CSJ WAC Men’s Hoops Preview Week Ending 2/2/2020: League Looks to Close Gap on Aggies

Conference leader New Mexico State could only sit back and watch as the rest of the league looked to close the gap between the Aggies and themselves. 

NMSU did all it could to maintain the separation by defeating UT Rio Grande Valley 67-62 to remain undefeated in conference play with a 6-0 record and improved its season mark to 15-6. The Aggies are on a nine-game winning streak heading into a pair of games this week against Bakersfield and Grand Canyon.

California Baptist was the only foe to keep pace with the Aggies by winning both of its games last week. The Lancers defeated Chicago State 85-53 on Jan. 22 and downed Kansas City 67-57 three days later to move their conference record to 4-2 this season. CBU plays at Utah Valley on Thursday before heading to Seattle for a Saturday afternoon tilt against the Redhawks.

The rest of the league was not so fortunate. Four other teams had a chance to close the gap on Aggies, but split their two games, while three other teams dropped their only games of the week.

Courtesy The Runner

WAC Marquee Game of the Week

Bakersfield at New Mexico State
When: Thursday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m.
Where: Lou Henson Court at Pan American Center (12,572)
Television: WAC Digital Network (WDN)

BAKERSFIELD ROADRUNNERS: Bakersfield saw its modest three-game winning streak hit a bump with its 86-79 loss at home last weekend against Seattle.

The Roadrunners can make the disappointment of that setback a distant memory with a win over league-leading New Mexico State on Thursday. And they seem to have the firepower to make that a possibility.

Bakersfield is scoring at a 71.9 points per game clip this season and is allowing the opposition 69.2 points per contest. Based on numbers alone, the 2.7 points per game difference indicates Thursday’s game could be a nail-biter.

Taze Moore (6-5, RS, Jr., G) leads the Roadrunners with 11.9 points per game and is one of just two Bakersfield players averaging more than 10 points per game. Moore ranks second on the team with 40 assists and 27 steals so far this season.

De’Monte Buckingham (6-4, RS, Jr., G) joins Moore in double figures with 10.4 points per game of his own and his 4.5 rebounds is tied for the team-lead with Justin Edler-Davis (6-4, RS, Jr., G/F), who also averages 7.3 points per game for the Roadrunners.

NEW MEXICO STATE AGGIES: The Aggies have proven they are good. They are very, very good.

New Mexico State is averaging 71.3 points per game this season and are outscoring its opponents by 10.5 points per contest and are grabbing seven rebounds more than the opposition per game in 2019-20.

Trevelin Queen (6-6, Sr., G), the outstanding player of last year’s WAC tournament, leads the Aggies in virtually every statistical category. He is averaging a team-best 14.7 points per game and is grabbing 5.7 rebounds per contest, which also tops the team charts. Queen, who played at Marin and at New Mexico Military Institute prior to enrolling at NMSU in 2018-19, leads the Aggies with 55 assists and has tallied 37 steals so far this season and has started all 20 games.

Jabari Rice (6-4, RS, So. G) is the second of three players scoring in double digits for the Aggies. He is averaging 12.1 points per game and is fourth on the team in rebounding with 4.8 boards per game. Teammate Ivan Aurrecoechea (6-8, Sr., F), is adding 10.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game so far this season.

Johnny McCants (6-7, RJr., F) is just off the pace when it comes to scoring, but is averaging 9.1 points. His 5.5 rebounds per outing ranks second on the team.

Teamvs. Big SkyOverallSagarin
Eastern Washington10-417-8139
Northern Colorado10-417-8126
Montana State8-614-11208
Northern Arizona8-714-10233
Southern Utah7-714-11211
Portland State6-812-14197
Sacramento State6-913-11231
Weber State6-910-16245
Idaho State3-126-18323

Check out our full Mid-Major Sagarin Ratings for this week here.

Last Week’s Results

Jan. 22

California Baptist 85, Chicago State 53

Jan. 23

Bakersfield 58, Utah Valley 57
Grand Canyon 80, Seattle 77

Jan. 25

California Baptist 67, Kansas City 57
New Mexico State 67, UT Rio Grande Valley 62
Seattle 86, Bakersfield 79
Utah Valley 73, Grand Canyon 69

This Week’s Games

Jan. 27

Crowley’s Ridge at Kansas City, 6 p.m., WDN

Jan. 29

California Baptist at Utah Valley, 7 p.m., WDN

Jan. 30

Grand Canyon at UT Rio Grande Valley, 6 p.m., ESPN+
Bakersfield at New Mexico State, 7 p.m., WDN

Feb. 1

Kansas City at Chicago State, 11 a.m., WDN
California Baptist at Seattle, 2 p.m., WDN
Bakersfield at UT Rio Grande Valley, 6 p.m., WDN
Grand Canyon at New Mexico State, 7 p.m., WDN