New Mexico State (8-8) at Seattle (5-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 10, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Key Arena (17,072) -- Seattle, Washington. Television: ROOT-NW. Home Record: NMSU 7-1, Seattle 4-4. Away Record: NMSU 1-6, Seattle 1-4. Neutral Record: NMSU 0-1, Seattle 0-0. Conference Record: NMSU 2-2, Seattle 0-3. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: Seeking their first league win as a member of the Western Athletic Conference, the Seattle Redhawks give it another go at home in Key Arena against the New Mexico State Aggies on Thursday night.
Under the direction of head coach Cameron Dollar, now in his fourth year in Seattle, the Redhawks have made the transition back to Division I status and are now part of a competitive league again. The road hasn't been easy and it doesn't appear as though the rest of the WAC is going to take it easy on Seattle, so the team had better prepare itself for some rough treatment.
Over the weekend, the Redhawks were handed their third straight setback, a 76-71 decision against San Jose State on the road, which means Seattle is now 0-3 in WAC play.
As for the Aggies, they've now won back-to-back games for the third time in 2012-13, but again they are trying to stretch the run to three straight which is something that has yet to happen. Last Saturday, NMSU was able to even its league record at 2-2 by posting a 78-67 win over Texas State, two days after taking down Texas-San Antonio (82-62), yet another of the new additions to the WAC for this season.
This is the first meeting between these two programs since the 1970-71 campaign when they split a pair of encounters, each winning on their home floor.
Playing even with Texas State through 20 minutes, the Aggies opened up the offense in the second half and shot 58.6 percent from the floor in order to pull away for the 11-point home win at the Pan American Center. Bandja Sy registered a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while Daniel Mullings and Sim Bhullar accounted for 22 and 20 points, respectively, as the starters generated all but 13 of the unit's 78 points. Even though a number of players had strong games against the Bobcats, the truth is only Mullings is averaging double figures through 16 games with his 15.1 ppg. Bhullar and Tyrone Watson are both on the doorstep with 9.8 ppg each for a unit that is putting up 67.0 ppg while struggling mightily beyond the arc (.284) at the moment.
Despite shooting just 32.4 percent from the floor in the first half and heading to the free-throw line only one time in the frame versus San Jose State over the weekend, the Redhawks still remained competitive as they lost by just five points. In addition to not getting the calls in the first half, Seattle's other issue was having far too many turnovers (20) and just 8-of-28 shooting behind the 3-point line. Chad Rasmussen, responsible for 15 points, shot only 5-of-15 from the field, while Louis Green tried to pick up the slack with 14 points and nine boards off the bench. Luiz Bidart chipped in 12 points off the bench as he converted 9-of-10 at the charity stripe. Through the first three conference games of the season, Seattle is averaging just 10.3 made free throws, compared to more than 20 for the competition. That difference has resulted in the Redhawks being outscored by 7.0 ppg while relying on Deshaun Sunderhaus (13.3 ppg) and Rasmussen (10.0 ppg) at the offensive end of the floor.
Even though the Aggies have been far from dominant through the first half of the season, they should still have enough talent on their side to get past Seattle on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico State 74, Seattle 69
01/10 10:32:48 ET