The New Mexico State men’s basketball team hosts Western New Mexico, Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. (MT), in the only exhibition game of the 2013-14 season at the Pan American Center. The game is free to the public with doors opening one hour prior to tip-off.
NM State was chosen to win the Western Athletic Conference in the preseason polls (media and coaches’), while junior guard Daniel Mullings was voted the Preseason WAC Player of the year in both polls. Sophomore center Sim Bhullar was voted to the first team on both preseason polls after have a stellar freshman year in which he broke the single-season record for blocks.
NM State returns nine players including three starters from the 2013 WAC Tournament Champions. The Aggies finished with a 24-11 overall record in 2012-13 after making their second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
When the Aggies faced WNMU last year, they rolled to a 98-49 win in their only exhibition game of the season. The Aggies had five players in double figures with then senior forward Tyrone Watson and Mullings providing 13 points each. Former senior forward Bandja Sy added 12 points, and current senior center Tshilidzi Nephawe chipped in 11.
NM State utilized its size advantage for a 20-rebound edge on the boards, 46-26, and Sy grabbed a game-high seven rebounds. The Aggies shot the ball well and recorded a 57.1 field goal percentage (36-of-63) and 45.5 3-point percentage (10-of-22).
In 2011, the Aggies defeated the Mustangs, 92-65 (Dec. 14) during a regular-season game in Las Cruces, to begin a five-game home stand. NM State had four players in double figures. Former guard Hernst Laroche and McKines paced the Crimson and White with 18 points each. Former center Hamidu Rahman recorded a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Nephawe scored 12 points. NM State leads the overall series 62-23-1 in regular-season meetings.
WNMU comes to Las Cruces after going 10-16 overall and 9-13 in the RMAC last year under Director of Athletics Mark Coleman. The Mustangs are now coached by Jeff Law, who enters his first season at the helm. Law went to WNMU from Hawaii-Hilo, taking a 209-186 coaching record with him during 15 years on the bench.
The Mustang roster features eight returning players, with four being seniors, one junior and the rest sophomores. The Mustangs will also have a new look with around half of the roster being new additions with three coming in as juniors, one a sophomore and the rest freshmen.