The New Mexico State Aggies steamrolled the Western New Mexico Mustangs last night in a 92-46 victory at the Pan American Center.
In their home opener, the Aggies were so dominant coming out that it took the Mustangs over five minutes to score. The score at the end of the first half was 52-16.
Trevelin Queen and Jabari Rice were the leading forces of the first half, accumulating 26 points between them. The Aggies continued to dominate in the second half, and were up 67-23 with 12:00 remaining.
Rice finished the game as the leading scorer with a career high 21 total points, hitting 67% of his shots, while Queen racked up a total of 14 points and four assists. The Aggies had five players that scored at least 10 points.
When asked about the dominant win, Rice made it clear that the Aggies are focused on developing as a team. “Right now we’re just trying to get better and progress to the next game,” Rice said.
During last night’s season opener, the Aggies were forced to play without two of their top players. Star player Terrell Brown was kept off the court due to a groin and hip injury, while AJ Harris sat out with a fractured finger. Harris is expected to be out until the middle of December.
Despite being without two of their top players, the Aggies had no problem in their season opener, and Rice had the chance to make some waves of his own. With a deep roster that carries a lot of talent, the Aggies are favored to win the WAC title again this season. Their performance against WNMU made a powerful statement.
“I thought, for the most part, our guys handled the situation pretty well,” said head coach Chris Jans. In terms of scheduling, Jans acknowledged the tough road ahead for the Aggies. “The competition’s going to go up big-time. In the next three weeks it’s on. We have to play high-level players, high-level coaches, quality programs … As these games come into vision, I expect [the players’] focus to intensify, because when those games come, they come hard and fast. There’s not many breaks inbetween,” Jans said.
The Aggies’ next game will be in El Paso when they face their heated rivals, the UTEP Miners. Although the Aggies are favored to win that game, it will be their first true test against a Division 1 basketball team, and will give fans a more accurate view of how talented the Aggies actually are. The game is set for Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m.