The New Mexico State University men’s basketball team (18-8, 7-3 WAC) takes on Kansas City in the Lou Henson Classic, Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. (MT) in the Pan American Center. The game airs on the radio in Las Cruces on KGRT 104 FM with “Voice of the Aggies” Jack Nixon giving the play-by-play. The game is also scheduled to air on television and is being produced by AggieVision. Comcast will carry the production throughout New Mexico; however, it will be blacked-out in the Las Cruces area. Fans should check with their local cable or satellite provider for airtimes. Live stats are available online at www.NMStateSports.com and in-game updates are given on Twitter @NMStateAggies.
NM State takes on Chicago State, Saturday, Feb. 15 in the Pan American Center. Following the game against Kansas City tabbed as the Lou Henson Classic, the Chicago State game is set to air on the radio with coverage on KGRT 104 FM in Las Cruces with AggieVision producing the game for television. TV coverage in Las Cruces will be blacked out but Comcast will carry the game throughout the rest of New Mexico. Please check with local cable and satellite providers for show times. 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).
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
NM State has had two seven-game winning streaks this season with the first starting on Nov. 9 against Tennessee State in Honolulu. The final victory of that streak was against Prairie View A&M as the Aggies won 91-60 in Las Cruces on Nov. 27. The second seven-game winning streak began on Dec. 14 in Des Moines, Iowa when NM State defeated Drake 81-63 in overtime. The final victory of that streak came against Idaho on Jan. 11 when NM State won 78-54 in the Pan American Center. The winning streak was snapped by Chicago State on Jan. 16, when they fell 86-81 on the road. The Aggies then lost their second straight Western Athletic Conference game of the year to Kansas City 68-66 on the road as well, Jan. 18. However, the Aggies managed to recover with three consecutive home victories, including a dominating 72-49 win over first place Utah Valley, Saturday, Feb. 1.
The Aggies are now sitting at 7-3 in league play after losing a game to Idaho on Thursday, Feb. 6 and winning a game, 92-77 over Seattle U on Saturday, Feb. 8. Both games were on the road taking NM State to 6-6 on the road this season and 2-3 when facing WAC opponents on the road.
NM State is averaging 78.4 points per game this season and is shooting 48.9 percent from the field. It is shooting fairly well from behind the 3-point arc as well, hitting 37.3 percent of its 3-point attempts. The NM State defense is holding its opponents to a 41.5 shooting percentage on the year and is out-rebounding the opposing teams by an average of 36.4 per game to 32.6 per game (+3.8 rebounding margin).
Junior guard Daniel Mullings leads all scorers on the squad with 17.3 points per game and is also the defensive leader of the team with a league 47 steals on the year. He is second in the league in steals per game averaging 1.96 per competition. He also has 80 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 on the WAC in blocked shots with 69 blocks this season. Junior Tshilidzi Nephawe is now the team leader in rebounds with 7.6 per game and he also has 36 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 44.1 percent of his attempts and is No. 5 in the WAC in 3-points per game with 2.23 per. Junior KC Ross-Miller is second on the team in 3-point shooting percentage going 39.7 percent from behind the 3-point arc (23-of-58).
Senior forward/center Renaldo Dixon has made 10 consecutive starts heading into Thursday’s game against Kansas City and is averaging 24.9 minutes per competition. He is posting 8.3 points per game and is grabbing 5.4 rebounds per game.
Looking Back (game recap vs. Seattle)
The New Mexico State men’s basketball team defeated Seattle U 92-77 Saturday, Feb. 8, in Key Arena. The Aggies are now 18-8 on the year and 7-3 in Western Athletic Conference play. Seattle U fell to 11-11 overall and 3-6 in league play.
The Aggies started the game down 8-6 early on, but used several runs to take the lead. NM State finished the half strong scoring six of the final eight points of the half. The Aggies, who were led by Aronis’ 10 points, finished the half leading 45-36.
