San Jose State (9-18) at New Mexico State (21-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 25th, 9:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pan American Center (12,482) -- Las Cruces, New Mexico. Television: AggieVision. Home Record: SJSU 6-7, NMSU 13-3. Away Record: SJSU 2-11, NMSU 6-4. Neutral Record: SJSU 1-0, NMSU 2-1. Conference Record: SJSU 1-10, NMSU 8-3. Series Record: New Mexico State leads, 31-12.
GAME NOTES: Coming off their biggest offensive output of the season, the New Mexico State Aggies close out the home portion of their schedule tonight as they clash with the San Jose State Spartans in Western Athletic Conference action at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces.
Two nights ago, the Aggies lit up the scoreboard for an astonishing 115 points in an ugly 42-point romp over the visiting Hawaii Warriors. The victory saw the team score more points than they have in a single game since the 1996-97 campaign as they registered their fourth straight win. Still in second place in the WAC standings at 8-3, NMSU still has road dates remaining against league-leading Nevada and Fresno State before the start of the conference tournament.
As for the Spartans, they remain all alone in last place in the WAC standings with just a single win in 11 chances following a 75-49 loss to Louisiana Tech on Thursday night. The setback was the second in the last three games for the program which, like New Mexico State, has two more games remaining on the regular-season docket (Utah State and Idaho).
NMSU won the first meeting of the season by a score of 79-63 on the road, as Wendell McKines delivered 24 points and eight rebounds for the visitors. The Aggies, who now lead the all-time series by a 31-12 margin, connected on better than 51 percent from the field and at the other end held the Spartans to just 37.3 percent and 6-of-29 behind the three-point line.
The only player to score in double figures for the Spartans two nights ago was Wil Carter (12.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg), as he dropped in 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 at the free-throw line. Stephon Smith accounted for another eight points in a mere 14 minutes of action as he converted 4-of-5 from the field, but no one else on the team managed to make more than just a couple of baskets as the team shot a mere 34.7 percent from the field and finished with more turnovers (18) than made baskets (17). Leading scorer on the season James Kinney, who is averaging 16.0 ppg as he shoots 40.3 percent from three-point range and gives the squad a legitimate perimeter threat from time to time, was held to just six points by LaTech, one less than he had turnovers. Keith Shamburger (13.4 ppg) shot only 1-of-7 from the floor at the Bulldogs but it is still important to have him in the lineup as he leads the program in assists with 140.
Just in time to make a name for himself before the final home game of the season, Daniel Mullings became the first player for the Aggies in more than 20 years to register a triple-double as he logged a career-high 28 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists during the total domination of visiting Hawaii. Mullings, who shot 11-of-15 from the floor, also accounted for five steals and a blocked shot, making it one of the most complete games by anyone in the WAC in recent memory. Wendell McKines added 20 points, eight boards and four assists, followed by Hernst Laroche with 16 points and eight dishes, while Tyrone Watson sank all five of his field goal attempts on his way to 12 points. Mullings came out of nowhere to post a most incredible stat line against the Warriors and still he is averaging just 9.0 ppg and is far from a top scoring option for the team. Instead, that title still sits with McKines who is averaging a double-double with 18.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per outing. Laroche (12.3 ppg) is generally thought of as the leading passer for the group with 108 dishes this season, but the Aggies have to be happy knowing that they now have another weapon in their arsenal.
Even though the Spartans also possess a lackluster defense for the most part, the odds of NMSU putting together another effort like the one on Thursday night is slim at best. However, banking on a win by the Aggies should be obvious.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico State 84, San Jose State 66
02/25 11:41:51 ET