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Aggies Host New Mexico and Arkansas-Pine Bluff

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team concludes a five-game home stand against in-state rival New Mexico, Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m., and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Saturday, Dec. 31 at noon inside the Pan American Center. The UNM game will be shown live on AggieVision and broadcast across New Mexico on Comcast, Altitude2, KVIA 24/7 (Channel 7.3), ESPN Full Court and shown on tape delay on Fox Sports-Arizona at 11 p.m. The games are available on KGRT 104 FM with the ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon, and the pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to tip. The contests are also available in Spanish on Vista 98 FM with Martin Cortez.

New Mexico State Aggies

The Aggies are 8-4 this season following an 82-62 win over McNeese State, Dec. 21. NM State has three players in double figures with redshirt senior Wendell McKines leading the way with 17.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Christian Kabongo adds 15.3 points per contest, while senior guard Hernst Laroche provides 11.5 points per game.

Scouting New Mexico

The Lobos are 10-2 following an 87-62 win over UMKC, Dec. 22. Sophomore guard Tony Snell has a team-high 13.3 points per game. Senior forward Drew Gordo and sophomore guard Kendall Williams add 11.6 points and 11.1 points per contest, respectively.

Series Notes

The Aggies won the first meeting of the season, 62-53, Nov. 16 in Albuquerque, N.M. The Lobos lead the all-time series 112-95. The Aggies are looking for their first series sweep since the 2002-03 season.

Previous Meeting

NM State utilized a strong defensive effort to defeat in-state rival New Mexico, 62-53, Nov. 16. This was the first win for the Aggies in The Pit since Dec. 15, 2002. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines led the way with 14 second-half points and a game-high nine rebounds. Junior forward Bandja Sy added 12 points including a late three-point play and critical blocked shot in the final 30 seconds of the game. Senior center Hamidu Rahman provided 10 points and five rebounds. The win also broke a seven-game skid to the Lobos.

Scouting Arkansas-Pine Bluff

The Golden Lions are 1-9 after a loss at Cincinnati, 101-53, Dec. 21. Arkansas-Pine Bluff meets Jacksonville State, Dec. 28 and UTEP/Colorado State in the Sun Bowl Invitational, Dec. 29, in El Paso, Texas.

Series Notes

The Aggies have a 5-0 all-time lead in the series. All five games have been played in Las Cruces. NM State won the last meeting, 83-49 Dec. 13, 2010.

Previous Meeting

Four Aggies finished in double figures to lead NM State to an 83-49 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Dec. 13. Guard Christian Kabongo scored a game-high 19 points, and guard Hernst Laroche had 16 points, five assists and six steals. Forward Bandja Sy had a career-high 15 points, while forward Tyrone Watson added 12 points and eight rebounds. The Aggies shot a season-high 55.1 percent from the field to snap a seven-game losing streak and begin a five-game home stand.

Aggies Beat McNeese State 82-62

NM State defeated McNeese State, 82-62, to improve to 8-4 on the season, Dec. 21. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines directed the Aggies with 23 points and a career-high 17 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season and 33rd of his career. He moved into third all-time on NM State’s career rebounding list with his second rebound of the game. McKines has 882 career rebounds and only trails Sam Lacey (1,265) and Slab Jones (951). Off the bench, sophomore guard Christian Kabongo added 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and junior forward Bandja Sy supplied 13. As a team, the Aggies shot a season-best 58 percent from the field (29-of-50).

Aggies Tame Jaguars 91-66

NM State coasted to a 91-66 win over Southern, Dec. 19. The Aggies improved to 7-4 with four players in double figures. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines directed the Crimson and White with 20 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Senior center Hamidu Rahman anchored the inside presence with a season-high 16 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Hernst Laroche and freshman guard Daniel Mullings added 14 points each, which is a career-high mark for Mullings.

Aggies Cruise to 92-65 Win

The Aggies opened a five-game home stand with a 92-65 win over Western New Mexico, Dec. 14. NM State had four players in double figures. Senior guard Hernst Laroche and redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines paced the team with 18 points each. Laroche not only had a season-high scoring performance but also a season-best five steals. Senior center Hamidu Rahman recorded his first double-double of the year with 13 points and 13 rebounds, which were season-high marks. Sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe tied a season-best showing with 12 points.

