Aggies Take on Chicago State on the Road, Thursday
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  01/14/2014

NM State vs. Chicago State Coverage

Television: None

Radio: KGRT 103.9 FM (play-by-play: ‘Voice of the Aggies’ - Jack Nixon)

Live Stats: www.NMStateSports.com (click on live events link)

Twitter: @NMStateAggies

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team (14-5, 3-0 WAC) heads to Chicago, Ill. to face Chicago State (7-9, 2-0 WAC) in a Western Athletic Conference match-up, Thursday, Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. (MT).  Fans can listen to the pregame show at 5:30 p.m. with the Hall of Famer ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon on KGRT 103.9 FM in Las Cruces. 

Looking Ahead

NM State continues its weekend road trip as it heads to Kansas City, Mo., to take on Kansas City, Saturday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. (MT).  The game is set to air on the radio on the Aggie Sports Network.   The Aggie Sports Network includes radio coverage in Alamogordo (107.1 FM), Albuquerque (101.7 FM), Artesia (990 AM) and Carlsbad (1240 AM).

About the Aggies

NM State is riding a seven-game winning streak, which is the second seven-game winning streak of the season.  The Aggies also marked seven straight wins from Nov. 9, 2013 through Nov. 27, 2013.  During the recent string of wins, the Aggies have not gone into a half trailing their opponent.

The Aggies are averaging 78.1 points per game this season and are shooting 48 percent from the field, while they are shooting fairly well from behind the 3-point arc as well, hitting 38.3 percent of their 3-point attempts.  The NM State defense is holding its opponents to a 40 percent shooting percentage on the year and is out-rebounding the opposing teams by an average of 37.2 per game to 33.6 per game (+3.6 rebounding margin).

Junior guard Daniel Mullings leads all scorers on the squad with 16.4 points per game and is also the defensive leader of the team with a league-high 37 steals this season.  He also has 63 assists on the offensive end of the court and six blocks on the defensive side.

Sophomore Sim Bhullar, who has sat out the last three games due to a foot injury, leads the team with 7.4 rebounds per game and has a WAC-best 53 blocks this season.  Junior Tshilidzi Nephawe is second on the team in rebounds with 7.1 per game and he has 21 blocks this year, after marking a career-best six blocks against Idaho (Jan. 11).

Junior guard KC Ross-Miller has the best 3-point shooting percentage at 46.3 percent (19-of-41) but senior guard Kevin Aronis has made the most 3-pointers with 40, while shooting 41.2 percent (40-of-97).  Junior guard DK Eldridge has also been shooting the ball well from behind the 3-point arc hitting 42.9 percent (24-of-56) of his shots.

Senior forward/center Renaldo Dixon has made three consecutive starts heading into Thursday’s game against the Cougars and is averaging 23.2 minutes per game this season.  He is posting 6.9 points per game and is averaging 5.2 rebounds per game. 

Seven-Game Win Streak

During the first seven-game win streak of the season the Aggies were posting 80.7 points per game and holding their opponents to 66.1 points per game.  In this second seven-game win streak, NM State is marking 83.6 points per game and holding the opposing team to an average of 63.4 points per game.

Daniel Mullings led the team with 18.6 points per game in the first seven-game win streak of the year and leads the team during this current win streak with 13.8 points per game.  There were four Aggies with double-figure scoring figures in the first win streak and there are six players scoring in double figures during this second win streak (Mullings, Eldridge, Bhullar, Aronis, Ross-Miller, Nephawe).

NM State defeated its opponents by an average of 14.6 points per game during the November win streak and is currently defeating its opponents by 20.1 points per game.  The Aggies seemed to have been rebounding a little better during that first win streak, out-rebounding their opponents by 8.6 boards per game, while they are out-rebounding their opponents by 4.3 per game during this streak.

Mullings Named WAC Player of the Week for the Second Time This Season

The Western Athletic Conference office announced on Monday, January 13, that junior guard Daniel Mullings has been named Western Athletic Conference men’s basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 6-12.

Mullings led the Aggies to a pair of wins over Seattle U and Idaho last week. In a 96-87 win over Seattle U on Thursday, Mullings recorded his second double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds. He also tied a career-high with seven steals and dished out six assists. In NM State’s 78-54 win over Idaho, Mullings scored 16 points with six rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal.

