FACTS & STATS: Site: Pan American Center (12,482) -- Las Cruces, New Mexico. Television: AggieVision, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Seattle 5-9. NMSU 11-1. Away Record: Seattle 2-6, NMSU 5-6. Neutral Record: Seattle 0-0, NMSU 0-1. Conference Record: Seattle 2-10, NMSU 10-2. Series Record: NMSU leads, 2-1.
GAMES NOTES: Currently in a tie for second place in the Western Athletic Conference the New Mexico State Aggies play host to the Seattle Redhawks in a league tussle at the Pan American Center on Saturday night.
The season has not been so kind to Seattle, which finds itself just 7-15 overall and 2-10 in league play. In its most recent decision, the Redhawks, who are second to last in the WAC standings, were handed a 72-55 beating by Denver. Seattle is 2-6 in away contests this season but will host conference leading Louisiana Tech next.
The Aggies have been blazing hot recently with wins in 10 straight games. All 10 victories have come in league play for the Aggies who have bounced back from an 0-2 start to pull to a tie with Denver in the conference standings. Overall New Mexico State is 16-8 on the campaign, including an impressive 11-1 ledger on its home floor after a 76-74 win over Idaho on Thursday. New Mexico State plays a two-game road trip next beginning against San Jose State.
Earlier this season these teams met for just the third time and the first as league foes. New Mexico State earned the 83-82 double-overtime victory in that matchup and now leads the all-time series 2-1.
Despite shooting 55.6 percent from the floor against Denver, Seattle still lost by 17 points because of the 26 turnovers. By turning the ball over so many times the Redhawks were outscored 31-12 on points off turnovers and had nearly 20 fewer field goal attempts than the Pioneers.
Seattle fits right in the middle of the WAC in terms of offensive production as the Redhawks are scoring 66.7 points per game and shooting 41.7 percent from the floor. Seattle has managed to clean the glass better than any other team in the WAC (40.5 pg), while ranking 12th nationally in the category. Clarence Trent (11.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg) is the only double-figure scorer on the roster for the Redhawks, who prefer a more balanced approach with seven different players scoring at least 5.8 points per game.
A pair of free throws with 14 seconds remaining from Daniel Mullings lifted New Mexico State to its victory over Idaho on Thursday. The Aggies led by as many as 11 points in the second half but found themselves tied 74-74 with a minute remaining after the Vandals went on an 18-7 run down the stretch. The Aggies did shoot 53.6 percent in the contest and knocked down 8-of-18 shots from beyond the arc.
New Mexico State is just marginally better than Seattle on the offensive end of the floor, ranking a spot ahead of the Redhawks in scoring (68.8 pg) and field-goal percentage (.464). However the Aggies have managed to play much better on the defensive end as they limit foes to just 63 points per game on less than 40 percent shooting. Four different players are scoring in double figures led by Mullings (14.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.1 spg), who also leads the team in steals. Bandja Sy (11.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg) is the next best option as well as the top player on the glass. Sim Bhullar (10.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg) has been a solid complementary piece.
Momentum is not something that can be ignored and New Mexico State is carrying a ton into this contest. With the balance they have on offense and the ability to stop opposing squads on defense, the Aggies should stay hot.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico State 71, Seattle 64
02/09 10:33:12 ET
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