Hawaii (15-11) at New Mexico State (20-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 23rd, 9:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pan American Center (12,482) -- Las Cruces, New Mexico. Television: AggieVision. Home Record: Hawaii 10-5, NMSU 12-3. Away Record: Hawaii 4-5, NMSU 6-4. Neutral Record: Hawaii 1-1, NMSU 2-1. Conference Record: Hawaii 6-4, NMSU 7-3. Series Record: New Mexico State leads, 12-4.
GAME NOTES: Time is of the essence for the New Mexico State Aggies as they continue to try and catch the leaders in the Western Athletic Conference standings. Still with a narrow shot at overtaking the Nevada Wolf Pack for first place in the WAC, the Aggies first turn their attention to the Hawaii Warriors tonight at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces.
A lot of factors have to work in favor of the Aggies in order for them to take over the top spot in the WAC with only a handful of games remaining, but there's still a slight chance. Last weekend, NMSU took a break from its league schedule in order to defeat the Drake Bulldogs at home, 71-55. The victory was the third in a row and the sixth in the last seven outings overall for an NMSU group which also bolstered its stats with a 100-68 thrashing of Northern New Mexico on Valentine's Day as well.
As for the Warriors, they are currently fourth in the conference standings with a 6-4 record, but like NMSU the team has played the last two games outside of the conference. Last Saturday, the team dropped in on Montana and was handed an awkward 94-79 setback, snapping what had been a brief two-game win streak for the group.
Hawaii won the first meeting of the season with NMSU at home, 91-87, but still the all-time series favors the Aggies by a 12-4 margin. New Mexico State is a perfect 6-0 against the Warriors in games played over the years in Las Cruces.
The Warriors had no answer for Montana's Kareem Jamar who registered a triple- double with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists as the visitors absorbed the double-digit road loss in Missoula. Vander Joaquim led four players in double figures for Hawaii with 17 points and a team-best 10 rebounds, followed by reserve Shaquille Stokes who tallied 13 points. Hauns Brereton was responsible for another 12 points and Joston Thomas 11 and five boards in just 19 foul- filled minutes. Joaquim continues to lead the team in scoring this season with his 14.9 ppg, shooting 57.9 percent from the floor and accounting for 9.9 rpg. Hot on his tail is Zane Johnson with 14.4 ppg thanks to his 73 three-pointers which represent more than half the team's total (138), while Thomas brings in another 14.0 ppg for a program producing 74.6 ppg.
Leading from start to finish, the Aggies registered their 25th campaign with at least 20 victories as they delivered a double-digit win over the Drake Bulldogs at the Pan American Center. Wendell McKines handled the action in the paint as he logged yet another double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Hernst Laroche and Daniel Mullings accounted for 17 and 10 points, respectively. A starter in all 27 games in which he has appeared, McKines leads the program in both scoring (18.3 ppg) and rebounding (10.4 ppg), followed by Laroche (12.1 ppg) and Hamidu Rahman (10.5 ppg) as the only other active double-digit scorers. Thanks to Rahman, who also adds better than six rebounds per game, the Aggies have one of the strongest rebounding advantages over the competition with a plus 7.8 rpg heading into action this week.
Playing in front of the hometown crowd yet again, the Aggies figure to have the upper hand in this meeting, just as they have in every other game against Hawaii in Las Cruces over the years.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico State 82, Hawaii 73
02/23 10:35:16 ET