For the week, Mullings averaged 14.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.0 steals per game. He shot 42.9 percent (9-of-21) from the field, 60.0 percent (3-of-5) from the three-point line, and 60.0 percent (8-of-12) from the free throw line.

Aggies on the Road

NM State is 5-3 on the road this season and 1-1 when playing at a neutral site.  The Aggies picked up great road wins against Hawai’i (Nov. 12), Drake (Dec. 14) and New Mexico (Dec. 17).  NM State is shooting 45.7 percent on the road and is scoring 75.4 points per game, while holding its opponents to 73.4 points per game.  The Aggies are being out-rebounded on the road this season 37.0-35.1 but have more assists than their opponents when playing on the road.

Guard Daniel Mullings leads the Aggies in scoring on the road posting 16.6 points per game and has a team-high 17 steals on the road this season.  Guard K.C. Ross-Miller is second on the team in scoring on the road with 12.9 points per game and his free throw shooting in an opponent’s arena has been stellar.  He has hit 43-of-48 free throw shots for a 89.6 road free throw percentage.

Guard DK Eldridge has also been playing well on the road this season averaging 9.8 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game while playing 27.5 minutes per game.  Junior Tshilidzi Nephawe is grabbing 7.3 rebounds per game and is hitting 50 percent of his shots during road games this season.

Aggies in the WAC

NM State has the best overall record among WAC schools at 14-5.  The Aggies lead the conference standings with a 3-0 WAC record and are one of three undefeated teams in the conference (Utah Valley and Chicago State are 2-0).

In all games, the Aggies lead the conference in scoring offense (78.1 points/game), field goal percentage (.480) and scoring margin (+9.9).

NM State’s defense also leads the WAC in opponent’s field goal percentage, holding opponents to 40.2 percent shooting, while standing in second in the WAC in scoring defense, allowing 68.2 points per game. 

The Aggies lead the conference in blocked shots (112) and blocked shots per game (5.89).  NM State has almost twice as many blocked shots as second-place Bakersfield (59).

The Aggies are also second in the conference in 3-point shooting percentage (.383), rebounding (37.2 rebounds/game) and rebound margin (+3.6) while placing third in free throw percentage (.698), assists per game (13.16), defensive rebounds per game (25.21) and offensive rebounds per game (12.00).

In WAC play, NM State is No. 1 in scoring (86.0 points/game), scoring margin (+18.3), field goal percentage defense (.416), blocked shots (18), blocked shots per game (6.00) and 3-point field goals made per game (8.67).  The Aggies are second in field goal percentage (.482), 3-point field goal percentage (.441), rebound defense (32.3 allowed/game) and are tied for second in assists per game (15.00).

Despite missing all three WAC contests with a foot injury, sophomore center Sim Bhullar still handily leads the conference in overall blocked shots (53) and blocked shots per game (3.31).  He is also the WAC overall leader in field goal percentage, shooting at a 67 percent tilt (61-91).

Bhullar also ranks fourth among WAC players in total rebounds per game (7.4) and offensive rebounds per game (2.56) while placing sixth in defensive rebounds per game (4.81).

Fellow center Tshilidzi Nephawe is right behind Bhullar, placing fourth in the WAC in field goal percentage (.530), third in blocked shots (21), fifth in blocked shots per game (1.11), sixth in total rebounds per game (7.1), fifth in defensive rebounds per game (4.84) and seventh in offensive rebounds per game (2.21).

Senior forward Renaldo Dixon makes it three Aggies in the top 5 in blocked shots.  Dixon is right behind Nephawe with 19 blocked shots, which rank him fourth in the WAC.  His 1.00 blocked shot per game average is good enough for seventh in the conference.

Junior guard K.C. Ross-Miller leads the WAC in free throw percentage shooting at a 86.4 percent average (70-81).  Ross-Miller also leads the conference in total assists with 70 helpers on the season.  He is fourth in assists per game (3.68) and second in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (.463) and assist/turnover ratio (1.84).  

NM State’s leading scorer, junior guard Daniel Mullings, is third in the WAC in scoring with a 16.4 points per game average.  He leads the conference in steals with 37 and steals per game (2.06).  Mullings is also third in assist/turnover ratio (1.50), fifth in total assists (63) and sixth in assists per game (3.50).

