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The Aggies have their groove back.
More than that, the New Mexico State University men’s basketball team has rattled off eight-straight victories and sit atop the Western Athletic Conference standings.
The Aggies (17-8 overall, 8-1 WAC) now head to Illinois to tangle with Chicago State Saturday, Feb. 13. Tipoff is scheduled for noon MT.
The road trip continues when NMSU travels to Kansas to take on Wichita State in a game postponed earlier in the season due to weather. Then an important home game looms on the schedule as CSU-Bakersfield, currently tied for second place in the WAC and one game behind NMSU, comes to town.
Rio Rancho home game
NMSU took a break from WAC action to play host to Northern New Mexico in a home game in the north at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, Monday Feb. 8 The Aggies saw every player get on the scoreboard as they never trailed in beating Northern New Mexico 85-54.
The Aggies extended their winning streak to eight games with the victory, while the Eagles (13-13) had a threegame win streak ended.
“I was really excited to get the opportunity to come up north to play in front of Aggie fans,” said NM State head coach Marvin Menzies. “We really do appreciate it. It was fun and definitely a positive.”
The Aggies jumped out to a double-digit lead early and never looked back, limiting most of the starting lineup to a half of action or less.
Sophomore center Tanveer Bhullar made the most of his playing time, leading the Aggies with 14 points, six rebounds and a blocked shot.
Sophomore starter Johnathon Wilkins posted 12 points with four boards and a block, while reserve sophomore Braxton Huggins collected 11 points with three assists.
“This was a great opportunity to play guys who don’t get a lot of reps with a crowd and refs,” said Menzies. “It’s a good deal.”
In playing just 17 minutes, sophomore Pascal Siakam scored eight points with six rebounds, marking only the fifth time this season that the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year and Lou Henson Award candidate did not add to his NCAA leading total of 21 double-doubles. However Siakam did have two blocked shots and a strong dunk to thrill the 2,306 in attendance for the game in the Albuquerque metro area.
Northern New Mexico ended its regular season with the loss.
The Eagles start play in the Association of Independent Institution’s Championship Tournament beginning on Feb. 26.
The Eagles got 12 points from Marcus Ellis, while Patrick Bendegue added 11 points with six rebounds.