The New Mexico State men’s basketball team (7-4) continues its four-game, 10-day road swing as it heads to Tucson, Ariz., to face No. 1 Arizona (9-0), in the McKale Center, Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. (MT) with television coverage on the PAC-12 Network and radio on the Aggie Sports Network. Fans in Las Cruces can listen to the ‘Voice of the Aggies,’ Jack Nixon on KGRT 103.9 FM. Live stats are available online at www.NMStateSports.com under the live events link and in-game updates will be given on Twitter @NMStateAggies.
The Aggies continue their run of four-consecutive road games with a trip to Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, Dec. 14, to face Drake University. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. (MT) start. The Bulldogs are 6-2 on the season and are coming off an 83-66 loss to No. 23 Iowa on Saturday (Dec. 7).
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
Currently, the Aggies are 7-4 on the season, having dropped its last three games. On the road, NM State is 2-2 overall, while holding a 4-1 record while playing in the Pan American Center. During the Aggies’ three game skid, rebounding has been a spot to look at. NM State is -7.7 in rebound margin during its last three games, while during their seven game winning streak held a +4.9 rebound margin.
As a team, The Aggies are averaging 77.3 points per game, outscoring their opponents by 6.6 points per game. NM State is shooting 47.7 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from behind the 3-point arc and 69.5 percent from the free throw line. On the boards, NM State are pulling down 37.8 rebounds a game, while recording six blocks, 4.6 steals and 12.4 assists a game. Four Aggies are shooting over 80 percent from the charity stripe.
Daniel Mullings leads the Aggies with 17.6 points per game, shooting 49.3 percent from the field. He also leads the Aggies in steals with 17. Sim Bhullar is shooting a team leading 70.9 percent from the floor, while also leading the team in rebounds (79) and blocks (37). K.C. Ross-Miller lead the squad with 40 assists, while shooting 85.1 percent at the free throw line. DK Eldridge is hot from the 3-point line, making 47.2 percent of his attempts, while Renaldo Dixon is the team leader from the free throw line, knocking down 87 percent of his attempts.
Arizona comes in to Wednesday night’s game as the No. 1 team in the country. The Wildcats are a perfect 9-0 on the season, including a win over then No. 6 Duke (Nov. 29) during the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Arizona averages 77.8 points per game while holding its opponents to a Pac-12 leading 59.1 points per game. The Wildcats high scoring average is aided by a 50 percent shooting percentage from the floor and a 37.6 percentage from three-point range. Arizona also leads the conference in rebounding, averaging 41.9 rebounds per game while holding its opponents to 27.8 rebounds per game.
The Wildcats are led by two of the best players in the country. Junior guard Nick Johnson leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.6 points per game. Johnson has a 49.5 shooting percentage from the field and shoots 35.6 percent from beyond the arc, including a team-high 16 threes made. Johnson was named the Pac 12 Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 25-Dec. 1 after leading Arizona to the NIT Season Tip-Off championship and being named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
The Wildcats also have one of the top-rated freshmen in the nation. Forward Aaron Gordon was one of the most highly-touted seniors coming out of high school and has lived up to the expectations, nearly averaging a double-double on the season. Gordon is tied for second on the team in scoring at 12 points per game while leading the team with a nine rebounds per game average. The 6-9 versatile big man shoots 47.7 percent from the field but is also a threat from the outside, sinking six of his 13 three-point attempts for a team-leading 46.2 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.
Sophomore forward Brandon Ashley also averages 12 points per game for Arizona and leads the team by shooting 60 percent from the field.
The Wildcats are coming off two home wins during last week’s schedule. Arizona easily handled Texas Tech, 79-58, on Tuesday (Dec. 3) before holding on for a victory over UNLV, 63-58, on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 7).
Arizona trailed the Runnin’ Rebels at the half, 42-39, but only allowed 16 UNLV points in the second half en route to escaping with the win. Ashley and junior guard T.J. McConnell each finished with 13 points to lead the Wildcats over the Runnin’ Rebels. Johnson and sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski added 12 points apiece. Gordon and Tarczewski led the team with eight rebounds each.
Aggies versus Arizona
The Aggies are 40-60 all-time record against Arizona. They first met on Feb. 2, 1917 in Las Cruces where Arizona won 34-21. NM State beat Arizona for the first time on Feb. 15, 1919 in Las Cruces, 42-14. Arizona defeated the Aggies 83-57, Nov. 18. 2010 and 83-76 on Nov. 29, 2011 in Las Cruces.
NM State is 12-34 when playing on the road against the Wildcats and 0-1 when facing them on a neutral court.
The last win over Arizona was on Dec. 13, 1971 when the Aggies won 89-73 at home.