Senior Renaldo Dixon was 3-of-8 from the field and 5-of-7 from the free throw line for 11 points and fellow senior Kevin Aronis added 10 points that included three treys and a free throw. The Aggies as a team shot 57.6 percent from the field while holding the Redhawks to a 43.5 field goal shooting percentage. NM State posted nine blocks with center Sim Bhullar leading the charge with four. Dixon and Nephawe added two blocks a piece. The Aggies had seven steals on the night with Ross-Miller coming up with a game-high three steals and Mullings adding two.
Nephawe went 10-of-14 (71.4%) from the field and hit 2-of-3 free throws while grabbing a team-high eight rebounds. He also added two blocks and had one steal on the defensive side of the court while playing 37 minutes. Five other Aggies scored in double figures with junior Daniel Mullings putting in 16, junior DK Eldridge scoring 15, and junior KC Ross-Miller adding 13.
Lou Henson Classic History
The Lou Henson Classic has been an Aggie tradition since the first game against Chicago State in a 80-74 win for NM State on 2 Dec., 2006. Since that first game, the Aggies have gone 8-1 in the Lou Henson classic, with their only loss coming to North Texas in a close one, 72-75 (Dec. 1, 2007).
The Aggies have beaten the likes of San Francisco, Fresno State and Pacific during the Classic, with two of their eight wins coming against Chicago State.
Last year’s Classic was against Seattle U, where the aggies walked away with a 60-57 win over the Red Hawks. Then sophomore guard Daniel Mullings had a game-high 18 points to lead the Aggies and then freshman center Sim Bhullar recorded a near double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds. Senior forward Bandja Sy added nine points, and then junior forward Renaldo Dixon had eight.
The Aggie offense was held to 34 percent shooting for the night going 16-of-47, but the defense stepped up and blocked eight shots. Bhullar led the effort with four blocks. NM State also protected the ball and only committed nine turnovers despite Seattle's full-court press.
The Aggies narrowly escaped Seattle’s late onslaught, with Bhullar putting the game away hitting the front end of two free throws for a three point lead. The victory kept the Aggies 11 game win streak going which the extended to 12 until finally losing to Utah State on Dec. 16, 2012.
Lou Henson Classic Record
12/01/07…North Texas………….72-75 (L)
Series History vs. Kansas City
This will be the second meeting between NM State and Kansas City. The ‘Roos defeated NM State, 68-88, Jan. 18 in Kansas City, Missouri.
L (68-66)… Road … Jan. 23, 2014
Scouting the Kangaroos
Kansas City is coached by Kareem Richardson who is in his first season as head coach of the Kangaroos. Having previously been an assistant coach at Xavier and Louisville, Richardson has been to the NCAA tournament three times, twice as a coach and once as a player, winning the tournament as an assistant for Louisville in 2013. Entering the WAC for the first time this season, The Kangaroos are sitting at 4-4 in WAC play, while going 7-14 overall. The team has six seniors on the roster, also with six freshman and nine newcomers to the team this year. The team is returning four starters however, as well as four other letter winners.
The Kangaroos are being outscored by opponents by an average margin of 8.9 points a game this season, averaging 69 points a game total. They are shooting .429 percent from the field this year, while only shooting .286 percent from the three-point arc. The team is led in scoring by Martez Harrison who is averaging 16.7 points a game. Harrison also leads the team in assists and steals, with totals of 80 and 37 respectively. Nelson Kirksey is second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.2 points a game and also adding 130 rebounds on the season.
Last Game Against Kansas City
Senior forward Renaldo Dixon posted a career-high 34 points against Missouri-Kansas City, but that wasn’t enough as the New Mexico State men’s basketball team fell 68-66 in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Jan. 18.
NM State dropped to 14-7 on the year and 3-2 in Western Athletic Conference play, while UMKC moved to 6-11 overall and 3-2 in the league after the UMKC win.
The Aggies outscored the Kangaroos 38-31 in the second half and had tied the game up with six seconds left off a big three-pointer from Kevin Aronis. The Aggies then committed a foul as UMKC’s Matez Harrison dribbled the ball up the sideline with four second left. Harrison made both free throws to give the Kangaroos a 68-66 lead and the eventual win.
The Aggies shot just 41.1 percent in the loss, while the ‘Roos shot 46.6 percent. NM State shot 17 three-pointers during the game, only connecting on three.
