NMSU Set to Battle #22 Saint Mary's

Las Cruces, NM - The first road match of the year for the New Mexico State men’s basketball team will be one to watch as it battles West Coast Conference perennial powerhouse No. 22/22 Saint Mary’s on Monday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. (MT).


Aggie fans in the California can catch Monday’s tilt against the Gaels on Comcast Hometown Network on Comcast channels 104 and 819. Dave Lewis will have the call while Bill Herenda serves as the analyst and Kate Rooney as the sideline reporter.

In addition, fans can also catch the game on CHN’s website by clicking here. Fans can also catch the action on the West Coast Conference website by clicking here.


Get up to the minute information and news about the NM State men’s basketball team all season on Twitter and Instagram by following @NMStateMBB and on Facebook at FB.com/NMStateMBB.


Aggie fans can also catch Monday’s game by listening to NM State Athletics/US Bank Hall of Famer Jack Nixon on 99.5 Zia Country and affiliate stations. Fans can listen to the game live on following affiliate stations:

Alamogordo       103.7 FM KNMZ

Albuquerque      1150 AM KNMM

Carlsbad               1240 AM KAMQ

El Paso                  1380 AM KHEY

Gallup                   1230 AM, 94.9 FM KYVA

Las Vegas             107.1 FM KMDS


The next home game on Friday, Nov. 17, against Battle of I-25 rival New Mexico will serve as the WHITE OUT game presented by Wells Fargo. Aggie fans are encouraged to wear white at the game against the Lobos.


New Mexico State’s first road opponent will be a tough one in #22/22 Saint Mary’s on Monday, Nov. 13. The two teams last clashed in 2016 in the first-round of the National Invitational Tournament, a game where NM State was bested by SMC 58-56. The Aggies trail the all-time series 4-1 with its lone. Their lone win came in the first meeting between the two programs back in 2000, 82-64.

The Gaels return their top-three returning scorers who combined for 1,342 points last season and also return 4-of-5 starters from last season as they open the 2017-18 campaign against Saint Francis this Saturday, Nov. 11. Saint Mary’s has won 15-consecutive season-openers since losing to UC Irvine in 2001.

Jock Landale, SMC’s lead returning scorer and rebounder who averaged 16.9 points and 9.5 boards last year has been named to several watch lists. The 6-11 center has been named to the Citizen Naismith Watch List, Lou Henson Watch List, Lute Olson Watch List and Oscar Robertson Trophy Watch List.

Heading into the season, Saint Mary’s was picked as the favorites to win the West Coast Conference over WCC perennial powerhouse Gonzaga. Landale, Calvin Hermanson and Emmett Naar were all selected to the All-WCC Preseason Team as well.

The Gaels led the WCC in scoring defense last year, holding opponents to just 57.5 points per game. SMC also led the league in 3-point field-goal percentage, posting a .394 shooting clip as a team. It also led the conference with 16.6 assists per game to go with a WCC-best 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Saint Mary’s is led by Randy Bennett, who enters his 17th season with Gaels. Bennett recently signed a 10-year extension that’ll keep him in Moraga, Calif., through the 2026-27 season. Since taking over the program in 2001, Bennett has turned the Gaels into a household name. In the last 10 years alone, Bennett and SMC has gone 263-76 overall (.776) with three WCC titles and three WCC Coach of the Year honors to go with a District Coach of the Year honor from the NABC. In the last 10 years, Bennett has guided Saint Mary’s to five NCAA Tournaments and five NIT appearances.


New Mexico State is 605-152 all-time inside the Pan American Center and has gone 140-26 the last 10 years at home. The Aggies’ new home win-streak stands at three with the win over East Central University after snapping their 23-game win-streak on Feb. 23 last season.


After Friday’s season-opening victory, here’s how the Aggies faired throughout the years…

First-Year Head Coaches: 18-9 (Lou Henson & Jerry Hines had 2 stints)

Season-Openers: 68-42-1

Home-Openers: 82-27-1

Season/Home Opener was the Same Game: 55-18-1

The Aggie men have now won four-straight home-openers and seven of their last eight. Only loss during that stretch came against Western Michigan in 2013. The only year NM State didn’t have a home-opener was during the 1907-08 campaign.


Friday’s season and home-opener saw several Aggie players make their debut in the Crimson & White. After sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules, AJ Harris finally saw action for the Aggies, scoring 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting with six assists and two steals. Grad transfer and SWAC Player of the Year Zach Lofton made a splash in his debut, pouring in a game-high 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting with six boards, three steals and two dimes.

Others making their debut included, Shunn Buchanan, Gabe Hadley, Kortrijk Miles, Leston Gordon and Johnny McCants. Of the seven that made their debut, six scored at least two points Friday night while three scored in their first collegiate game.


After struggling from the floor in the first half, New Mexico State found its rhythm in the second half and routed East Central University 81-55 in its season-opener. The Aggies were led by Zach Lofton’s 25 points while Jemerrio Jones added 19 points and 19 rebounds. AJ Harris chipped in with 12 points and six assists as well to round out the double-digit scorers.

The Aggies dominated the paint, outscoring the Tigers 50-14 while also out-rebounding ECU 59-30. NM State’s second-half surge was helped in part to the team shooting 55.6-percent from the floor (20-for-36). At the end of the game, head coach Chris Jans put 12 different players on the floor with 10 of the 12 players scoring.


New Mexico State returns home for a three-game homestand. First up for the Aggies will be Battle of I-25 rival New Mexico on Friday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. (MT). The rivalry game has been designated as the WHITE OUT game and fans are encouraged to wear white.

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