Looking Back (recap vs. Gonzaga)
Junior guard Daniel Mullings became the 32nd Aggie in program history to score 1,000 points in a career leading the New Mexico State men’s basketball team with 17 points on the night as the Aggies fell 80-68 to No. 19 Gonzaga in McCarthey Athletic Center, Saturday, Dec. 7. NM State is now 7-4 on the season.
Mullings’ 1,000-career point came at the 17:32 mark in the second half 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. He now has 1,011 points during his time in the Crimson & White and surpassed former Aggie guard Billy Keys on the all-time scoring list. Mullings also tallied a team-high five assists.
Junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe added 13 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, although the Aggies were out-rebounded 45-30 with the Bulldogs scoring 22 second chance points.
The Aggies were 43 percent from the field and Gonzaga was 48 percent from the field with junior guard KC Ross-Miller going 4-of-9 on the night while making 2-of-3 shots from behind the 3-point arc. Senior Kevin Aronis also made two-3-pointers and finished the night with 10 points.
Mullings Climbs the Steals List
This season, guard Daniel Mullings leads the team in steals with 17. Currently, he ranks fifth on the all-time list with 154, just eight steals away from the NO. 4 spot held by former Aggie great Randy Brown. Mullings is averaging 1.5 steals per game this season. In 11 games, Mullings has recorded six games with at least two steals, including three games with three steals. If Mullings keeps his current pace of 1.5 steals per game, by the end of the regular season he will rank third all-time with 186.
Another Great Week for Mullings
Junior guard Daniel Mullings averaged 16.5 points per game in two games played last week and earned a spot in the NM State record books with scoring his 1,000th point of his career at the 17:32 mark in the second half against No. 19 Gonzaga. Mullings is the 31st Aggie to reach 1,000 points while wearing the Crimson and White and is currently No. 30 on the all-time scoring list at NM State, surpassing former Aggie guard Billy Keys (1999-00), who scored 1,004 points in 65 games. Mullings was 44 percent from the field, while pulling down 10 rebounds, dishing out six assists and picking up four steals.
Dixon Playing Well Off the Bench
Senior Renaldo Dixon, a 6-10 forward, averaged 31 minutes over the two games for the Aggies. In the loss to New Mexico, Dixon got 15 points and six rebounds. During the loss to Gonzaga, he racked up five points and five rebounds.
On the year, Dixon is averaging 6.5 points per game in 21.2 minutes on the court. He scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting against Northern Colorado, Nov. 20 and also had a 10-point performance against Bethune-Cookman in the Pan American Center, Nov. 25. Dixon has grabbed at least seven rebounds in four games this season and pulled down a season-high nine rebounds against Bethune-Cookman.
Mullings Reaches 1,000 – Moving up the all-time scoring list
Junior guard and Canadian native, Daniel Mullings led the NM State men’s basketball team with 483 points during the 2012-13 season. During the 2011-12 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 came at the 17:32 mark in the second half 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. He now has 1,011 points during his time in the Crimson & White and surpassed former Aggie guard Billy Keys on the all-time scoring list.
Mullings has scored 194 points this season and now has 1,011 points on his career. He is currently averaging 17.6 points per game this season and is looking to climb the all-time scoring list. Mullings is currently No. 30 on the all-time list and needs seven points to tie for the No. 29 spot. Bill Allen (1973-76) scored 1,018 points in 92 games with NM State. Dexter Hawkins (1974-77) is in the No. 28 spot and posted 1,022 points in 101 games in the Crimson and White.
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 all-time points scored. He was under coach Menzies from 2008-12 and scored a total of 400 points 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 1960-62 and scored over 1,000 points his first two years. The most recent Aggies to enter the 1,000 Point Club were Wendell McKines, Hernst Laroche, and Hamidu Rahman in 2012. Former Aggie Billy Keys is currently No. 31 on the 1,000-point list with 1,004 points in 65 games played (two seasons; 1999-00).
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, 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 122 blocks on his career and moved into the No. 4 spot on the all-time blocked shots list at NM State after marking three blocks against in-state rival UNM, Dec. 4. He passed former Aggie Charles Gosa, who marked 116 blocks from 1995-99, with his second block of the night on Wednesday. Bhullar can move into the No. 3 spot on the all-time list with two blocks against Arizona on Wednesday night.
Bhullar broke the single-season records for blocked shots last year with 85. Former Aggie Roland is in the No. 2 spot for blocked shots in a season with 58 during the 1973-74 season.
Blocked Shots (career)
1. James Moore (2000-03), 200
2. Hamidu Rahman (2008-12), 137
3. Slab Jones (1976-80), 124
4. Sim Bhullar (2012-Present), 122
5. Charles Gosa (1995-99), 116