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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (2,650) -- San Antonio, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: NMSU 10-1, UTSA 1-6. Away Record: NMSU 4-6, UTSA 3-8. Neutral Record: NMSU 0-1, UTSA 1-1. Conference Record: NMSU 8-2, UTSA 1-9. Series Record: New Mexico State leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: Two teams heading in opposite directions in the Western Athletic Conference meet up at the Convocation Center in San Antonio on Saturday, as the Roadrunners of UTSA play host to the New Mexico State Aggies.
At the moment the Aggies are tied with Denver for second place in the WAC standings, trailing only Louisiana Tech which has yet to be defeated by another member of the league. Outside of the Bulldogs, NMSU is the hottest team in the conference with eight consecutive wins after bowing to Texas- Arlington and LaTech to begin the conference slate back in late December.
The Aggies were on the road on Thursday night in San Marcos, visiting Texas State, and took down the Bobcats rather easily in an 86-72 final.
Meanwhile, the Roadrunners are alone in last place in the conference, having won just once in 10 opportunities. The team was also in action two nights ago, hosting Denver and was crushed by the Pioneers in a 71-57 final. The defeat was the second in a row and the ninth in the last 10 contests overall for the program.
The Aggies lead the all-time series between these two squads by a 3-1 mark, taking the first meeting of the season last month by an 82-62 score at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces.
Bandja Sy registered a double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds as he helped guide the New Mexico State Aggies to a 14-point win over the Texas State Bobcats in WAC play at Strahan Coliseum two nights ago. Playing 39 minutes on the night, Sy converted both of his attempts behind the 3-point line and was 9-of-11 from the floor overall for the Aggies (14-8, 8-2 WAC) as they extended their win streak to eight in a row. Daniel Mullings finished with 22 points, hitting all 10 of his opportunities at the free-throw line, followed by Remi Barry and Sim Bhullar with 10 points apiece. New Mexico State, which shot 55.6 percent from the floor in both the first and second halves, produced a 42-33 rebounding advantage in the meeting. Mullings is one of those players who is capable of doing everything for a team and that's exactly what is going on right now with the Aggies as he posts 14.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 59 assists and 49 steals. Sy (11.1 ppg), who is just 21.2 percent accurate on the perimeter, would be smart to force his way into the paint instead where he is pulling down a team-best 7.3 rpg, which has helped to push the group to a rebounding edge of more than seven per game right now.
The Roadrunners dug themselves a deep hole on Thursday night, converting just six field goals in the first half, leading to a 39-19 deficit at the break versus visiting Denver. The team was able to improve to 54.5 percent in the second half, but by then it was too late as the squad suffered the double- digit setback. Kannon Burrage led the offense with 19 points, followed by Larry Wilkins and Michael Hale III with 15 and 10 points, respectively, the former adding seven rebounds as well. Burrage is the one who tends to give the Roadrunners at least a fighting chance in many games, averaging 18.0 ppg, although he is shooting just 37.0 percent from the field at the moment as well. Hale III picks up some of the slack with not only 45.1 percent accuracy from the floor, but also 40.8 percent beyond the arc as he generates 16.0 ppg for a group posting 65.9 ppg, but giving up 73.0 ppg over the course of 20 games.
The Aggies are dealing with some distractions at the moment, a number of injuries and suspension, which might give UTSA some hope. However, given how well the substitutes performed on Thursday it appears as through NMSU will be able to pull through yet again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico State 81, Texas-San Antonio 64
02/02 10:32:43 ET