The New Mexico State men's basketball team meets the No. 5 seed Louisiana Tech, Saturday, March 10 at 10 p.m. in Las Vegas, Nev., on ESPN2. 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 25-9 this season and finished 10-4 in WAC play. NM State advanced to the WAC title game with a 92-81 win over Hawai'i, March 9. The Aggies have three players in double figures with redshirt senior Wendell McKines leading the way with 18.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Senior guard Hernst Laroche provides 12.1 points per game, and senior center Hamidu Rahman adds 10.1 points per game.
WAC Tournament History
Since joining the WAC in 2005-06, the Aggies have a 13-4 record in the conference tournament after the semifinal win, March 9. 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 Advance to WAC Title Game with 92-81 Win
The Aggies are playing in their second WAC Tournament Championship game in three years following a 92-81 win over Hawai'i in the tournament semifinals, March 9. NM State is 2-1 in WAC title games. The Aggies had five players in double-figures with redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines leading the way with a game-high 22 points and a season-high six assists. Senior guard Hernst Laroche contributed 18 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the 3-point line. Sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe added a career-high 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Junior forward Tyrone Watson had 13 points, while freshman guard Daniel Mullings posted his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
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.
Scouting Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs are 18-15 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 13.9 points per game. Senior guard Trevor Gaskins and sophomore guard Cordarius Johnson add 11.5 and 9.8 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.
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' 25 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
8. Wendell McKines-1,479
17. Hernst Laroche-1,193
23. Hamidu Rahman-1,066
NM State has tallied 23 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 his first double-double against Hawai'i in the WAC Tournament, March 9. He had the first triple-double since 1990 with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists against Hawai'i.