Against the WAC

As a team, the Aggies are leading the WAC in scoring offense (78.6 points per game), scoring margin (+9.4), rebounding margin (+6.8), rebounding offense (39.8 per game) and offensive rebounds (14.64 per game). NM State also ranks second in rebounding defense (33.0), steals (79) and third in turnover margin (+1.00), assists (142) and field goal percentages (44.8).

Individually, redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines ranks second in rebounding (9.5), scoring (17.0 points per game) and 10th in 3-point field goal percentage (38.1). Senior guard Hernst Laroche is fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (46.4) and assist/turnover ratio (1.90), seventh in steals (15), assists (40) and 10th in field goal percentage (47.9). Sophomore guard Christian Kabongo is fourth in scoring (15.3), sixth in assists (34), fifth in free throw percentage (84.5) and 10th in assist/turnover ratio (0.94). Senior center Hamidu Rahman ranks first in field goal percentage (64.7) and sixth in rebounds (7.3). Junior forward Tyrone Watson ranks tied for fourth in steals (16), while freshman guard Daniel Mullings is tied for eighth in steals (14). Junior forward Bandja Sy is eighth in field goal percentage (48.1), and sophomore center Tshilidzi Nephawe is ninth in blocked shots (11) as of Dec. 20.

Menzies Is the Fifth Winningest Coach at NM State

Head coach Marvin Menzies recorded his 80th victory at NM State in 2011-12. Following the 91-66 win over Southern, Dec. 19, he moved into fifth on the all-time winningest coaches list in program history.

All-Time Winningest Coaches (by victories)

1. Lou Henson-289

2. Neil McCarthy-229

3. Jerry Hines-157

4. Presley Askew-135

5. Marvin Menzies-84

6. Weldon Drew-82

Aggies Clipped at UTEP

In the second game of the Sonic Battle of 1-10, NM State fell at UTEP, 73-69, Dec. 11. Senior guard Hernst Laroche led the Aggies with a season-high 16 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the 3-point line. Junior forward Tyrone Watson was also in double figures with a season-high 11 points.

Laroche Nets Season High in I-10 Rematch

Senior guard Hernst Laroche scored a season-high 16 points to lead the Aggies in the Battle of I-10 rematch at UTEP, Dec. 11. He had a team-high showing on a 4-of-4 shooting performance from the 3-point line, which tied a career-high for 3-pointers made. Laroche also had three assists, two rebounds and a steal.

Watson Steps Up in El Paso

Junior forward Tyrone Watson scored a season-high 11 points in the Battle of I-10 rematch at UTEP, Dec. 11. He also tied a career high with four steals and grabbed three rebounds along with an assist.

Aggies Find Touch from Long Range

In the Battle of I-10 rematch at UTEP, Dec. 11, the Aggies hit a season-high 10 3-pointers. They also had a season-best shooting performance for the 3-point line (47.6 percent).

Late Aggie Comeback Falls Short

NM State lost at Southern Mississippi, 74-66, Dec. 4. The Aggies made a late comeback but couldn’t recover from a slow start. With his first field goal of the game, redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines became the 28th member of the 1,000-point club at NM State. He finished the game with 15 points. Sophomore guard Christian Kabongo led all scorers with 21 points. Senior guard Hernst Laroche was also in double-digits with 12 points.

McKines Scores Career-High 28, Aggies Fall to Arizona

NM State fell short against Arizona, 83-76, Nov. 29, in its first home game inside the Pan American Center versus a BCS conference school since December 2005. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines had a career high for the Aggies with 28 points and a 4-of-7 performance from the 3-point line. He also recorded his fourth double-double of the season and 31st of his career with 10 rebounds. Senior center Hamidu Rahman was vital inside with a season-high 13 points along with eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Christian Kabongo was also in double-figures with 15 points.

Strong Second-Half Showings

The Aggies have had strong second-half performances this season. NM State has surged in the second half and outscored opponents by 89 points, 502-413.

Driving to the Basket

The Aggies haven’t been afraid to drive to the basket this season. NM State has taken 429 free throw attempts in 12 games and has 175 more attempts than its opponents. The Aggies have made more free throws (284) then the opponents have attempted (254). As a team, NM State is shooting 66.2 percent from the line.