Renaldo Dixon went 13-19 from the field, while going 6-of-8 from the free-throw line. Tshilidzi Nephawe led the team with nine rebounds while Dixon added eight. As a team, the Aggies out rebounded the Kangaroos by a slim margin, 34-33.
Nephawe went 4-6 from the field while also hitting 6-of-9 from the line. KC Ross-Miller also added four from the free-throw line while only missing two. Nephawe had four blocked shots and Dixon added another three.
Series History versus Chicago State
This will be the sixth meeting between the Aggies and Chicago State. The Aggies are 4-1 all-time after falling to the Cougars earlier this season on the road. The Aggies are 2-0 when taking on Chicago State at home and are now 1-1 when facing it on the road. They are also 1-0 against it on a neutral court.
W (78-63)…Neutral … Dec. 10, 2005
W (80-74)…Home…Dec. 1, 2006
W (88-78)…Away…Jan. 1, 2007
W (94-61)…Home… Nov. 30, 2007
L (86-81)…Away…Jan. 16, 2014
Scouting the Cougars
The Cougars are coached by Tracy Dildy. Dildy was previously an assistant coach at notable schools such as Ole Miss (2004-06) and Auburn (2002-04). The Cougars used 15 different starting line ups last season, starting 11 different players starting a contest. Cougars are led this year by senior Quinton Pippen who is averaging 15.9 points per game along with 1.7 steals a game during the season.
The Cougars are leading the WAC in steals per game averaging 9.75 steals per game during the season. Clarke Rosenberg adds 14.8 points per game for the Cougars, who are averaging 70 points a contest this season. The Cougars shoot large number of three-pointers, hitting 150 on the season while shooting .339 percent from behind the arc. Chicago State is led in rebounding by Matt Ross who has recorded 166 boards on the season. Both Rosenberg and Pippen have 55 assists each on the year, while Ross also leads the teams in blocks with 31.
Last Game Against Chicago State
The New Mexico State men’s basketball team dropped its first Western Athletic Conference game of the season and ended its seven-game win streak after falling to Chicago State, 86-81, in Chicago, Ill., Thursday, Jan. 16.
The Aggies fell to 14-6 overall and 3-1 in the WAC after the loss. Chicago State moved to 8-9 on the year and 3-0 in conference play after the game.
Junior guard Daniel Mullings led all scorers with 26 points that included 8-of-9 shooting from the free throw line, as well as going 8-17 from the field. Mullings also added some steals to his career total, leading the team with five and adding three assists as well.
The Aggies as a team struggled from the charity stripe going 21-of-37 for a 56.8 free-throw percentage. NM State dominated the boards out-rebounding the Cougars 36-26. The Aggie also made 10 three-pointers on the evening with senior guard Kevin Aronis leading the way going 5-of-7 from behind the 3-point arc for 15 points.
Junior Tshilidzi Nephawe marked his fifth double-double of the season, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, but went 4-of-10 from the free throw line. Junior guard DK Eldridge played tough and chipped in with 14 points, two rebounds and three assists, going 5-9 from the field.
Aronis saw some big minutes in the game, playing 26 minutes. KC Ross-Miller only went 2-6 from the field, but added six assists for the Aggies total of 15.
Player to Watch (Tshilidzi Nephawe)
Redshirt junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe is in the midst of a career season for the Aggies. The South African native is coming off a career-high 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting during NM State’s game at Seattle (Feb. 8). He also added eight rebounds and a couple of blocked shots during the game. Nephawe also had a career-high 15 rebounds versus Texas-Pan American (Jan. 25) and a career-high six blocked shots against Idaho (Jan. 11) earlier in the season.
Nephawe is averaging 10.9 points/game this season and is one of only three Aggies averaging double-figure points. He is shooting over 50 percent from the field (55.2) and also leads the team with a 7.6 rebounds/game average. Nephawe also has a team-high six double-doubles on the season.
