The New Mexico State men's basketball team concludes the regular season on the road with a pair of WAC games. The Aggies face Nevada, Thursday, March 1 at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 in Reno, Nev., and Fresno State, Saturday, March 3 at 8 p.m. in Fresno, Calif. 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. Fans in Las Cruces are encouraged to watch the Thursday game vs. Nevada at either The Game Sports Bar & Grille or Buffalo Wild Wings, as each serve as official watch party locations.
New Mexico State Aggies
The Aggies are 22-8 this season and 9-3 in the WAC after a 79-68 win over San Jose State, Feb. 25, in the home finale. NM State has three players in double figures with redshirt senior Wendell McKines leading the way with 18.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Senior guard Hernst Laroche provides 12.2 points per game, and senior center Hamidu Rahman adds 10.8 points per game.
The Wolf Pack is 23-5 and 11-1 in the WAC following a triple-overtime win at Fresno State, 79-76, Feb. 25. Sophomore guard Deonte Burton posts a team-high 15.3 points per game. Junior guard Malik Story and senior forward Olek Czyz are contributing 14.3 points and 13.7 points per game, respectively. Senior center Dario Hunt is the fourth player in double-figures with 10.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
The Aggies have a 19-16 lead in the all-time series. Nevada won the first game of the year, 68-60, Jan. 26 in Las Cruces, in the Aggies' only WAC home loss of the season.
Despite a season-high 21 points from senior guard Hernst Laroche, NM State's late comeback against Nevada fell short, 68-60, Jan. 26 in Las Cruces. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines ended the game with 15 points and eight rebounds. The Aggies suffered their first loss of the season when they hold a team to 70 points or fewer.
Scouting Fresno State
The Bulldogs are 13-17 overall and 3-9 in the WAC following a triple-overtime loss to Nevada, 79-76, Feb. 25. Fresno State hosts Louisiana Tech, Thursday, March 1, before meeting the Aggies. Sophomore guard Kevin Olekaibe is the leading scorer for the Bulldogs with 18.1 points per game, while senior guard Jonathan Wills adds 10.4 points per game.
The Aggies have a 23-13 series advantage after winning the first meeting of the season, 60-56, Jan. 28, in Las Cruces. NM State is looking for its first win in Fresno, Calif., since Jan. 3, 2009.
Junior forward Tyrone Watson sank two free throws with 14 seconds remaining in regulation to seal a four-point win, 60-56, for the Aggies over Fresno State in the annual Lou Henson Classic, Jan. 28 in Las Cruces. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines scored a game-high 20 points along with 10 rebounds. Watson, senior center Hamidu Rahman and sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe supplied eight points each.
Aggies Win on Senior Night
In the home finale, the Aggies defeated San Jose State, 79-68, Feb. 25. NM State had four players in double-figures on senior night. Senior center Hamidu Rahman tied a career-high with 22 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the year. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines recorded his 16th double-double of the season and 43rd of his career with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Senior guard Hernst Laroche added 11 points, while freshman guard Daniel Mullings scored 10 points.
Mullings Posts Triple-Double, Aggies Crush Hawaii
Freshman guard Daniel Mullings recorded the Aggies' first triple-double in school history in over 20 years with a 115-73 rout of Hawai'i, Feb. 23. Mullings had a career-high night with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. NM State had six players in double-digits with redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines adding 20 points and eight rebounds. Senior guard Hernst Laroche finished with 16 points and a season-high eight assists. Junior forwards Tyrone Watson and Bandja Sy supplied 12 points each, while sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe chipped in 10 points. With two blocked shots, senior center Hamidu Rahman is tied for second all-time at NM State in career rejections with 124. He also added eight points.
NM State-Hawai'i Notes
In the win over Hawai'i, the Aggies set season highs in points (115), which is the most scored since the 1996-97 season, and assists (26) and tied the season-best marks for field goal percentage (60.3, 41-of-68) and field goals made (41). This was also the largest margin of victory in a WAC game since NM State joined in 2005-06.
Mullings Lights up the Pan Am
Freshman guard Daniel Mullings became only the third Aggie in school history with a triple-double against Hawai'i, Feb. 23. He had 28 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, all career-high marks, along with five steals on 11-of-15 shooting. He is the last player to accomplish the feat since 1990 when William Benjamin had 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against Cal State Northridge, Nov. 26, 1990. The first Aggie to achieve the rare feat was Willie Joseph with 12 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds against Simon Fraser, Nov. 22, 1988.
Sensational Senior Class
The three-member senior class has made a significant impact for the Aggies. Wendell McKines, Hernst Laroche and Hamidu Rahman have all joined the 1,000-point club at NM State this season. It is the first time in school history the Aggies have had three players join the 1,000-career point club in a single season.
Career Scoring Rankings
11. Wendell McKines-1,403
18. Hernst Laroche-1,148
25. Hamidu Rahman-1,025
Across the Country
The Aggies rank No. 4 in the NCAA in rebounding margin (+8.1), No. 14 in scoring offense (78.8), No. 23 field goal percentage (47.7) and No. 32 in scoring margin (+10.4). Individually, redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines is sixth in double-doubles (16), No. 13 in rebounding (10.5) and No. 31 in points per game (18.4). Freshman guard Daniel Mullings ranks first in triple-doubles as one of only 12 players with the accomplishment this season as of Feb. 26.
NM State has tallied 19 double-doubles this season. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines has 43 career double-doubles and 16 this season. Senior center Hamidu Rahman also has two double-double this year. Junior forward Bandja Sy posted his first career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds at Hawai'i. Freshman guard Daniel Mullings had the first triple-double since 1990 with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists against Hawai'i as of Feb. 25.
