The New Mexico State men's basketball team 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, ESPN Game Plan and ESPN3.com. The game is available on KGRT 104 FM with the 'Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon, and the pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to tip.
New Mexico State Aggies
For the second straight season, the Aggies have started the season with a 2-0 record. NM State defeated in-state rival New Mexico for the first time since Dec. 15, 2002, with a 62-53 victory in Albuquerque, Nov. 16. The Aggies have four players in double figures with redshirt senior Wendell McKines leading the way with 16.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Junior forward Bandja Sy and sophomore guard Christian Kabongo are adding 12.5 points and 12.0 points per game, respectively. Senior guard Hernst Laroche is averaging 10.5 points and 5.5 assists per game.
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.
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 Down New Mexico 62-53 in The Pit
NM State utilized a strong defensive effort to defeat in-state rival New Mexico, 62-53, Nov. 16. This was the first win for the Aggies in The Pit since Dec. 15, 2002. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines led the way with 14 second-half points and a game-high nine rebounds. Junior forward Bandja Sy added 12 points including a late three-point play and critical blocked shot in the final 30 seconds of the game. Senior center Hamidu Rahman provided 10 points and five rebounds. The win also broke a seven-game skid to the Lobos.
Aggie Defense Fuels Wins
In the win at UNM, NM State held the Lobos to 28 percent shooting for the game and a 4-of-21 performance in the second half. The Aggies also forced 21 turnovers, which is the second consecutive game an opponent has committed 20 or more turnovers.
Strong Second-Half Showings
In the first two games of the year on the road, the Aggies have been tied or trailing at halftime. NM State has surged in the second half and outscored opponents to 84-56.
Driving to the Basket
The Aggies haven't been afraid to drive to the basket this season. NM State has taken 79 free throw attempts in two games and has 37 more attempts than its opponents.
Aggies Own the Glass
NM State has a renewed focus on rebounding this season with a very experience front court. The Aggies have a +7.0 rebounding margin and 79-65 advantage on the boards. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines is averaging 9.5 rebounds, and senior center Hamidu Rahman is adding 6.5 boards per game.
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 3,279 career minutes played, and he ranks No. 5 on the school record list. He needs just 504 minutes to tie all-time leader Eric Channing (3,783).
Laroche also ranks second on the all-time list for career assists (427) at NM State. He trails Sam Crawford by 171 assists (592).
Career Leaders in Assists
1. Sam Crawford-592
2. Hernst Laroche-427
3. Keith Hill-379
4. Ernest Patterson-371
5. Steve Colter-347
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.
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. At New Mexico, Sy had 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting including a three-point play and critical blocked shot in the final possessions of game.
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.
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.
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
6. Sam Lacey-92
7. Martin Iti-82
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-78
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 780 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 780
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.
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.
The Aggies have nine newcomers this season with freshmen guards Daniel Mullings, Terrel de Rouen, D.J. Lewis, freshmen forwards Eric Weary, Remi Barry and sophomore guard K.C. Ross-Miller, while freshman center Sim Bhullar, freshman guard Emery Coleman, freshman forward Temjae Singleton are slated to redshirt.
Previewing the WAC
The Aggies were voted to finish second in the Preseason WAC coaches poll and third in the media poll. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines was voted to the Preseason All-WAC Coaches and Media teams, while senior guard Hernst Laroche earned a second team nod on the Preseason All-WAC Coaches team.
The 2011-12 Slate
The Aggies have 17 regular season games in the Pan American Center this season. Currently, the Aggies have two nationally televised games on ESPN2 at Utah State (Feb. 11) and at Nevada (March 1). The schedule includes a home game against Arizona (Nov. 29) and a trip to the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout.
The Aggies head to Anchorage, Alaska, for the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout, Nov. 24-26. NM State meets Central Michigan, Thursday, Nov. 24, at 8:30 p.m. and then UC Irvine or Southern Mississippi, Friday, Nov. 25. The tournament concludes Saturday, Nov. 26.