New Mexico State (3-3) at Texas-El Paso (1-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 28, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Don Haskins Center (12,000) -- El Paso, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: NMSU 3-0, UTEP 1-0. Away Record: NMSU 0-2, UTEP 0-1. Neutral Record: NMSU 0-1, UTEP 0-2. Conference Record: NMSU 0-0, UTEP 0-0. Series Record: New Mexico State leads, 103-99.
GAME NOTES: In a relationship that has already surpassed 200 meetings on the hardwood, the New Mexico State Aggies and the Miners of Texas-El Paso are set to add another chapter to their lengthy history as they get together at the Don Haskins Center in the Lone Star State on Wednesday night.
While this game is being played on the home floor of the Miners, the team comes into the meeting saddled with a four-game losing streak. UTEP won the season opener here against Oral Roberts (69-49), but after that came setbacks to Arizona, Oklahoma, Clemson and, most recently, Vanderbilt on Sunday by a score of 73-49 as part of the Old Spice Classic in Florida.
As for the Aggies, they've managed to even their record at 3-3 after beginning the new season with just one win in four tries. However, this current two-game win streak hasn't been all that impressive since the victories have come against Northern New Mexico (67-37) and Louisiana (79-57) the day after Thanksgiving as part of the 2K Sports Classic.
Last season, each team won on its own court as the Aggies posted a convincing 89-73 victory in Las Cruces on Nov. 19 and about a month later UTEP delivered a 73-69 win in this same building. With the split, that means New Mexico State still maintains a four-game lead in the all-time series, now at 103-99.
Against the Ragin' Cajuns, NMSU broke out to a quick lead and never looked back, leading by as many as 37 points in the second half thanks to a defense that held the visitors to only 29.7 percent shooting from the floor. Bandja Sy led five players in double figures as he dropped 16 points, adding five rebounds and four blocked shots, followed by Tyrone Watson and Kevin Aronis with 12 points apiece, K.C. Ross-Miller 11 and Tshilidzi Nephawe with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds as the Aggies crushed Louisiana on the glass, 52-30. After six games this group is still dominating opponents on the boards, beating them by an average of 12.3 rpg and because of that the squad has succeeded in earning itself plenty of second-chance opportunities. Although he was not among the leading scorers the last time out, Daniel Mullings does head the list overall with 14.0 ppg, his 19 assists tops on the team as well, and his 6.0 rpg rank second.
The recent tournament for the Miners proved to be a disaster all-around, particularly against Vanderbilt as they attempted just 15 field goals in the first half and nailed only five, leaving them behind by 16 at the break and 24 once it was all said and done. John Bohannon was responsible for 11 points and six rebounds, but also four turnovers, and Cedrick Lang chipped in 10 points and seven boards for a team that was hit with 20 turnovers, against a mere 17 made baskets. Having used a total of just 10 players thus far, three of whom have played just 82 combined minutes and scored a collective 23 points, the Miners are trying to lean too heavily on a small group of players to get the job done and it isn't working. Bohannon is first on the team with 10.2 ppg and 4.6 rpg, but the group is scoring a mere 55.6 ppg and has been losing the battle of the boards by an average of seven per contest.
The disparity between these two teams on the glass will have a huge impact on the outcome. As long as the Aggies remember to maintain possession of the ball and not play too physical, a road win should be in order.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico State 74, Texas-El Paso 59
11/28 10:32:15 ET