New Mexico State (13-8) at Texas State (7-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 31, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Strahan Coliseum (7,200) -- San Marcos, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: NMSU 10-1, TSU 3-7. Away Record: NMSU 3-6, TSU 3-5. Neutral Record: NMSU 0-1, TSU 1-2. Conference Record: NMSU 7-2, TSU 3-6. Series Record: New Mexico State leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Texas State Bobcats again shoot for their first home win against a member of the Western Athletic Conference, as they host the New Mexico State Aggies in league action at Strahan Coliseum in San Marcos on Thursday night.
The Bobcats, who have dropped all four WAC contests that they have hosted so far this season, have actually put together a three-game win streak, with each victory coming on the road in league action. The most recent triumph took place on Saturday when the team slipped by Seattle at KeyArena, 86-83. Prior to this recent win streak TSU, which is now 3-6 in conference and tied with San Jose State for seventh place in the standings, had won just four times in 18 opportunities.
As for the Aggies, a team which is tied with Denver for the second-best mark in the WAC at 7-2, they are one of the hottest teams in the league at the moment as they enjoy a seven-game win streak. Last week, the program dialed up the defense and held Denver to a mere 42 points in an 11-point victory at home.
The Aggies lead the all-time series with Texas State by a count of 2-1, thanks to a 78-67 victory in the first meeting of the season earlier this month in Las Cruces. In that matchup, Daniel Mullings and Sim Bhullar posted 22 and 20 points, respectively, for the hosts, while the Bobcats were paced by Joel Wright with 17 points and seven rebounds.
Against Denver, the Aggies limited the visitors to just 18 made field goals and forced 15 turnovers, which helped the hosts produce a lead as great as 17 points in the second half. Not a single Pioneer scored in double figures as the team shot just 3-of-18 beyond the arc and 3-4 at the free-throw line. Tyrone Watson led the way for NMSU with 12 points, followed by Daniel Mullings and Bandja Sy with 11 and 10 points, respectively, with both players also clearing eight boards. In conference games, Mullings is the leader of the offense with his 15.7 ppg, shooting 50.5 percent from the floor along the way, while also collecting six rebounds per contest and averaging three steals. Sy (14.3 ppg), who should give up his efforts from 3-point range where he is just 23.5 percent accurate, accounts for a team-best 7.6 rpg and the team beats opponents on the glass by more than seven per game.
Reid Koenen came off the bench to score a game-high 24 points last Saturday, leading four players in double figures, as the Bobcats squeezed by Seattle on the road. Joel Wright accounted for 19 points and nine rebounds off the bench as well, although he shot just 6-of-17 from the floor and turned the ball over five times, while Phil Hawkins chipped in 13 points, six assists and three steals. Corey Stern responded with a double-double consisting of 10 points and a team-best 11 rebounds for a team that lost the rebounding battle (47-39) but outscored the Redhawks 16-1 at the free-throw line. Wright, a starter in six of the team's nine league bouts thus far, is easily the top offensive threat for the group with his 20.2 ppg, shooting 52.6 percent beyond the arc and having accounted for 58 of their 111 made free throws in conference play. Wright is also the top rebounder for the group with 6.6 per game, but still the Bobcats are being blasted on the glass by more than nine per game.
If the Bobcats can't keep up with the big bodies of the Aggies in the paint, this is a game that can easily get away from the hosts.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico State 73, Texas State 64
01/31 10:32:10 ET