The New Mexico State men's basketball team faces the No. 6 seed Hawai'i, Friday, March 9 at 7 p.m. in Las Vegas, Nev. The game is shown on WAC Sports Network on Comcast channel 4 in Las Cruces and ESPN Full Court. 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 24-9 this season and finished 10-4 in WAC play. NM State opened the WAC Tournament with a 65-49 win over Fresno State in the quarterfinals, March 8. The Aggies have three players in double figures with redshirt senior Wendell McKines leading the way with 18.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Senior guard Hernst Laroche provides 11.9 points per game, and senior center Hamidu Rahman adds 10.3 points per game.
WAC Tournament History
Since joining the WAC in 2005-06, the Aggies have a 12-4 record in the conference tournament after the quarterfinal win, March8. 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.
Aggies Beat Fresno State, Meet Hawaii Friday
The Aggies opened the 2012 WAC Tournament with a 65-49 win over Fresno State in the quarterfinals, March 8. NM State had three players in double-digits with redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines leading the way with 15 points and 13 rebounds for his 19th double-double of the season. Junior forward Tyrone Watson supplied 13 points, and freshman guard Daniel Mullings added 11. The win marked the sixth-straight season the Aggies have made the tournament semifinals, and it was head coach Marvin Menzies' 100th-career win.
The Rainbow Warriors are 16-15 overall and were 6-8 in the WAC and claimed the No. 6 seed. Hawai'i upset No. 3 seed Idaho, 72-70, March 8. Junior center Vander Joaquim is leading Hawai'i with 14.2 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, while junior forward Joston Thomas adds 13.8 points 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.
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' 24 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.
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
9. Wendell McKines-1,457
16. Hernst Laroche-1,175
24. Hamidu Rahman-1,063
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 22 double-doubles this season. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines has 46 career double-doubles and 19 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.