The New Mexico State men's basketball team returns to WAC play at Denver, Saturday, March 2 at 4 p.m. on ESPN regional with Trey Bender and Stephen Howard. The game is shown on Altitude and ESPN3. The game can be heard on the Aggie Sports Network and KGRT 104 FM in Las Cruces with the 'Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon, and the pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to tip.
New Mexico State Aggies
The Aggies have a 19-9 overall record and 12-3 WAC record after defeating I-10 rival UTEP, 55-51, Feb. 23 in Las Cruces. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings is leading the team with 13.9 points per game. Senior forwards Bandja Sy is also in double figures 11.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, while freshman center Sim Bhullar adds 10.0 points per contest.
The Pioneers are 18-8 and 13-2 in the WAC. Denver is on a seven-game winning streak after a 63-57 win at Northern Iowa, Feb. 23 in the BracketBusters series, with the Aggies handing the Pioneers their last loss. Junior forward Chris Udofia leads the Pioneers with 12.4 points per game, and sophomore forward Royce O'Neal adds 11.5 points per game.
The Aggies have a 13-5 lead in the all-time series. NM State won the first game of the season, 53-42, Jan. 23 in Las Cruces.
NM State beat Denver, 53-42, to extend its winning streak to seven games, Jan. 23 in Las Cruces. The Aggies halted the Pioneers' win streak at seven games. The Aggies had three players in double figures with senior forward Tyrone Watson leading the way with 12 points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings added 11 points and eight rebounds, while senior forward Bandja Sy supplied 10 points and eight rebounds. The Crimson and White defense harassed Denver and held the Pioneers to 3-of-18 shooting from the 3-point line (13.7 percent). Denver averaged a league-best 8.39 3-pointers per game entering the contest.
Aggies Beat UTEP
NM State used a late 16-3 run to defeat I-10 rival UTEP, 55-51, Feb. 23 in Las Cruces. Junior guard Kevin Aronis scored a game-high 11 points to lead the Aggies to a season spilt with the Miners. Aronis scored all 11 points in the second half on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, including a 3-of-5 performance from the 3-point line. Senior forward Bandja Sy was also in double figures with 10 points. Junior forward Renaldo Dixon had eight points and eight rebounds, and freshman center Sim Bhullar ended the night with six points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in a career-high 37 minutes of action. With his second rejection of the game, Bhullar set the NM State single-season blocked shots record. He now has 60 blocks in his debut season.
National Rankings for the Aggies
The Aggies are currently 17th in blocked shots per game (5.4) and 22nd in the NCAA in rebounding margin (+6.4). NM State has out-rebounded opponents in 19 games. The Aggies are also 59th in field goal percentage defense (40.0). Individually, sophomore guard Daniel Mullings is ranked 31st in steals per game (2.14). Freshman center Sim Bhullar is 42nd in blocked shots per game (2.14) as of Feb. 24.
With the first blocked shot at Utah State, Feb. 16, the Aggies set the single-season record for blocks shots. Currently, NM State has 151 rejections this season. The Aggies rank 17th in the NCAA in blocks with 5.4 per game. Freshman center Sim Bhullar leads the team with 60 blocks, and is the NM State single-season leader in blocked shots. Junior forward Renaldo Dixon is also helping the defensive effort with 37 blocked shots. In addition, the Aggies tied the school record for blocked shots in a game with 12 at UTSA, Feb. 2. NM State tied the mark that was set Jan. 12, 1978 against Creighton.
Aggies Notch Double-Doubles
NM State has recorded eight double-doubles in 2012-13 with senior forward Bandja Sy leading the way with three double-doubles. Junior forward Renaldo Dixon posted his first career double-double with 10 and 14 rebounds, a career-high mark, at San Jose State, Feb. 14. Junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe has two this season at Niagara, Nov. 18, with 14 points and 10 rebounds and against Louisiana, Nov. 23, with 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Daniel Mulling had his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds against Southern Miss, Dec. 1. Senior forward Bandja Sy posted a double-double with 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds at South Alabama, Dec. 4, 16 points and 10 rebounds against Texas State, Jan. 5, and 24 points and 13 rebounds at Texas State, Jan. 31. Freshman center Sim Bhullar recorded his first career double-double at UTSA, Feb. 2, with 17 points and 18 rebounds.
