Sonic Battle of I-10 Rematch Set for Tuesday
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  11/28/2010


The New Mexico State men’s basketball team returns to the Pan American Center for the first time in over two weeks, when the Aggies host UTEP, Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. This is the second game of the Sonic Battle of I-10 rivalry series this season. The game is available on KGRT 104 FM with the ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon calling the action and the pregame show starts at 6:30. The contest is also available in Spanish on Vista 98.7 FM with Martin Cortez. This is the first AggieVision broadcast of the year and is shown across New Mexico on Comcast stations, Fox Sports-Arizona and ESPN Full Court. The contest is also taped delayed in Las Cruces (channel 4) at 11 p.m.


New Mexico State Aggies

The Aggies moved 2-4 in the finale of their four-game road trip at UTEP, Nov. 23. Junior forward Troy Gillenwater leads NM State with a team-high 18.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Junior guard Hernst Laroche is averaging 11.0 points and 4.8 assists per contest, while junior center Hamidu Rahman adds 9.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.


Scouting UTEP

The Miners improved to 4-2 after splitting a pair of games in the Legends Classic, Nov. 26-27, in Atlantic City, N.J. The Miners lost to Georgia Tech, 71-61, and then defeated Michigan, 65-56. Senior guard Randy Culpepper is leading UTEP with 18.8 points per game and senior guard Christian Polk adds 12.3 points per game.


Series Notes

The Aggies have a 102-97 advantage in the all-time series after UTEP won the first meeting of the year. Last season, the team’s split the series and both teams won on the opponent’s floor.


Previous Meeting

In the final game of a four-game road trip, the Aggies fell at UTEP, 73-56, Nov. 23, in the first meeting of the Sonic Battle of I-10 this season. Junior forward Troy Gillenwater directed the Aggies with 18 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Junior guard Hernst Laroche was also in double-figures with 11 points. Senior guard Gordo Castillo added eight points on 2-for-4 shooting from the 3-point line, while freshman guard Christian Kabongo supplied seven points. NM State out-rebounded the Miners, 48-27, but UTEP shot 50 percent from the 3-point line (12-of-24).


Shattering the Glass

The Aggies grabbed a season-high 53 rebounds in the home opener against Western New Mexico. NM State is out-rebounding opponents by a +6.0 margin after six games this year.


Gillenwater Sets a Career High at UTEP

In the first rivalry game of the season, junior forward Troy Gillenwater set a career-high with 14 rebounds. With his team-high 18 points, he also recorded his first double-double of the 2010-11 season.


Stacking up against the WAC

Junior forward Troy Gillenwater ranks third in the WAC in scoring (18.2 points per game). He also is fifth in rebounds per game (7.7). Junior guard Hernst Laroche has a conference-best 2.50 steals per game and ranks second in assists per game (4.83). Laroche is also tied for fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (54.5). In assist to turnover ratio, sophomore forward Tyrone Watson is second (2.44) and Laroche is fifth (1.71). As a team, the Aggies are first in assists (82) as of Nov. 23.


Aggies Fall to USC in Tip-Off Finale

The Aggies fell to Southern California, 80-61, in its final game of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off. In his first career start, freshman guard Christian Kabongo scored a team-high 14 points along with seven rebounds. Senior guard Gordo Castillo added a season-high 13 points, while freshman center freshman center Tshilidzi Nephawe supplied a career-high 13 points and seven rebounds in NM State’s third consecutive road game. Both Castillo and Nephawe shot 5-for-7 from the field with Castillo making 3-of-4 3-point field goals.


Kabongo is Opportunistic in First Career Start

Freshman guard Christian Kabongo made the most of his first career start for the Crimson and White against USC, Nov. 21. He led the team in scoring with 14 points and set career-high marks for rebounds (7) and assists (4). Kabongo is averaging 8.8 points per game this season.


