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NMSU looks to stay focused with Utah Valley coming to town

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team has won nine in a row and just completed a two-game road sweep of CSU Bakersfield and Grand Canyon.

But they know they need to remain focused with yet another important contest looming.

The Aggies will meet Utah Valley Wolverines Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Pan American Center. The Wolverines have won five of their last six games to get to 5-3 in the WAC and now stand tied in the loss column with Grand Canyon for second place (although GCU has two more wins currently).

“I understand that the target just got bigger,” said NMSU head coach Chris Jans. “You know, Utah Valley is coming in here [looking at] second place. And so, obviously, that makes it an ever bigger game. And hopefully we’ll have a good week of preparation and be ready to go.”

After losing their first WAC game of the season to Cal Baptist, the Aggies have vaulted to the top of the WAC standings behind two buzzer-beaters and a deep, talented roster that has run off nine consecutive wins.

“That’s probably been the biggest thing. We’ve had different guys step up and make big plays when we’ve really needed it,” said Jans.

New Mexico State already defeated Utah Valley on the road this year in a hard-fought 83-78 contest. The Wolverines had won 22 games in a row at home before NMSU ended the streak.

Utah Valley may be looking for a measure of redemption, but the Aggies say they’re simply focusing on what they can control.

“We just try to win every game. I mean, that’s our goal. We don’t get caught up in trying to beat a team twice or three times or whatever the case may be,” said Jans. “Our mentality is to prepare for each game and our goal is to win each game we play.”

NMSU currently holds a two-game lead for first place in the WAC over Grand Canyon with six conference games remaining.

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