Nephawe earned all-tournament team accolades during NM State’s opening tournament of the season, the Outrigger Hotels and Resort Rainbow Classic in Hawai’i. He shot 65 percent from the field throughout the tournament and averaged 11 points and 7.7 rebounds/game. He scored what was then a career-high 18 points during the first game of the tournament verus Western Michigan (Nov. 7). Nephawe followed that up the following day by marking his first double-double of the season after putting up 11 points and 11 rebounds against Tennessee State.
Nephawe’s scoring average, rebound average, shooting percentage and 36 blocked shots on the season are all career-highs for the Aggie big man. He is tied for third in the WAC (all-games played) in rebounds with 7.6 per game, fourth in field goal percentage shooting 55.2 percent on the year and third in blocked shots with 1.38 blocks per game. In WAC play, Nephawe is tied for first in blocked shots with 24.
Aggie Free Throws
NM State is currently ranked second in the nation for free throw attempts (767) and third for free throws made (529). With a 69.0 free throw percent, the Aggies place fourth in the WAC for overall games but fifth in WAC only games with a 68.3 free throw percentage.
KC Ross-Miller (82.7) and Reynaldo Dixon (79.7) lead the way for the Aggies from the charity stripe. NM State’s Daniel Mullings has more attempted shots than any other Aggie and has made more free throw shots than any other player.
During the 2013-2014 season both Ross-Miller and Mullings had extended streaks for free throws made.
Ross-Miller’s streak began against New Mexico on Dec. 4, 2013 when he went 2-for-2 on the line. Ross-Miller made consecutive shots for seven games of the season totaling 27 free throws during those games. The streak was broken when the Aggies played Seattle U at the Pan American Center and Ross-Miller went 2-for-6 on the line. During the season, Ross-Miller has shot at 100 percent for 15 games totaling 48 points during that time.
Mullings was perfect from the line for five games during the 2013-2014 season. His consecutive streak began against Texas Pan-American where he went 13-15, making the last two free throw shots of the game. Mullings made consecutive free throws until facing Utah Valley on Feb. 1 where he went 2-for-4 during the game. Mullings totals 28 points for free throws during when he went 100 percent from the line.
Aggies in the WAC (as of Feb. 10)
The Aggies still hold the best overall record of all WAC teams, sitting at 18-8 on the year. In the WAC the Aggies are still sitting in a tie for second place with Grand Canyon, both trailing the first place Utah Valley.
After going 1-1 in their recent road trip, the Aggies are looking forward to a two game home stretch vs. Kansas City (Feb. 13) and Chicago State (Feb. 15). The Aggies are ranked first in the WAC in scoring offense (78.4/game) and are also first in scoring margin with a +8.7 per game.
At the top of the rankings for field goal percentage (.489), the Aggies are third in the WAC in scoring defense, allowing 69.7 points per game, while still having the best field goal percentage defense (.415).
The Aggies enter the home stretch still leading the WAC in total blocked shots with 159 total. The Aggies are doing some damage on the glass in the WAC, sitting at second on both rebounding offensive (36.4) and rebounding defense (32.6).
Individually, the Aggies have made their mark on the leader board, holding a top five spot in nine categories.
Aggies in the Nation (As of Feb. 10)
Aggies dropped another sport to third in the nation in free throws made (529) and stayed second in the nation in free throws attempted (767) after being ranked first in both categories through the first half of the year. The Aggies moved up two spots to fifth in the nation in total blocks with 159 on the season. The Aggies continue their slide down the leader board, now ranking 23rd in the nation with 946 total rebounds on the year. The Aggies field goal percentage improved to 48.9 percent on the season, moving them to 12th in the nation.
Sophomore center Sim Bhullar is sixth in the nation in blocked shots per game with 3.45 blocks a game, while junior guard Daniel Mullings moved to 29th in the nation in total steals with 49 on the year. Kevin Aronis is still making an impact from deep, being ranked 77th in total three-point field goals made, with 58 on the season.
Aggies at Home
NM State is 11-1 at home this season, including a perfect 5-0 in conference play. The Aggies have won 19-consecutive WAC games inside the Pan American Center. The last conference-home loss for NM State came over two years ago, a 68-60 loss to former WAC member Nevada on Jan. 26, 2012. The Aggies have only lost twice at home during the last two seasons with both losses coming at the hands of in-state rival New Mexico.
