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As defending WAC Tournament Champions, the New Mexico State men's basketball team opens the tournament against No. 6 seed Idaho, Thursday, March 14 at 1 p.m. in Las Vegas, Nev., at the Orleans Arena. The tournament games can be heard on the Aggie Sports Network and KGRT 104 FM in Las Cruces with the 'Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon, and the pregame show starts 30 minutes prior to tip.
New Mexico State Aggies
The Aggies are the No. 3 seed in the WAC Tournament after a 21-10 overall record and 14-4 WAC record. NM State concluded the regular season with a 69-66 win over UT Arlington, March 9 in Las Cruces. Sophomore guard Daniel Mullings is leading the team with 13.9 points per game. Senior forward Bandja Sy is also in double figures with 11.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Senior forward Tyrone Watson and freshman center Sim Bhullar add 10.8 and 10.0 points per contest, respectively.
WAC Tournament History
Since joining the WAC in 2005-06, the Aggies have a 14-4 record in the conference tournament. NM State has won three tournament titles in 2007, 2010 and 2012. In head coach Marvin Menzies' tenure, the Aggies have played in the championship game three times (2008, 2010 and 2012) with two titles (2010 and 2012). NM State fell to Boise State in triple overtime, 107-102, March 15, 2008 in Las Cruces, and defeated Utah State, 69-63, March 13, 2010 in Reno, Nev., and defeated Louisiana Tech, 82-57, March 10, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Sy, Mullings, Bhullar Earn All-WAC Honors
Senior forward Bandja Sy, sophomore guard Daniel Mullings and freshman center Sim Bhullar earned All-WAC honors. Sy was named a first-team selection after averaging 14.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. This is Sy's first postseason honor, and it is the seventh consecutive year that the Aggies have had a first-team honoree. Mullings was voted to the second team All-WAC and all-defensive team, after he supplied 14.7 points, 2.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game in conference games. Bhullar was named the WAC Freshman of the Year and to the third team All-WAC and All-Newcomer team after averaging 11.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game in WAC play.
2012 WAC Tournament in Review
NM State won its third WAC Tournament Championship in school history with an 82-57 win over No. 5 seed Louisiana Tech, March 10, 2012. The Aggies earned their 19th NCAA Tournament appearance with the victory and their second WAC title in three years. Forward Wendell McKines guided the Aggies with his 20th double-double of the season with 27 points and 14 rebounds on 12-of-16 shooting. Forward Tyrone Watson and guard Daniel Mullings supplied 12 points each. Center Hamidu Rahman added nine points and three blocked shots, and guard Hernst Laroche had eight points, six rebounds and six assists in the title game. The 25-point margin of victory in the championship game is the largest in WAC history. The previous best was 21 points when Utah defeated TCU, 89-68, in 1997. McKines earned WAC Tournament MVP honors, and Laroche and Watson were named to the WAC All-Tournament Team.
The Aggies advanced to their second WAC Tournament Championship game in three years following a 92-81 win over Hawai'i in the tournament semifinals, March 9, 2012. The Aggies had five players in double-figures with forward Wendell McKines leading the way with a game-high 22 points and a season-high six assists. Guard Hernst Laroche contributed 18 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the 3-point line. Center Tshilidzi Nephawe added a career-high 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Forward Tyrone Watson had 13 points, while guard Daniel Mullings posted his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Aggies opened the 2012 WAC Tournament with a 65-49 win over Fresno State in the quarterfinals, March 8, 2012. NM State had three players in double-digits with forward Wendell McKines leading the way with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Forward Tyrone Watson supplied 13 points, and guard Daniel Mullings added 11. The win was No. 100 for head coach Marvin Menzies.
The Vandals finished the regular season with a 12-17 record and 7-11 mark in the WAC. Senior center Kyle Barone leads Idaho with 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Junior forward Stephen Madison and sophomore guard Connor Hill are also helping the offense with 14.5 and 12.1 points per game, respectively.
The Aggies have a 22-4 all-time lead in the series after sweeping the regular season matchups with a 71-70 win, Jan. 12 in Moscow, Idaho, and 76-74 win, Feb. 7 in Las Cruces.
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