Aggies Own the Glass

NM State has a renewed focus on rebounding this season with a very experience front court. The Aggies have a +6.8 rebounding margin and 474-393 advantage on the boards. On the offensive glass, the Aggies have 40 more rebounds than their opponents (170-130). Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines is averaging 10.1 rebounds, and senior center Hamidu Rahman is adding 7.2 boards per game.

Aggies off to a Great Start

With the Great Alaska Shootout tournament-opening win over Central Michigan, Nov. 24, the Aggies recorded only their third 4-0 start since the 1992-93 season, when they won the Shootout in 1992.

McKines Leading the Way in His Final Season

Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines looks to leave a lasting legacy in his fifth season in Las Cruces. McKines has six double-doubles this season. He has scored in double figures in 11 games and grabbed double-digit rebounds in seven games. He became the 28th member of the 1,000-point club at NM State with his first field goal at Southern Miss, Dec. 4.

Laroche is a Dual Threat

Senior point guard Hernst Laroche has been a model of consistency in his Aggie career. This season, Laroche has scored in double digits in 7 of the 12 games. He has also notched five or more assists in five games with a season-high seven assists against San Francisco.

Kabongo Continues to Attack as a Sophomore

Sophomore guard Christian Kabongo isn’t afraid to drive to the basket in his second season. He scored a career-high 23 points in the win over San Francisco, Nov. 26. He has three 20-point games this year and has posted double figures in eight games. Kabongo has recorded three or more assists in eight games.

Rahman Controlling the Paint

Senior center Hamidu Rahman is an anchor for the Aggies in the middle. He has five double-figure games and has a minimum of four rebounds in each game. He tied a career high with three assists against San Francisco. Rahman has attempted multiple free throws in every game. He recorded his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds against Western New Mexico, Dec. 14.

Watson Maintains Supporting Role

Junior forward Tyrone Watson has started in 11 games this season. He scored a season-high 11 points at UTEP, Dec. 11. Watson also has posted three or more assists in five games in 2011-12.

McKines Earns WAC Player of the Week Honor

Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines was named the Verizon WAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the week of Nov. 14-20. The honor marks the first career WAC Player of the Week award for McKines. He averaged 18.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.0 assists per game. He shot 37.0 percent (10-of-27) from the field and 75.0 percent (15-of-20) from the free throw line.

Record Watch

Senior guard Hernst Laroche returned for his final season in Las Cruces and started his 100th consecutive game at Northern Colorado, Nov. 12. Jonathan Gibson has the school record in games played with 131. Laroche has 3,567 career minutes played, and he moved into No. 2 on the school record list at the Great Alaska Shootout. He needs just 216 minutes to tie all-time leader Eric Channing (3,783).

Laroche also ranks second on the all-time list for career assists (462) at NM State. He trails Sam Crawford by 130 assists (592).

Career Leaders in Assists

1. Sam Crawford-592

2. Hernst Laroche-462

3. Keith Hill-379

4. Ernest Patterson-371

5. Steve Colter-347

Aggie Double-Doubles

NM State has tallied seven double-doubles this season. Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines recorded the first double-double of the season at Northern Colorado, Nov. 12, with 18 points and 10 rebounds. McKines has 33 career double-doubles and six this season. Senior center Hamidu Rahman also has a double-double this year.

Rahman Climbs the Ladder

Senior center Hamidu Rahman currently has 102 career blocked shots. He is now No. 4 on the Aggie all-time list.

Career Leaders in Blocked Shots

1. James Moore-200

2. Slab Jones-124

3. Charles Goza-116

4. Hamidu Rahman-102

5. Johnny Roberson-98

6. Sam Lacey-92

7. Martin Iti-82

McKines Returns to the Hardwood

Redshirt senior forward Wendell McKines returned in 2011-12 after being sidelined last year due to a broken foot he sustained in mid-October. An All-WAC honorable mention selection in 2009-10, he ranks No. 3 on the all-time rebounding list at NM State with 882 boards. McKines has posted six double-doubles in 2011-12 and has 32 in his career.

Career Leaders in Rebounds

1. Sam Lacey 1,265

2. Slab Jones 951

3. Wendell McKines 882

4. George Knighton 866

5. Billy Joe Price 824

6. Charles Gosa 788

Looking Ahead

The Aggies travel to Cal State Bakersfield, Jan. 2, before beginning WAC play at Louisiana Tech, Jan. 7.

Source: NMSU Athletics

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