The New Mexico State men's basketball team opens the 2012 WAC Tournament as the No. 2 seed and faces Fresno State, Thursday, March 8 at 3:30 p.m. in Las Vegas, Nev. 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
The Aggies are 23-9 this season and finished 10-4 in WAC play. NM State ended the regular season with an 83-78 overtime win at Fresno State, March 3. The Aggies have three players in double figures with redshirt senior Wendell McKines leading the way with 18.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Senior guard Hernst Laroche provides 12.1 points per game, and senior center Hamidu Rahman adds 10.4 points per game.
WAC Tournament History
Since joining the WAC in 2005-06, the Aggies have an 11-4 record in the conference tournament. NM State has won two tournament titles in 2007 and 2010. This season, the Aggies claimed the No. 2 seed, which is the highest placement for NM State since the 2007 tournament. In head coach Marvin Menzies' tenure, the Aggies have played in the championship game twice, 2008 and 2010. NM State fell to Boise State in triple overtime, 107-102, March 15, 2008 in Las Cruces, and defeated Utah State, 69-63, March 13, 2010 in Reno, Nev.
Four Aggies Collect All-WAC Honors
Four NM State players earned All-WAC honors, which are voted on by the conference's eight head coach. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines was named to the first team, senior guard Hernst Laroche was a second team selection, senior center Hamidu Rahman earned an honorable mention nod, and freshman guard Daniel Mullings was a member of the all-newcomer team. This was the first WAC postseason award for Laroche, Rahman and Mullings and second for McKines, who was an honorable mention in 2010.
Aggies Successful in 2011-12
The Aggies' 23 wins are the most since the 2006-07 season. This is the third 20-win season under head coach Marvin Menzies and highest win total in his tenure.
McKines Named WAC Player of the Week
Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines was named the Verizon WAC Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 27-March 4. The honor marks the second career WAC Player of the Week for McKines and third for the Aggies this year. McKines led the Aggies to a 1-1 road record last week. He pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds and scored 20 points in a come-from-behind win at Fresno State in overtime, March 3. The performance marked his 16th 20-point game of the season. He tied personal-best marks with four made 3-pointers, including three in the overtime period, and eight 3-point attempts. He also recorded his 18th double-double of the season and 45th of his career in the victory at Fresno State. At Nevada, March 1, McKines had a team-high 19 points and 13 rebounds. On the week, McKines averaged 19.5 points, 15.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He hit 8-of-16 three-point field goals on the week.
Scouting Fresno State
The Bulldogs are 13-19 overall and are the No. 7 seed after a 3-11 WAC record. Sophomore guard Kevin Olekaibe is the leading scorer for the Bulldogs with 18.0 points per game, while senior guard Jonathan Wills adds 10.5 points per game.
The quarterfinal game is the first time the Aggies and Bulldogs have met in the WAC Tournament. The Aggies have a 24-13 series advantage after sweeping the Bulldogs in two closely contested games this season. NM State won at home, 60-56, Jan. 28 in Las Cruces, and earned its first victory in Fresno, Calif., since Jan. 3, 2009 with the 83-78 overtime win, March 3.
In the regular season finale, the Aggies overcame a 19-point second half deficit to defeat Fresno State, 83-78, in overtime, March 3. In the first overtime game of the year, junior forward Bandja Sy scored a career-high 22 points, with 20 in the second half. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines had 20 points and a career-high 18 rebounds for his 18th double-double of the season and 45th of his career. Junior forward Tyrone Watson added 11 points including a vital layup at the end of regulation.
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 first 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
10. Wendell McKines-1,442
17. Hernst Laroche-1,167
24. Hamidu Rahman-1,057
Across the Country
The Aggies rank No. 5 in the NCAA in rebounding margin (+8.0), No. 14 in scoring offense (78.3), No. 40 field goal percentage (47.0) and No. 34 in scoring margin (+9.8). Individually, redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines is sixth in double-doubles (18), No. 7 in rebounding (10.8) and No. 31 in points per game (18.5). Freshman guard Daniel Mullings ranks first in triple-doubles as one of only 12 players with the accomplishment this season as of March 4.
NM State has tallied 21 double-doubles this season. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines has 45 career double-doubles and 18 this season. Senior center Hamidu Rahman also has two double-doubles this year. Against San Jose State on senior night, Feb. 25, Rahman tied a career-high with 22 points and 10 rebounds. 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 March 3.
Trends and Tidbits
In 2011-12, the Aggies are 15-1 when they score 80 points or more. Currently, NM State is averaging 78.3 points per game, which ranks 14th in the country. Additionally, the Aggies are 10-2 when they hold opponents to 70 points or less.
Against the WAC
As a team, the Aggies are leading the WAC in scoring offense (78.3 points per game), scoring margin (+9.8), rebounding offense (40.1 per game), rebounding margin (+8.0), offensive rebounds (14.41 per game) and defensive rebounds (25.66). NM State also ranks second in rebounding defense (32.1) and third in field goal percentage (47.0), 3-point field goal percent defense (32.8), blocked shots (129), steals (218) and assists (444).
