NM State (1-0) vs. Benedictine Mesa (0-1)
Tuesday, Dec. 1 | 7:30 p.m. | The PHHacility | Phoenix, Ariz.
Watch | Listen | Live Stats | NM State Game Notes
• With a chance to match the longest winning streak in program history, the NM State men’s basketball team takes to the court of The PHHacility in Phoenix, Ariz., Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. to take on NAIA foe Benedictine Mesa.
• Tuesday night’s game will be streamed on the NM State Men’s Basketball Facebook page.
• On the call on the radio airwaves will be longtime voice of the Aggies Jack Nixon. He narration of the game can be heard on Zia Country 99.5 FM in Las Cruces, N.M.
• Listeners outside of the Las Cruces area can access Nixon’s call on the Aggie Sports Network’s affiliate stations which include 103.5 FM KNMZ (Alamogordo), 1150 AM KNMM (Albuquerque), 1240 AM KAMQ (Carlsbad), 1380 AM KHEY (El Paso), 1230 AM, 94.9 FM KYVA (Gallup) and 107.1 FM KMDS (Las Vegas). Fans not in any of those areas can also find his broadcast via the TuneIn app which is available nationwide.
• Dating back to last December, the Aggies have won 20-straight games – the second-longest winning streak in the history of the program. With a win Tuesday night, they would match the program’s lengthiest unbeaten streak which occurred in 1937-38. That year head coach Jerry Hines and his crew won 21 consecutive contests en route to a Border Conference title.
THIS DATE IN AGGIE HISTORY
• For the second time in the Chris Jans coaching era, the Aggies will be in action on December 1.
• The first time NM State played on Dec. 1 under Jans, it scored a 69-63 victory over Pac-12 adversary Washington State in the Pan Am Center in 2018-19.
• Dating back to last season, NM State has won three consecutive games in the month of December.
• Each of the last three times the Aggies have played a game on December 1, they have advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
LAST TIME OUT
• Caught up in a fierce battle with the ninth-ranked NAIA team in the nation, the Aggies got a big-time dunk from senior Johnny McCants with 45 seconds to go which helped them retake the lead and hang on for an 83-77 win over Arizona Christian.
• Making just his second appearance on the court since March 21, 2019, redshirt senior guard Clayton Henry led the way for the Aggies with a team and career-high 20 points.
• In his Aggie debut, senior and UNLV transfer Donnie Tillman added 15 points. It was the highest scoring output by an Aggie in their NM State debut since Nov. 6, 2018, when JoJo Zamora dropped in 16 in a 73-56 triumph over North Dakota State inside the Pan American Center.
• Playing in his first college basketball game in 623 days, redshirt junior Wilfried Likayi chipped in nine points, five rebounds, an assist, a blocked shot and a steal off of the bench. Likayi missed the entire 2019-20 season with a torn meniscus and a ruptured LCL.
• Preseason WAC Player of the Year Jabari Rice picked up right where he left off, going for 14 points and game-best nine rebounds.
• McCants came up especially big late in the game for NM State by scoring five of his eight points in the last 45 seconds. Additionally, three of his seven rebounds came during that same span.
SCOUTING BENEDICTINE MESA | ROSTER | SCHEDULE | STATISTICS
• Tuesday evening’s tilt marks the first matchup between the Aggies and Redhawks.
• Just a few days ago, the Redhawks tangled with another WAC opponent to begin their 2020-21 season. Benedictine Mesa headed to Grand Canyon to take on the Lopes, falling 94-63 in their first action of the year.
• The lone Redhawk in double-digits in the team’s season opener at Grand Canyon was Austin Denham who finished with 20 points. An Honorable Mention All-Cal Pac honoree last season, Denham averaged a team-high 14.2 points for the Redhawks in 2019-20 while his 411 total points ranks second in Benedictine history in terms of a single-season scoring total.
• One season ago, the Redhawks put up a 14-15 overall record which included a 6-8 showing in league games. This season they’re looking to replace the production they lost following the graduation of seniors Henry Galinto (13.0 ppg, 9.6 rpg in 2019-20) and Antowine Locke, Jr. (12.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.6 apg in 2019-20).
• NM State and Benedictine Mesa have two common opponents on their respective 2020-21 schedules this season. The Aggies will duke it out with Grand Canyon twice this year once WAC play gets going and have already taken on Arizona Christian – a team the Redhawks will battle twice this year.
• Drawing a comparision or two to former Aggie phenom Jemerrio Jones, redshirt junior guard Jabari Rice has continued to put his rebounding abilities on display during the early stages of the 2020-21 campaign.
• In the Aggies’ season opener at Arizona Christian, the Houston, Texas, product gathered up a game-high nine rebounds but was at his best on the offensive glass.
• Rice collected a career-high six offensive boards in the Aggies’ six-point win and though the season is not even a week old that has allowed him to shoot up the national leaderboard in that category.
• The guard leads the WAC and ranks fifth among all NCAA Division I men’s basketball players in offensive rebounding with his average of 6.0 per game.
• Overall his 9.0 rebounds per game stand as the third-best average in the WAC as well as the 76th-best on the NCAA Division I men’s basketball landscape.
• Through the course of the last 621 days, redshirt senior guard has played in just two games for the Aggies as a result of two separate injuries sustained during the 2019-20 season. Now, back to how normal, healthy self, Henry is making up for lost time.
• In the Aggies’ season opener, Henry put forth his first 20-point outing in a NM State uniform by finishing with a team-high 20 points against Arizona Christian.
• The efficiency with which Henry put the ball in the basket was encouraging, too, as he went 7-of-11 (63.6-percent) from the field. Currently Henry’s field goal percentage is the best
among all WAC players as well as the 90th-best when stacked up against all NCAA Division I men’s basketball squads.
• Henry is one of 104 players from around the DI ranks who have not missed a free throw yet this season, too. The senior went 3-for-3 from the foul line in the Aggies’ season opener.
YOU GOTTA DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO
• Having relocated to the Phoenix, Ariz., area for the start of the 2020-21 college basketball season, the Aggies are having to take games where they can get them for the time being. While NM State is in the midst of scheduling games on the fly, their season opener at Arizona Christian was unique for a number of reasons.
• By playing at the NAIA program, NM State became the first – and only – NCAA Division I men’s basketball program this season to play a road game at an NAIA institution.
• There was another game like that on college basketball’s docket this year. Western Michigan – a DI program in the MAC – was originally scheduled to play at NCAA Division III Trine University in Angola, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 28, but that game was canceled due to positive COVID-19 tests in Trine’s program.
• The Aggies have not one, not two, but three players who have a chance to reach the 1,000-point mark for their respective collegiate careers in 2020-21.
• Senior forward Donnie Tillman put in 15 points in his Aggie debut on Nov. 29 against Arizona Christian, giving him 808 for his career. He needs just 192 more to reach an even 1,000.
• Senior guard Evan Gilrard II sits at 804 career point and is 196 points away from the 1,000-point mark.
• It’s a reach, but senior forward Johnny McCants could also reach the 1,000-point milestone with a monstrous final season. After Sunday’s season opener McCants pushed his collegiate point total to 612 meaning he’ll need 388 to get to 1,000.
• With their win over Arizona Christian last Sunday evening, NM State assured itself an undefeated month of November for the first time since 2003. That year, the Lou Henson-led Aggies won all three of their games in that month.
COMING UP NEXT
We’re not quite sure yet. The Aggies’ coaches and staff members are working on scheduling the team’s next non-conference game.