Nephawe Packs a Punch against the Trojans

Freshman center Tshilidzi Nephawe had a career night in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off finale against USC, Nov. 21. He scored a career-high 13 points, which was also his first career double-digit game, on 5-for-7 shooting from the field. Nephawe grabbed seven rebounds in 23 minutes, which were also career-high marks.


Castillo Finds His Rhythm

Against USC, senior guard Gordo Castillo scored a season-high 13 points. He was 5-for-7 from the field including 3-for-4 from the 3-point line. Castillo also played a career-high 33 minutes against the Trojans.


Aggies Struggle in Tip-Off Opener

In the first game of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off, NM State fell to UMass, 71-57. Junior forward Troy Gillenwater scored a team-high 13 points and junior center Hamidu Rahman added 10. Sophomore forward Tyrone Watson, junior guard Hernst Laroche and freshman guard Christian Kabongo each contributed eight points. The NM State offense stalled in the first half and led to a 30.4 field goal percentage (7-for-23), which is season-low for a half this year.


Watson Goes the Distance

Sophomore forward Tyrone Watson had a strong shooting performance in the opening game of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off opener against UMass, Nov. 20. He scored eight points and was 3-for-3 from the field including 2-for-2 from the 3-point line. This was the first time Watson has hit two treys in a single game.


Gillenwater Scores 25, Aggies Fall at Arizona

Junior forward Troy Gillenwater scored a team-high 25 points but NM State fell at Arizona, 83-57, Nov. 18. Gillenwater recorded his third consecutive 20-plus game in the Aggies’ first loss of the season. Sophomore forward Bandja Sy scored career-high 10 points off the bench, and junior guard Hernst Laroche contributed nine points.


Sy Hits Double-Digits for First Time

Sophomore forward Bandja Sy scored a career-high 10 points at Arizona, Nov. 18. He was 4-for-6 from the field and 2-for-4 from the 3-point line. Currently, Sy is averaging 5.5 points per game.


Gillenwater in the 20-Point Club

At Arizona, junior forward Troy Gillenwater surpassed the 20-point plateau for the third consecutive game and the sixth time in his career.


Road Tested

Win the Nov. 18 game at Arizona, NM State began a four-game road swing. The stint included games against UMass and Southern California, Nov. 20-21, in the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Springfield, Mass. The Aggies concluded the road trip at UTEP, Nov. 23. This season, NM State’s first 5-of-6 games are on the road.


Aggie Cruise to 95-62 Win in Home Opener

Junior forward Troy Gillenwater lead NM State with 21 points, and six Aggies scored in double figures in a 95-62 victory over Western New Mexico, Nov. 15, at the Pan American Center. Gillenwater scored the Aggies’ first 10 points as NM State pulled away with an early 10-0 run for a 17-4 lead and never looked back. The Aggies shot 52.4 percent while Western started the game 3-of-12 and finished 32.8 percent.


A Jump Start to the New Season

The Aggies started the 2010-11 campaign 2-0 after convincing wins over Louisiana and Western New Mexico. This is the first time since the 2004-05 season that the Aggies have started 2-0.


Target Practice

The Aggies opened the 2010-11 season shooting the ball well as a team. In the home opener against Western New Mexico, the Aggies shot 52.4 percent from the field (33-for-63) and scored over 90 points for the second consecutive game.


Moving the Rock

In the first two games of the season, the Aggies shared the ball and averaged 21.0 assists per game. Junior guard Hernst Laroche led the way with eight assists per game. Sophomore forward Tyrone Watson recorded a career-high seven assists against Western New Mexico. At Louisiana, the Aggies matched last year’s season-high mark of 22 assists.


Aggies Roll in Season Opener, 92-76

In the 2010-11 season debut, the Aggies overpowered Louisiana, 92-76, in the Cajundome. This was the first win for NM State in a road season opener since 2004-05. Junior forward Troy Gillenwater and junior guard Hernst Laroche both had career-best performances against the Rajun’ Cajuns. Gillenwater scored a game-high 30 points on 10-for-17 shooting with five 3-pointers. Laroche added 21 points and was 6-for-6 from the field including 4-for-4 from beyond the arc and 5-for-6 at the free-throw line. Junior center Hamidu Rahman supplied 18 points with a 6-of-9 showing from both the field and free-throw line.


