Aggies Take to the Road for Two WAC Games this Week
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  02/03/2014

NM State vs. Idaho Coverage

Television: N/A

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 (17-7, 6-2 WAC) takes on Idaho for the second time this season on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 8 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 be giving a play-by-play.  Live stats are available online at www.NMStateSports.com and in-game updates are given during the game on Twitter @NMStateAggies.

Looking Ahead

NM State takes on Seattle U, who is currently 1-6 in conference play, Saturday, Feb. 8 in Seattle, Wash. The game will air on the radio with coverage on KGRT 104 FM in Las Cruces with AggieVision and ROOT Sports also scheduled to produce the game. Please check with your local satellite or cable provider 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).

Post-Game Interviews

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 had its seven-game winning streak 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. However, the Aggies have 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 6-2 in league play as they head out to take on Idaho and Seattle U on the road this week. NM State is 5-5 when playing on the road and is 1-2 when taking on conference opponents on the road this season.

The Aggies are averaging 78.3 points per game this season and are shooting 48.5 percent from the field, while they are shooting fairly well from behind the 3-point arc as well, hitting 37.4 percent of their 3-point attempts.  The NM State defense is holding its opponents to a 41.4 percent shooting percentage on the year and is out-rebounding the opposing teams by an average of 36.6 per game to 32.4 per game (+4.2 rebounding margin).

Junior guard Daniel Mullings leads all scorers on the squad with 17.2 points per game and is also the defensive leader of the team with a league-high 46 steals this season.  He also has 72 assists on the offensive end of the court and nine blocks on the defensive side.

Sophomore Sim Bhullar, who returned to the court on Thursday Jan. 30 after missing six straight games due to a foot injury, leads the team with a WAC-best 60 blocks this season. Junior Tshilidzi Nephawe is now the team-leader in rebounds with 7.8 per game and he has 32 blocks this year, which includes a career-best six blocks against Idaho (Jan. 11).

Senior guard Kevin Aronis leads the Aggies in 3-point shooting percentage at 42.5 percent and has made the most 3-pointers with 51. Junior guard DK Eldridge is second on the team in 3-point shooting percentage going 40.0 percent from behind the 3-point arc (30-of-75).

Senior forward/center Renaldo Dixon has made eight consecutive starts heading into Thursday’s game against Idaho and is averaging 24.9 minutes per game this season.  He is posting 8.4 points per game and is grabbing 5.5 rebounds per game.

Looking Back (game recap vs. Utah Valley)

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team defeated top-seeded WAC team, Utah Valley 72-49, on Saturday night inside the Pan American Center. The Aggies improve to 17-7 overall and 6-2 in Western Athletic Conference play while the Wolverines receive their first loss in league play falling to 13-8 overall and 7-1 in the WAC.

The Aggies kept a steadily lead for most of the game, allowing the Wolverines to take the lead only once throughout the entire game. The Aggies kept the Wolverines shooting under control only giving up an average of 20 points per half.

NM State shot 54.8 percent from the field (25-of-44) compared to Utah Valley who shot 41.3 percent from the field. The Aggies converted the Wolverines 11 turnovers to 17 points in the game with a majority of the points off turnovers coming from the second half of the game.

Junior guard Daniel Mullings led the Aggies with 21 points hitting 12-of-12 free throw attempts. Center Tshilidzi Nephawe added 15 points and seven total rebounds in the game. 

Junior guard DK Eldridge also put up 13 total points making a good three-pointer in the last three minutes of the game.

Series history versus Idaho

This will be the 29th meeting between NM State and the Vandals. The Aggies defeated Idaho 78-54, Jan. 11, 2014 and are now 24-4 all-time against the Vandals.  NM State has won four straight versus the Vandals and are now 8-2 in the last 10 games against them.  The Aggies are 8-4 all-time against Idaho when playing it on the road and are 2-0 when facing Idaho on a neutral court.

The first meeting between the two teams came on Dec. 29, 1964 when NM State won 81-69 in Anaconda, Mont.  NM State first played Idaho on the road on Feb. 15, 1997 and the Aggies were victorious 88-55. The last time NM State lost to Idaho was in Moscow, Idaho on Feb. 9, 2012 when the Vandals enjoyed a 59-58 win.

Scouting the Vandals

Head Coach Don Verlin, in his fifth season leads the Vandals and is assisted by Tim Murphy, Chris Helbling and Kirk Earlywine all with at least one year with Idaho. Don Verlin has reached the post season in three of his five seasons coaching Idaho.

Idaho is 8-14 overall and 3-6 playing at home. Senior forward Stephen Madison leads Idaho in scoring averaging 17.9 points per game while adding 52 assists.  Junior guard Connor Hill has 53 rebounds this season and averages 14 points per game while shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range. Madison is the top rebounder with a total of 170.

The Vandals are scoring an average of 70.4 points per game this season and have tallied 758 rebounds, 233 assists and are shooting 34.4 percent from behind the 3-point arc.

Last Game Against Idaho

NM State defeated Idaho 78-54 the last time the two teams competed on Jan. 11, 2014 in the Pan American Center. 

The Aggies shot at 87.5 percent from the field and took 30 points from the Vandals 17 turnovers. NM State took the largest lead of the game by 32 points during the second half.

Fellow junior guards KC Ross-Miller and Daniel Mullings tied in total points putting up 16 in the game. Tshilidzi Nephawe added 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds and led the Aggies with six blocks for the game.

Aggies on the Road

NM State is 5-5 overall on the road this season while going 1-2 on the road during conference play. The most recent win on the road by the Aggies came against the Grand Canyon ‘Lopes on Jan. 4, 2014.