Trends and Tidbits
In 2011-12, the Aggies are 14-1 when they score 80 points or more. Currently, NM State is averaging 78.8 points per game, which ranks 14th in the country. Additionally, the Aggies are 10-1 when they hold opponents to 70 points or less.
Against the WAC
As a team, the Aggies are leading the WAC in scoring offense (78.8 points per game), scoring margin (+10.4), field goal percentage (47.7), rebounding margin (+8.1), rebounding offense (39.9 per game), rebounding defense (32.5) and offensive rebounds (14.37 per game). NM State also ranks second in 3-point field goal percent defense (32.5) and defensive rebounds (25.50) and third in steals (205), blocked shots (122) and assists (414).
Individually, redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines ranks first in rebounding (10.5) and scoring (18.4 point per game). Senior guard Hernst Laroche is first in steals (52), second in 3-point field goal percentage (43.2), seventh in assist/turnover ratio (1.69) and eighth in assists (110). Senior center Hamidu Rahman is first in the league in field goal percentage (63.6), eighth in rebounds (6.2) and seventh in blocked shots (31). Freshman guard Daniel Mullings is second in steals (50), and 10th in field goal percentage (50.5). Junior forward Tyrone Watson is ninth in assists (95) and assists/turnover ratio (1.56). Sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe ranks 10th in blocked shots (24) as of Feb. 25.
In conference games only, the Aggies rank first in scoring offense (78.7), scoring margin (+10.3), field goal percentage (49.2), 3-point field goal percentage defense (29.1), rebounding margin (+8.5), rebounding offense (39.7), rebounding defense (31.2), offensive rebounds (14.58) and steals (81). NM State is second in assists (179) and defensive rebounds (25.08) and third in field goal percentage defense (43.4) and blocked shots (46).
Individually, McKines ranks third in rebounding (10.1), first in scoring (18.4) and fifth in free throw percentage (78.6). Laroche is first in steals (27), third in 3-point field goal percentage (43.2), seventh in assists (51) and ninth in assists/turnover ratio (1.52). Rahman ranks second in field goal percentage (63.0) and fifth in blocked shots (16). Watson is fifth in assists (51) and seventh in assists/turnover ratio (1.76) and field goal percentage (55.9). Mullings is second in steals (21) and ninth in field goal percentage (55.2). Nephawe ranks third in free throw percentage (78.8) and tied for ninth in blocked shots (10) as of Feb. 25.
A Season Milestone
For only the 25th time in school history, the Aggies have won 20 or more games in a season. This year with a 71-55 win over Drake in the Sears BracketBuster, Feb. 18, the Aggies accomplished the feat. This is also the second 20-win season for the Aggies under head coach Marvin Menzies.
Rahman Joins the 1,000-Point Club
With the first basket of the second half against Northern New Mexico, Feb. 14, senior center Hamidu Rahman became the 30th member of the 1,000-career point club at NM State. He is the third Aggie to join the club this season with redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines and senior guard Hernst Laroche.
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.
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 4,190 career minutes, and he broke the record Eric Channing previously held (3,783). He has 1,148 career points, which ranks No. 18 on the Aggies all-time scoring list.
Career Leaders in Steals
1. William Benjamin-209
2. Hernst Laroche-204
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 208 points, 1237-1029, as of Feb. 25.
Driving to the Basket
The Aggies haven't been afraid to drive to the basket this season. NM State has taken 923 free throw attempts in 30 games and has 349 more attempts than its opponents. The Aggies have made more free throws (612) then the opponents have attempted (574). The Aggies are leading the NCAA in free throws attempted per game (30.8) and rank second in free throws made per game (20.3). As a team, NM State is shooting 66.3 percent from the line, as of Feb. 25.
Aggies Own the Glass
NM State has a renewed focus on rebounding this season with a very experience front court. The Aggies have a +8.1 rebounding margin, which ranks fourth in the NCAA, and 1196-954 advantage on the boards. On the offensive glass, the Aggies have 105 more rebounds than their opponents (430-325). Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines is averaging 10.5 rebounds, and senior center Hamidu Rahman is adding 6.2 boards per game, as of Feb. 25.
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-98
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 16 double-doubles this season, which ranks sixth in the NCAA. He has scored in double figures in 28 games and grabbed double-digit rebounds in 17 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 20 of the 30 games. He has also notched five or more assists in seven games with a season-high eight assists against Hawai'i.
Rahman Controlling the Paint
Senior center Hamidu Rahman is an anchor for the Aggies in the middle. He has 17 double-figure games and five or more rebounds in 23 games. Rahman has attempted multiple free throws in 29 games. He has recorded two double-doubles this season and 10 in his career. Rahman tied his career high of 22 points against San Jose State, Feb. 25.
Watson Maintains Supporting Role
Junior forward Tyrone Watson has started in 29 games this season. He scored a season-high 14 points at Louisiana Tech, Jan. 7. Watson also has posted three or more assists in 19 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 4,190 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 (526) at NM State. He trails Sam Crawford by 66 assists (592).
Career Leaders in Assists
1. Sam Crawford-592
2. Hernst Laroche-526
Rahman Climbs the Ladder
Senior center Hamidu Rahman currently has 129 career blocked shots. He now owns the No. 2 spot on the Aggie all-time list as of Feb. 25.
Career Leaders in Blocked Shots
1. James Moore-200
2. Hamidu Rahman-129
McKines Returns to the Hardwood
Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines ranks No. 2 on the all-time rebounding list at NM State with 1,065 boards and No. 11 in scoring with 1,403 career points. McKines has posted 16 double-doubles in 2011-12 and has 43 in his career as of Feb. 25.
Career Leaders in Rebounds
1. Sam Lacey-1,265
2. Wendell McKines-1,065
The Aggies travel to Las Vegas, Nev., for the 2012 WAC Tournament, March 8-10. NM State is looking for its second tournament title in three years.