Sy Advances to Quarterfinals of Dunk Contest
Senior forward Bandja Sy advanced to the quarterfinals of the "State Farm Dark Horse Dunker" competition. "State Farm Dark Horse Dunker" nominees are under-the-radar players who have what it takes to compete against the D-I field in Atlanta. The winner will participate in the Denny's Slam Dunk Competition at the State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships in Atlanta at 5 p.m. April 4 on ESPN. Sixteen dunkers began the competition and eight remain in the "State Farm Dark Horse Dunker" Facebook bracket, which is a five-week knockout competition. Fans will determine the winner by voting during each round at the official Facebook page (facebook.com/CollegeSlam).
Bhullar Protects the Hoop
Freshman center Sim Bhullar is leading the team with 60 blocked shots this season. In the win over UTEP, he became the single-season blocked shots leader at NM State. Bhullar surpassed Roland Grant, who blocked 58 shots in the 1973-74 season.
Mullings Fuels the Aggies
In his second season, sophomore guard Daniel Mullings has scored in double-figures 20 times. He recorded his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds versus Southern Miss, Dec. 1. Mullings has had seven 20-point games this season and nine in his career. His shooting has improved from a season ago with 40 percent or better in 21 games. Mullings is shooting 39.1 percent from the 3-point line. He also has three or more assists in 13 games. Defensively, Mullings has a team-high 60 steals and ranks ninth on the single-season list. He is also ninth on the Aggies' career list for steals with 118. Nationally, he ranks 31st in steals per game (2.14).
de Rouen Steps Up
Since entering the starting lineup against Denver Jan. 23, sophomore guard Terrel de Rouen has made a significant impact. The Las Cruces native is averaging 7.8 points, 3.8 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. He has a 2.3 assist to turnover ratio in an average of 31.8 minutes of action per contest.
Dixon and Barry Making the Most of New Roles
In the last eight games, junior forward Renaldo Dixon and sophomore forward Remi Barry have increased their production. Dixon is averaging 8.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He has a 46.8 field goal percentage (22-of-47) and 71.9 free-throw percentage (23-of-32) in the eight-game span. Barry is averaging 7.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per contest in the last eight games. He is shooting 51.4 percent from the field (18-of-35) and 81.3 percent from the free-throw line (13-of-16).
Aggies Suffer First Loss of 2013
The Aggies' 12-game winning streak was snapped with a 73-69 loss at Utah State, Feb. 16. NM State had four players in double-digits with sophomore forward Remi Barry scoring a career-high 15 points. Barry was 6-of-9 from the field. Senior forward Bandja Sy added 12 points, while sophomore guards Terrel de Rouen and Daniel Mullings contributed 11 points each. With the Aggies' first block of the game, this year's squad set the single-season record for blocked shots. Freshman center Sim Bhullar's rejection gave NM State 142 blocks, which breaks the previous mark of 141 set during the 1994-95 season. Bhullar ended the game with eight points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Aggies Cruise at San Jose State
NM State won its 12th consecutive game with a 67-57 victory at San Jose State, Feb. 14. The Aggies had four players in double-figures with sophomore guard Daniel Mullings leading the way with 15 points. Junior forward Renaldo Dixon posted his first career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Senior forward Bandja Sy added 13 points and nine rebounds, and freshman center Sim Bhullar contributed 10 points.
Aggies on a Roll
After a tough start to the 2012-13 WAC slate, the Aggies bounced back and won 12 consecutive games before the streak was snapped at Utah State, Feb. 16. The win streak is the longest under head coach Marvin Menzies and longest since the 2006-07 season, when the Aggies won 13 consecutive games.