Senior guard Kevin Aronis is fourth in the WAC with 40 3-point field goals made and is sixth in the conference with a 2.11 3-pointers per game average.  He also is seventh in the WAC in 3-point field goal percentage with a 41.2 percent average (40-97). 

Fellow guard DK Eldridge leads the Aggies in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc (24-56), good enough for fifth-best in the WAC. 

Eldridge is also the leading scorer for NM State in WAC contests.  His 15.7 points per game average in WAC games is 12th-best in the conference.  Mullings is right behind, averaging 14.7 points per game, placing him in a tie for 15th best.  Eldridge is also eighth in rebounds per game during WAC play (8.3) and second in offensive rebounds per game (4.33).

NM State WAC leaders during conference play include Mullings’ 10 steals and 3.33 steals per game average, which are best in the WAC.  Ross-Miller’s .714 shooting percentage from 3-point range (5-7) in three WAC games is also tops in the conference.  Ross-Miller is also third in the conference in shooting percentage during WAC play (.667).

Even without the conference’s overall blocked shot leader, the Aggies still have the top shot blocker during WAC play.  Nephawe has nine blocked shots and a 3.00 blocked shots per game average to lead the conference.

Aronis, meanwhile, is second in WAC play with 11 3-point field goals made and a 3.67 threes per game average.  He is also fourth with a .550 3-point field goal percentage (11-20).

Aggies in the Nation

NM State leads the nation in free throw attempts (559) and free throws made (390).  The Aggies also rank seventh in the country in total blocks (112), eighth in total rebounds (707), 26th in blocked shots per game (5.9) and 45th in total assists (250).  NM State’s scoring offense (78.1 points/game) is ranked 57th in the nation while its field goal percentage (48.0) is 37th-best in the country.

Sophomore center Sim Bhullar is 13th in the nation in blocked shots with 53 on the season and 14th in blocked shots per game with a 3.31 average.  Junior guard Daniel Mullings is 53rd in the country with a 2.06 steals per game average while fellow junior guard K.C. Ross-Miller’s 86.4 free throw shooting percentage is 54th-best in the nation.

NM State RPI

Although the Aggies won both games last week they dropped two spots in the RPI from No. 52 to No. 54.  The Aggies have the highest RPI of any team in the WAC.  Kansas City is the closest to the Aggies at 168, while Thursday’s opponent, Chicago State is at 186.  The rest of the WAC goes in this order: Seattle U 194, Utah Valley 199, Idaho 273, Bakersfield 287, Grand Canyon 290, and Texas Pan American 327.

Aggie versus Chicago State

The Aggies are 4-0 all-time against Chicago State.  The two teams first met during the 2005-06 season when NM State defeated the Cougars 78-63 during the San Francisco Invitational. The Aggies and Cougars last faced each other on Nov. 30, 2007 in the Pan American Center when NM State walked away with a 94-61 victory.

Scouting the Cougars

Chicago State is 7-9 overall and 2-0 in WAC play after defeating UMKC on Saturday on a last second shot on Jan. 11 in Kansas City.  It was the team’s scoring leader, Quinton Pippen who scored the last second shot, giving Chicago State its second league win of the year.  Pippen is averaging 14.5 points per game and is one of three Cougars averaging double figures in scoring this year.  Clarke Rosenberg is posting 13.4 points per game and Matt Ross is putting in 11.6 points per game.

The Cougars are scoring 69.5 points per game on 42.3 field goal shooting, with Rosenberg shooting a team-best 49.4 percent from the field.  Corey Gray is their most efficient 3-point shooter hitting 45.2 percent of his 3-point attempts (19-of-42) and Pippen has made the most 3-pointers with 38 this season (38.4 percent). 

Ross is pulling down a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game while the Cougars as a team are being out rebounded by an average of 8.7 boards per game.  Rosenberg has made the most free throws on the team with 48, while he is shooting 48 percent from the charity stripe.  Ross, however, is the most efficient free throw shooter on the team hitting 89.3 of his attempts (25-of-28).

Last Time Versus Chicago State (Game Recap)

Justin Hawkins scored 26 points and had 11 rebounds as New Mexico State beat Chicago State 94-61 in the first round of the Lou Henson Classic on Nov. 30, 2007.