Individually, redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines ranks first in rebounding (10.8) and scoring (18.5). Senior guard Hernst Laroche is first in steals (56), fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (42.0), ninth in assist/turnover ratio (1.61) and eighth in assists (119). Senior center Hamidu Rahman is second in the league in field goal percentage (61.6), eighth in rebounds (6.0) and seventh in blocked shots (32). Freshman guard Daniel Mullings is second in steals (54). Junior forward Tyrone Watson is ninth in assists (105) and eighth in assists/turnover ratio (1.64) as of March 3.
In conference games only, the Aggies ranked first in scoring offense (77.7), scoring margin (+8.9), 3-point field goal percentage defense (30.3), rebounding offense (40.1), rebounding margin (+8.3), offensive rebounds (14.64) and defensive rebounds (25.50). The Aggies finished second in rebounding defense (31.1), assists (209) and steals (94). NM State was third in field goal percentage (47.6), field goal percentage defense (43.6) and blocked shots (53).
Individually, McKines led the WAC in rebounding (10.9) and scoring (18.6) and was fifth in free throw percentage (78.5). Laroche was first in steals (31), seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (40.8), eighth in assists (56) and ninth in assists/turnover ratio (1.40). Rahman ranked fourth in field goal percentage (59.4) and fifth in blocked shots (17). Watson was fifth in assists (61), sixth in assists/turnover ratio (1.91) and eighth in field goal percentage (53.7). Mullings was second in steals (25), and sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe ranked second in free throw percentage (82.1) and tied for ninth in blocked shots (11).
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 third 20-win season for the Aggies under head coach Marvin Menzies.
McKines Joins 1,000-1,000 Club
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 holder for career minutes played in that game. Laroche now has 4,270 career minutes, and he broke the record Eric Channing previously held (3,783). He has 1,167 career points, which ranks No. 17 on the Aggies all-time scoring list.
Laroche also ranks second on the all-time list for career steals (208) at NM State and only needs two steals to own the program record, which William Benjamin holds (209).
Career Leaders in Steals
1. William Benjamin-209
2. Hernst Laroche-208
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 227 points, 1304-1077, as of March 3.
Driving to the Basket
The Aggies haven't been afraid to drive to the basket this season. NM State has taken 968 free throw attempts in 32 games and has 356 more attempts than its opponents. The Aggies have made more free throws (644) then the opponents have attempted (612). The Aggies are leading the NCAA in free throws attempted per game (30.2) and rank third in free throws made per game (20.0). As a team, NM State is shooting 66.5 percent from the line, as of March 3.
Aggies Own the Glass
NM State has a renewed focus on rebounding this season with a very experience front court. The Aggies have a +8.0 rebounding margin, which ranks fifth in the NCAA, and 1282-1056 advantage on the boards. On the offensive glass, the Aggies have 115 more rebounds than their opponents (460-345). Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines is averaging 10.8 rebounds, and senior center Hamidu Rahman is adding 6.0 boards per game, as of March 3.
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-99
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 18 double-doubles this season, which ranks sixth in the NCAA. He has scored in double figures in 30 games and grabbed double-digit rebounds in 19 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 21 of the 32 games. He has also notched five or more assists in eight 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 31 games this season. He scored a season-high 14 points at Louisiana Tech, Jan. 7. Watson also has posted three or more assists in 21 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. Laroche has tied Jonathan Gibson for the school record in games played with 131.
Laroche also ranks second on the all-time list for career assists (535) at NM State. He trails Sam Crawford by 57 assists (592).
Career Leaders in Assists
1. Sam Crawford-592
2. Hernst Laroche-535
Rahman Climbs the Ladder
Senior center Hamidu Rahman currently has 130 career blocked shots. He now owns the No. 2 spot on the Aggie all-time list as of March 3.
Career Leaders in Blocked Shots
1. James Moore-200
2. Hamidu Rahman-130
McKines Returns to the Hardwood
Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines ranks No. 2 on the all-time rebounding list at NM State with 1,096 boards and No. 10 in scoring with 1,443 career points. McKines has posted 18 double-doubles in 2011-12 and has 45 in his career as of March 3.
Career Leaders in Rebounds
1. Sam Lacey-1,265
2. Wendell McKines-1,065
The Vandals finished the regular season with an 18-12 record and are the No. 3 seed following a 9-5 WAC record. Idaho has three players in double figures with senior guard Deremy Geiger posting a team-high 13.0 points per game. Junior center Kyle Barone adds 12.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard Stephen Madison supplies 11.9 points per contest.