Sy Has the Aggies Streaking
Senior forward Bandja Sy has increased his contributions significantly and helped the Aggies to a 12-game win streak. He had a nine-game span in double-digits snapped against Idaho but he grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds versus the Vandals. In the last 14 games, Sy is averaging 15.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, which are team-high marks in that span. He is shooting 50 percent from the field (81-of-162), 38.5 percent from the 3-point line (10-of-26) and 68.9 percent from the free-throw line (42-of-61) in the last 14 games. Sy is second on the team in 14.2 points per game in WAC games.
Sy Earns WAC Player of the Week Honors
Senior forward Bandja Sy was named the WAC Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 3. This was his first career honor and the first of the season for the Aggies. Sy led NM State to a pair of road wins at Texas State and UTSA. In the 86-72 win over Texas State, Sy posted his third double-double of the season and the fourth of his career with 24 points and 13 rebounds. In the 75-62 win at UTSA, Sy scored 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Bhullar Filling the Gap in the Paint
Since entering the starting lineup, Dec. 15, freshman center Sim Bhullar is averaging 11.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. He recorded his first career double-double with 17 points and 18 rebounds, a career-high mark, at UTSA, Feb. 2. He has 13 double-digit games this season and has three 20-point games. Bhullar leads the Aggies in blocked shots with 60.
Against the WAC Competition
Currently, the Aggies lead the WAC in blocked shots (5.39 per game) and rank second in rebounding margin (+6.4) and third in field goal percent defense (40.0).
Individually, sophomore guard Daniel Mullings ranks second in steals (2.14), eighth in free throw percentage (76.0) and scoring (13.9). Freshman center Sim Bhullar ranks first in field goal percentage (60.2) and fourth in blocked shots (2.14 per game). Senior forward Bandja Sy is sixth in rebounding (7.2), and junior forward Renaldo Dixon is sixth in blocked shots (1.37). Junior guard Kevin Aronis is seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (37.7).
In WAC games only, the Aggies lead the conference in blocked shots (6.40). NM State ranks second in rebounding margin (+5.2), scoring offense (70.2) and defensive rebounds (25.00) and third in field goal percentage (46.5) and rebounding offense (37.8).
Individually, sophomore guard Daniel Mullings ranks first in steals (2.60), fifth in scoring (14.8) and seventh in free throw percentage (75.7). Freshman center Sim Bhullar is second in blocked shots (2.73) and field goal percentage (58.0) and seventh in rebounding (7.5). Senior forward Bandja Sy ranks fourth in rebounding (7.9), seventh in scoring (14.2) and 10th in field goal percentage (49.7). Junior forward Renaldo Dixon is fifth in blocks (2.00) and 10th in free-throw percentage (73.8) as of Feb. 16.
Defense in the Menzies Era
In head coach Marvin Menzies' six seasons, the Aggie defense has continued to improve during his tenure. This year NM State has already held opponents to 60 or fewer points 13 times. Here's a look at how this year's team compares to previous squads.
Allowing 60 points or less
2012-13 13 games
2011-12 9 games
2010-11 8 games
2009-10 2 games
2008-09 3 games
2007-08 6 games
Sy Shoots and Scores
Senior forward Bandja Sy has been in double-digits in scoring for the Aggies in 17 games and in double-figures in rebounding in six games. In the win at South Alabama, Dec. 4, he posted his second career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Sy recorded his third career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds versus Texas State, Jan. 5. That performance followed a career-high 25 points against UTSA, Jan. 3. Sy had his third double-double of the season and fourth of his career with 24 points and 13 rebounds at Texas State, Jan. 31.
Menzies is the Fifth Winningest Coach at NM State
Head coach Marvin Menzies has recorded 121 career wins at NM State. He ranks fifth in school history, and directed the Aggies to their third 20-win season in his tenure in 2011-12.
All-Time Winningest Coaches (by victories)
The Aggies return home for its final series of the regular season, when they host No. 25 Louisiana Tech, Thursday, March 7 and UT Arlington, Saturday, March 9.