Hawkins scored 17 of his game-high points in the first half, helping the Aggies (3-5) to a 45-34 lead at the break. Hawkins was 8-of-12 from the field and 8-of-8 from the free throw line for the night.

The Cougars (2-6) pulled to within four points, 23-19, midway through the first half. New Mexico State followed with 10 unanswered points, six by Hawkins, to take a 33-19 lead. By the break, they stretched the lead to 45-34.

The Aggies dominated the boards, outrebounding Chicago State 48-22. New Mexico State also controlled the inside game, more than doubling the Cougars on points scored in the paint, 48-23.

Chicago State stars David Holston and John Cantrell helped close the gap to 47-41 at the start of the second half, but the Aggies went on an 18-6 run.

After a brief Cougar rally, the Aggies followed with another 18-7 run to put the game away for good.

The Aggies' depth played a key role in the win, as the bench scored 27 points on the night. Martin Iti led all non-starters with 11 points, Fred Peete had 19 points and Jonathan Gibson finished with 11.

Cantrell scored 19 points for Chicago State. Holston had 18 and Carl Montgomery added 13.

Mullings Climbs the Steals List

This season, guard Daniel Mullings leads the team in steals with 37. He ranks fourth on the all-time list with 177. He recently surpassed former Aggie great Randy Brown (1988-92), who had 162 steals. Mullings is averaging 2.1 steals per game this season. In 19 games, Mullings has recorded 11 games with at least two steals, including four games with three steals.

Against Seattle U on Jan. 9, Mullings tied a career-high seven steals.  He marked seven steals against Seattle U almost one year to the date as he picked up seven steals on Jan. 10, 2013 in Seattle.

If Mullings keeps his current pace of 2.1 steals per game, by the end of the regular season he will rank third all-time with 194.  He is currently tied for third on the all-time steals list at NM State with former Aggie All-American James Moore (2000-03).

Career Steals at NM State

1. Hearnst Leroche (2008-12) – 216

2. William Benjamin (1988-92) – 209

3. Daniel Mullings (2012-Present) – 174

   James Moore (2000-03) – 174

Mullings Reaches 1,000 – 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 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-of-14 from the field while also making 6-of-9 free throws.

Mullings has scored 295 points this season and now has 1,112 points on his career.  He is currently averaging 16.4 points per game this season and is looking to climb the all-time scoring list.  Mullings moved up two spots from last week and is now at No. 21 on the all-time list after surpassing former Aggies Kenny Travis (1986-87) and Hamidu Rahman (2008-12).  He needs 14 more points to tie for 20th with former Aggie Justin Hawkins (2006-08).

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 all-time points scored. He was under coach Menzies from 2008-12 and scored a total of 400 points 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 his first two years. The most recent Aggies to enter the 1,000 Point Club were Wendell McKines, Hernst Laroche, and Hamidu Rahman in 2012.  Former Aggie Billy Keys is currently No. 31 on the 1,000-point list with 1,004 points in 65 games played (two seasons; 1999-00).

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 138 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 now tallied at least one block shot in 20 straight games he has played in.

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 3.4 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 (2000-03), 200

2. Sim Bhullar (2012-Present), 138

3. Hamidu Rahman (2008-12), 137

4. Slab Jones (1976-80), 124

5. Charles Gosa (1995-99), 116

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 Sim Bhullar from Toronto, Ontario, Canada is second on the team in total rebounds with 118 and is averaging 7.4. He is the leader by a large margin for blocks with 53, compared to the second closest player, Tshildzi Nephawe, a center from Johannesburg, South Africa ,with 21.  Renaldo Dixon, a forward from Toronto, Canada has 19 blocks and is averaging 6.9 points per game.

Nephawe is currently averaging 7.1 boards per game. Bhullar also marks the highest field goal percentage at 67 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 total points made with a 16.6 percent average and 295 actual points.

Slam Dunk

NM State has dunked the ball 70 times compared to its opponents only dunking it on the Aggies 35 times this year.  Sim Bhullar leads the way with 27 dunks after slamming it down on Hawai’i six times.  Daniel Mullings has had some of the most entertaining dunks, with one put-back dunk against Northern Colorado making ESPN Sportcenter’s Top 10 Plays, at No. 6, on Nov. 21.

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