The Aggies have a +0.9 scoring margin scoring over their opponents on the road and are averaging 75.0 points per game. NM State takes 35.1 rebounds per game on average with 351 total rebounds in the season.

The Aggies have 45.3 percent field goal percentage hitting between 247-545 field goals on the road.

Fellow guards Daniel Mullings and KC Ross-Miller lead the team in total points with 162 (16.2/game) and 120 (12.0/game) total points in away games. Junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe leads NM State in rebounds averaging 7.9 rebounds per game.  Nephawe comes in second for the team in blocks just trailing Sim Bhullar who has 25 blocks on the road.

Aggie Rebounding

Ranking first in the WAC for defensive rebounds and fourth in offensive rebounding, the Aggies are dominating their opponents on the boards.  With a rebound margin of +4.2, the Aggies are averaging 36.6 rebounds a game while their opponents only average 32.4 versus the Aggies.

Tshilidzi Nephawe leads the Aggies averaging 7.8 boards a game, with 186 rebounds total.  After a short stay off the court due to injury, center Sim Bhullar has returned and brings his presence on the glass with him, averaging 7.0 rebounds a game this season, for a total of 126. 

Renaldo Dixon, Daniel Mullings and DK Eldrigde are also major contributors on the boards, totaling 352 rebounds on the season between them.  Three Aggies are in the top 15 of all WAC players for rebounds with Nephawe sitting at fourth, Bhullar and Dixon at 7th and 12th. 

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.

Mullings is averaging 17.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.0 steals per game this season. He is shooting 45.4 percent from the field and 74.1 percent from the free throw line this year.

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 pints during the 2012-13 season. During the 2011-2012 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-of-14 from the field while also making 6-of-9 free throws to finish with 17 points.

Mullings has scored 375 points this season and now has 1,213 points in his career. He is currently averaging 17.2 points per game this season and is looking to climb the all-time scoring list. Mullings currently sits at No. 15 on the list after he recently surpassed former Aggie Keith Hill (1987-90) who scored 1,201 points during his career and former Aggie point guard Hernst Laroche (2008-12) who tallied 1,209 points during his time in the Crimson & White.

He now needs 10 points to tie for the No. 14 spot and 20 points to tie for the No. 13 spot on the all-time scoring list at NM State. Johnny Roberson (1986-89) is currently holding the No. 14 spot with 1,223 points and former Aggie great Charles Gosa (1995-99) is holding onto the No. 13 spot with 1,233 points.

If Mullings maintains this pace, by the end of the regular season he will 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 1960-1962 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. Charles Gosa (1995-99) – 1,233

14. Johnny Roberson (1986-89) – 1,223

15. Daniel Mullings (2012-Present) – 1,213

16. Hernst Laroche (2008-12) – 1,209

17. Keith Hill (1987-90) – 1,201

18. “Super” John Williamson (1972-73) – 1, 168

Mullings with another Steal

Guard Daniel Mullings leads the team in steals with 46 this season.  Mullings has 19 steals in conference games.  The Aggies have a total of 121 steals and 42 in conference games.

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.  With a total of 123 steals; NM State is averaging 5.1 steals per game compared to their opponent’s average of 5.5 steals versus the Aggies.

Mullings has 183 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) – 183

4. James Moore (2000-03) – 174

5. Randy Brown (1988-92) – 162

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 7.8 rebounds per game and has 186 total this season. Sim Bhullar, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada is the leader in blocked shots by a large margin with 60, compared to the second cloest player, Naphawe, with 32. Reynaldo Dixon, a forward from Toronto, Ontario, Canada has 26 blocks and is averaging 8.4 points per game.

Bhullar also marks the highest field goal percentage at 66.7 percent. Froward 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 17.2 points per game and 369 total points this year.

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 145 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 22 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 3.5 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 (2000-03), 200

2. Sim Bhullar (2012-Present), 145

3. Hamidu Rahman (2008-12), 137

4. Slab Jones (1976-80), 124

5. Charles Gosa (1995-99), 116

Slam Dunk

NM State has dunked the ball 89 times compared to its opponents only dunking it on the Aggies 42 times this year. Sim Bhullar leads the way with 28 dunks after slamming it down on Hawai’i six times. Dixon is catching up to Bhullar with 23 dunks this year.

Daniel Mullings has had some of the most entertaining dunks, with one put-back dunk against Northern Colorado making ESPN Sportscenter’s Top 1- Plays, at No. 6, on Nov. 21.

Aggies in the WAC

NM State has the best overall record among the WAC schools at 17-7. The Aggies, however, are sitting in a tie for second with Grand Canyon at 6-2 in league play.

Heading into this week against Idaho Vandals the Aggies lead the conference in scoring offense (81.9/ game), field goal percentage (.495) and scoring margin (+10.6) in the WAC.

NM State is placed in the sixth seat for scoring defense with an average of (71.2).  Free Throw percentage seated fourth (.703) in the WAC.

The Aggies enter the week leading in blocked shots for all games with 142 on the season and blocked shots per game (5.92). NM State has almost more than double the number of blocked shots as second-placed Bakersfield (81).

The Aggies are also second in the conference in 3-point shooting percentage (.384), first in rebounds for all games (35.4 rebounds/game) and are ranked first with their rebound margin(+5.9) in the WAC. NM State stayed in the fourth seat in its free throw percentage (.703) ranked fifth  in assists per game (12.75), defensive rebounds per game tied for third with Kansas City (23.75) and third in offensive rebounds per game (11.63).

Individually the Aggies have lit it up the leader board rankings having at least one player in the top-10 in all categories.

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