The Aggies and Idaho have only met in the WAC Tournament once with NM State winning, 73-53, March 13, 2008. NM State has a 20-4 advantage in the series with the Vandals. The teams split the regular season meetings this year with each team winning on their home court. The Aggies won the first meeting of the year, 80-68, Jan. 14, in Las Cruces and Idaho edged NM State, 59-58, Feb. 9, in Moscow.
NM State suffered a one-point loss at Idaho, 59-58, to snap a five-game win streak over the Vandals, Feb. 9. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines and senior center Hamidu Rahman led the team 12 points each. Senior guard Hernst Laroche and junior forward Tyrone Watson supplied nine points each. Watson also had a career-high eight assists.
The Rainbow Warriors are 15-15 overall and were 6-8 in the WAC and claimed the No. 6 seed. The Rainbow Warriors have three players in double digits with 14.0 points per game averages including junior center Vander Joaquim, senior guard Zane Johnson and junior forward Joston Thomas. Joaquim also supplies a team-high 9.5 rebounds per game.
NM State and Hawai'i have only played in the WAC Tournament once with the Aggies edging Hawai'i, 58-57, in their first ever WAC Tournament game, March 9, 2006. The Aggies have a 13-4 advantage in the all-time series. The teams split the regular season series, 91-87, in Honolulu, Jan. 21, and 115-73, Feb. 23 in Las Cruces.
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.
The Wolf Pack finished the regular season 25-5 and won the regular season WAC Championship with a 13-1 conference record. Sophomore guard Deonte Burton posts a team-high 15.2 points per game. Junior guard Malik Story and senior forward Olek Czyz are contributing 14.2 points and 13.6 points per game, respectively. Senior center Dario Hunt is the fourth player in double-figures with 10.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
The Aggies and Wolf Pack have met four times in the WAC Tournament with a 3-1 NM State advantage. The Aggies have a slight 19-17 lead in the all-time series despite Nevada winning both regular season meetings this year, 68-60, Jan. 26 in Las Cruces, in the Aggies' only WAC home loss of the season, and 65-61, March 1 in Reno.
NM State's five-game win streak was snapped at Nevada, 65-61, March 1. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines led the Aggies with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Senior guard Hernst Laroche had 12 points and five assists, while freshman guard Daniel Mullings supplied 10 points and seven rebounds.
Scouting San Jose State
The Spartans are 9-21 and ended conference play with a 1-13 record for the No. 8 seed. Junior guard James Kinney has a team-high 16.2 points per game. Sophomore guard Keith Shamburger adds 13.3 points per game, while senior forward Wil Carter contributes 13.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
NM State is 1-0 all-time against San Jose State in the WAC Tournament. The Aggies have a 32-12 lead in the all-time series after sweeping the Spartans, 79-63, in San Jose, Calif., Jan. 19, and 76-68, in Las Cruces, Feb. 25.
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 had 20 points and 15 rebounds. Senior guard Hernst Laroche added 11 points, while freshman guard Daniel Mullings scored 10 points.
Scouting Utah State
The Navy-clad Aggies are 17-14 and the No. 4 seed following an 8-6 record in WAC play. Utah State has three players with double-digit averages and redshirt sophomore guard Preston Medlin leads the way with 16.6 points per game. Senior guard Brockeith Pane adds 12.4 points per contest, while junior forward Kyisean Reed supplies 9.8 points per game.
NM State and Utah State have met three times in the WAC Tournament with NM State posting a 2-1 record. Utah State has a slight 35-29 lead in the all-time series, but the Aggies swept USU this season with an 80-60 win in Las Cruces, Jan. 12, and 80-69 win in Logan, Feb. 11.
The Aggies defeated Utah State, 80-69, in Logan, Utah for the first time since Feb. 11, 2006. NM State completed its first season sweep of the Navy-clad Aggies since the 2005-06 season. The Aggies had four players in double-figures with redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines leading the way with a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Hernst Laroche had 16 points and seven assists. Junior forward Bandja Sy supplied 13 points, while senior center Hamidu Rahman had 10.
Scouting Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs are 16-15 and the No. 5 seed after a 6-8 record in the WAC. Louisiana Tech has three players in double figures with freshman guard Raheem Appleby posting a team-high 13.8 points per game. Senior guard Trevor Gaskins and sophomore guard Cordarius Johnson add 11.0 and 10.1 points per contest, respectively.
The Aggies and Bulldogs have only met once in the WAC Tournament with a 77-70 win, March 8, 2007, en route to their first WAC title. The Aggies have a 14-3 all-time series lead over the Bulldogs after a season sweep, 83-73, in Ruston, La., Jan. 7, and 83-72, in Las Cruces, Feb. 4.
The Aggies began the second half of WAC play with an 83-72 win over Louisiana Tech, Feb. 4. NM State ended the game with a 20-5 run to hold off the Bulldogs. Senior center Hamidu Rahman had a team-high 20 points Freshman guard Daniel Mullings added 15 points, with 14 scored in the second half. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while junior forward Tyrone Watson had a game-high seven assists, which tied a career high.