Feb. 11.
Menzies Is the Fifth Winningest Coach at NM State
Head coach Marvin Menzies recorded his 80th victory at NM State in 2011-12. Following the 91-66 win over Southern, Dec. 19, he moved into fifth on the all-time winningest coaches list in program history.
All-Time Winningest Coaches (by victories)
1. Lou Henson-289
2. Neil McCarthy-229
3. Jerry Hines-157
4. Presley Askew-135
5. Marvin Menzies-94
6. Weldon Drew-82
McKines Leading the Way in His Final Season
Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines looks to leave a lasting legacy in his fifth season in Las Cruces. McKines has 14 double-doubles this season, which ranks eighth in the NCAA. He has scored in double figures in 25 games and grabbed double-digit rebounds in 15 games. He became the 28th member of the 1,000-point club at NM State with his first field goal at Southern Miss, Dec. 4.
Laroche is a Dual Threat
Senior point guard Hernst Laroche has been a model of consistency in his Aggie career. This season, Laroche has scored in double digits in 16 of the 26 games. He has also notched five or more assists in seven games with a season-high seven assists against San Francisco and at Utah State.
Rahman Controlling the Paint
Senior center Hamidu Rahman is an anchor for the Aggies in the middle. He has 15 double-figure games and five or more rebounds in 19 games. Rahman has attempted multiple free throws in 25 games. He recorded his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds against Western New Mexico, Dec. 14. Rahman scored a season-high 20 points at San Jose State, Jan. 19 and against Louisiana Tech, Feb. 4.
Watson Maintains Supporting Role
Junior forward Tyrone Watson has started in 25 games this season. He scored a season-high 14 points at Louisiana Tech, Jan. 7. Watson also has posted three or more assists in 16 games in 2011-12 including a career-high eight assists at Idaho, Feb. 9.
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 4,068 career minutes played, and he moved into No. 1 spot on the school record list at San Jose State, Jan. 19.
Laroche also ranks second on the all-time list for career assists (511) at NM State. He trails Sam Crawford by 81 assists (592).
Career Leaders in Assists
1. Sam Crawford-592
2. Hernst Laroche-511
3. Keith Hill-379
4. Ernest Patterson-371
5. Steve Colter-347
Rahman Climbs the Ladder
Senior center Hamidu Rahman currently has 115 career blocked shots. He is now No. 4 on the Aggie all-time list as of Feb. 11.
Career Leaders in Blocked Shots
1. James Moore-200
2. Slab Jones-124
3. Charles Goza-116
4. Hamidu Rahman-115
5. Johnny Roberson-98
6. Sam Lacey-92
7. Martin Iti-82
McKines Returns to the Hardwood
Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines ranks No. 2 on the all-time rebounding list at NM State with 1,012 boards and No. 11 in scoring with 1,338 career points. McKines has posted 14 double-doubles in 2011-12 and has 41 in his career as of Feb. 11.
Career Leaders in Rebounds
1. Sam Lacey 1,265
2. Wendell McKines 1,030
3. Slab Jones 951
4. George Knighton 866
5. Billy Joe Price 824
6. Charles Gosa 788
The Aggies host Hawai'i, Thursday, Feb. 23 and San Jose State, Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. in the final two WAC home games of the season.