NM State is Firing on All Cylinders

In the Aggies’ first-ever win in Lafayette, NM State recorded a 51.7 field goal percentage and 48.0 3-point percentage. In the second half, the Aggies only missed five shots (18-for-23).


Gillenwater Sails into Junior Season

Junior forward Troy Gillenwater made a splash in his season debut with a career-high 30 points at Louisiana, Nov. 12. He also set new marks for field goal attempts (17), 3-pointers made (5) and 3-point attempts (9) and tied his career best for field goals made (10). Gillenwater then scored a game-high 21 points in the home opener against Western New Mexico, Nov. 15.


In the Zone

In the season opener at Louisiana, junior guard Hernst Laroche scored a career-high 21 points. This was his first career 20-point game. He was 6-for-6 from the field including 4-of-4 from the 3-point line. Laroche was also 5-for-6 from the free-throw line. Additionally, his four 3-pointer was a career high, and he tied his career best with a blocked shot again the Rajun’ Cajuns.


Kabongo Scores in Home Debut

In his first game in the Pan American Center, freshman guard Christian Kabongo scored a career-high 17 points. He added six rebounds and three assists against Western New Mexico, Nov. 15


On the Road Again

Winning on the road can be tough especially in a season opener. With the victory at Louisiana, the Aggies recorded their first win in a road season opener since 2004-05.


Distance Events

The Aggies shot the ball well from 3-point range in the season opener at Louisiana, Nov. 12. NM State sank 12 buckets from beyond the arc and finished with a 48.0 percentage (12-of-25).


Rahman Holds Court in the Paint

Junior center Hamidu Rahman was a force inside in the 2010-11 season debut. He scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Rahman was 6-for-9 from both the field and free-throw line.


Aggies Win Exhibition 98-72

NM State defeated Eastern New Mexico, 98-72, in the only exhibition game of the year, Nov. 8. The Aggies had five players in double-figures with junior forward Troy Gillenwater leading the way with 18 points. Junior guard Hernst Laroche added 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field, while senior guard Gordo Castillo contributed 13 points. The Aggie centers were strong with both junior Hamidu Rahman and freshman Tshilidzi Nephawe scoring 11 points.


Season Rewind: A Title and the Big Dance

In 2009-10, Aggies won their second WAC Tournament Championship and made their 18th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. NM State finished the year with a 22-12 record after a near upset of No. 12 Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Aggies ranked first in the WAC and No. 14 in the NCAA in 3-point field goals per game (8.4), No. 21 in scoring offense (78.3 points per game) and No. 51 in field goal percentage (46.0) last season.


Aggie Newcomers

The Aggies welcome four freshmen this season with guards Christian Kabongo, Drew Herig, forward Renaldo Dixon and center Tshilidzi Nephawe.


Previewing the WAC

The Aggies were voted to finish second in the Preseason WAC coaches and media polls.  Junior forward Troy Gillenwater and senior forward Wendell McKines were first team Preseason All-WAC honorees on both the coaches and media lists. NM State was the only team to have a pair of selections on the first team.


The 2010-11 Slate of Games

The Aggies have 17 regular season games in the Pan American Center this season. Currently, the Aggies have two nationally televised games on ESPN2 at San Jose State (Feb. 23) and against Utah State in Las Cruces (March 2). The schedule includes a trip to Arizona (Nov. 18) and against Southern California and UMass in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Springfield, Mass., (Nov. 20-21). The Aggies also host Saint Mary’s (Dec. 23), a Sweet 16 team in 2010, and rivals UTEP (Nov. 30) and New Mexico (Dec.4) in Las Cruces.


Looking ahead

The Aggies conclude rivalry week when they host New Mexico, Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m.

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