NM State is averaging 83 points/game inside the Pan Am Center while only allowing 66.3 points/game for a +16.7 scoring margin. The highest scoring game this season for the Aggies came against Northern New Mexico (97-47). That was also the largest margin of victory NM State has had, beating the opponent by a staggering 50 points. The Aggies have reached the 90-point mark at home a total of four times.
NM State outshoots its opponents at home 52.6 percent (67-183) to 40.2 percent (63-163) and outrebounds its opponents at a rate of 36.6 rebounds/game to 30.8 rebounds/game.
Individually, junior guard Daniel Mullings averages a team-leading 19.2 points/game at home while shooting 54.3 percent (69-127). Three other Aggies also average double-digit points inside the Pan Am including junior guard DK Eldridge (13.3), center Tshilidzi Nephawe (11.0) and senior forward Renaldo Dixon (10.6). Nephawe also leads the team in rebounding at home averaging 7.3 rebounds/game.
Sophomore center Sim Bhullar has 32 blocks at home and leads the team by shooting 66.7 percent (30-45) from his home floor. Dixon is also shooting over 60 percent inside the Pan Am Center as he currently shoots 60.8 percent from the floor (45-74).
Dixon also leads the team in free-throw percentage at home and is one of two Aggies shooting in the 90 percentile from the charity stripe at home. Dixon has a 90.2 free-throw percentage (37-of-41) while senior guard Kevin Aronis is at 90 percent (9-of-10).
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 154 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 34 straight games he has played in while recording three or more blocks in 12 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 3.5 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 (2002-03), 200
2. Sim Bhullar (2012-Present), 154
3. Hamidu Rahman (2008-12), 137
4. Slab Jones (1976-80), 124
5. Charles Gosa (1995-99), 116
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 432 points this season and now has 1,249 points in his career. He is currently averaging 17.3 points per game this season and is looking to climb 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 84 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) – 1,249
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 46 this season. Mullings has 21 steals in conference games. The Aggies have a total of 132 steals and 53 in conference games this season.
Mullings tied a career-high seven steals against Seattle University on January 9. Mullings had a total of five steals on Jan. 16 against Chicago State. NM State is averaging 5.0 steals per game compared to their opponent’s average of 5.4 steals versus the Aggies.
Mullings has 186 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 School 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) – 186
4. James Moore (2000-03) – 174
5. Randy Brown (1988-92) – 162
Mullings Earns Second Consecutive WAC Player of the Week Award
The Western Athletic Conference office named junior guard Daniel Mullings the WAC men’s basketball Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 27-Feb. 2. This is his fourth Player of the Week honor of the season and the fourth of his career.
Mullings, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Laurier HS), averaged 20.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in two wins last week to help the Aggies hold on to a tie for second place in the WAC standings. He was also a perfect 20-for-20 from the charity stripe.
In an 89-86 victory over Bakersfield, Mullings led the Aggies with 19 points, including four points in the final two minutes of the game, to go along with six rebounds and two assists. He followed it up with a game-high 21 points while also tying for the New Mexico State lead in rebounds with eight in a blowout win over Utah Valley, which entered the game on an eight-game winning streak and was undefeated in WAC play.
Foreign Players at NM State
Out of 524 NCAA Division I players, the Aggies are recognized for a team that has a large amount of foreign players on the roster. With seven foreigners, NM State is joined by Eastern Washington, Maine and Nicholls St. as having the highest number of foreign players a majority coming from Canada and Australia.
Center Tshilidzi Nephawe, from Johannesburg, South Africa is the team leader with 7.6 rebounds per game and has 198 this season. Sim Bhullar, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada is the leader in blocked shots by a large margin with 69, compared to the second closest player, Nephawe, with 36. Renaldo Dixon, a forward from Toronto, Ontario, Canadahas 28 blocks and is averaging 8.3 points per game.
Bhullar also marks the highest field goal percentage at 67.6 percent. Forward Remi Barry from Paris, France, is out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury against Colorado State earlier this season. Also from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Daniel Mullings leads the team in scoring with 17.3 points per game and 432 total points this year.