LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State men’s basketball team plays in the Lou Henson Classic, taking on Kansas City, Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. (MT) in the Pan American Center.
The game honors Aggie Hall of Fame coach Lou Henson, who began his head coaching career at NM State in 1966. After two stints as his alma mater, Henson is the all-time winningest coach at NM State with 289 wins and he is seventh all-time in career Division I wins with 779.
Henson is one of only 11 coaches to take two different schools to the Final Four. During his Aggie career, Henson’s teams made the only Final Four appearance, 19 NCAA appearances, four NIT appearances, won two conference championships and produced five all-Americans.
Currently, Henson ranks third all-time in games coached with 1,191 and he was the 15th fastest coach in history to reach 700 wins. Henson is also one of only eight coaches to have 20 wins or more with two different schools. Henson ranks 12th all-time in most Division I 20-win seasons with 20 and is tied for eighth all-time for most consecutive Division I 20-win seasons with nine in a row.
The Lou Henson Classic has been an Aggie tradition since the first game against Chicago State on Dec. 2, 2006 when NM State won 80-74. Since that first game, the Aggies have gone 8-1 in the Lou Henson Classic, with their only loss coming to North Texas, 75-72 (Dec. 1, 2007). The Aggies have beaten the likes of San Francisco, Fresno State and Pacific during the Classic, with two of their eight wins coming against Chicago State.
Last year’s Classic was against Seattle U, where the aggies walked away with a 60-57 win over the Red Hawks. Then sophomore guard Daniel Mullings had a game-high 18 points to lead the Aggies and then freshman center Sim Bhullar recorded a near double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds. Senior forward Bandja Sy added nine points, and then junior forward Renaldo Dixon had eight.
The Aggie offense was held to 34 percent shooting for the night going 16-of-47, but the defense stepped up and blocked eight shots. Bhullar led the effort with four blocks. NM State also protected the ball and only committed nine turnovers despite Seattle's full-court press.
The Aggies narrowly escaped Seattle’s late onslaught, with Bhullar putting the game away hitting the front end of two free throws for a three point lead. The victory kept the Aggies 11 game win streak going which the extended to 12 until finally losing to Utah State on Dec. 16, 2012.
Lou Henson Classic Record
12/01/07…North Texas………….72-75 (L)