Kevin Aronis stole the show on senior night.
Playing at the
Center for the last regular season
game, the New Mexico State senior scored 17 points to lead the Aggies to an
83-57 victory over Grand Canyon in Thursday's
regular season finale.
"It felt good to kind of go out on a high note," Aronis said. "We got a good team win tonight against a good
Grand Canyon team."
The Western Athletic Conference Tournament is next. NMSU (23-9, 12-4 WAC) is a Top 2 seed but first-place
(12-2 WAC) closes the season on Saturday at home against Bakersfield.
"You want to be ready to play your best basketball in March," said Aggies coach Marvin Menzies, who has coached the Aggies to three straight WAC Tournament championships. "I think the experience we have and having success, I'm hoping that works to our advantage."
Daniel Mullings scored 17 points, Tshilidzi Nephawe scored 15 points with nine rebounds and Sim Bhullar recorded his third straight double-double to close the season with a season-high 22 points with 12 rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots.
Mullings started at point guard for the second straight game as junior point guard K.C. Ross-Miller served the second of the two-game suspension handed down by Menzies following last week's altercation at Utah Valley.
|Photo by Gary Mook|
Menzies said he will decide on Ross-Miller's future on Friday.
"We will have a decision (Friday) on K.C.," Menzies said.
Aronis and fellow senior Renaldo Dixon (seven points, 11 rebounds) were in the starting lineup on Thursday.
"I think we were both role guys," Aronis said. "We have to help the team in different ways. We knew we had to be team guys and take wins over personal things."
With Mullings running the offense, the Aggies shot 50 percent in the second half and 44.1 percent for the game against
Grand Canyon, the team that would be
the No. 3 seed next week if GCU was eligible for postseason play.
NMSU started the game 1-for-8 from the floor, with Aronis missing two wide open 3-point looks. As the first half wore on, Aronis knocked down those open shots, hitting 5-of-8 from 3-point range for 15 first half points and a 38-27 lead.
"Our offense continues to click but not at the level it needs to in the first half," Menzies said. "I thought we had great looks but missed a lot of chippers."
Aronis moved into a tie with Jahmar Young and Jeff McCool for sixth place on the NMSU all-time list for made 3s in a season with 73 with more games to play next week at the Orleans Arena in
Las Vegas, Nev.
"I think we did a really good job holding them to 33 percent," Menzies said. They are leading the WAC in scoring. That was one of our concerns coming in."
Aronis hit two 3s during the run, draining a triple with 48 seconds left in the half.
The Aggies scored the first six points of the second half and led by as many as 28 with 5:20 left in the game.
"I think we are playing alright," Aronis said. "We definately have a lot of work to do. But we have a little momentum going into the WAC."