ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When his team touched down Tuesday night in McAllen, Texas, New Mexico State basketball player Matej Buovac tweeted: “Feels like we are in a different country”.
It should be noted that Buovac is from Croatia; that Edinburg, site of tonight’s Aggies game vs. Texas-Pan American, was still 11 miles away; and that Aggie opponents surely have echoed similar sentiments while rolling into Las Cruces.
What matters is that the road in the Western Athletic Conference has been unkind to the Aggies (20-8, 9-3), who beat New Mexico in the Pit, but later lost league games at Chicago State, Missouri-Kansas City, and Idaho — three teams the Aggies blew out at home.
UTPA is 8-19, 4-8. But Aggies coach Marvin Menzies has seen his team win only twice on the WAC road. That gives cause to be satisfied with any measure of victory that would keep pace with first-place Utah Valley. And Menzies, for the record, doesn’t expect a lopsided game.
“They have lengthy guys that are very versatile — the kind of teams I like to coach,” Menzies said. “I don’t anticipate there being a blowout. They’re coming to play, and so are we.”
The host Broncs have the reigning WAC Player of the Week in 6-foot-5 guard Javorn Ferrell, a graduate transfer student from Massachusetts who averaged 23 points per game last week in wins over Chicago State and Missouri-Kansas City.
In the first pairing of the two teams, the Aggies won 90-78 at home behind a career-high 32-point performance from guard Daniel Mullings.