CONWAY, S.C. — A pair of former Missouri Valley Conference adversaries tangle for the first time since the early 1980s when New Mexico State faces Indiana State on Sunday night in the third-place game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational. Tipoff is 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2 plus Aggie radio network stations that include 99.5 FM in Las Cruces).
New Mexico State was a part of the Missouri Valley Conference from 1972-73 through 1982-83. Five years into the Aggies’ affiliation with the Missouri Valley Conference, Indiana State joined the league.
The all-time series is tied at 7-7. The most memorable of the games between the two teams, from NMSU’s standpoint, came on Feb. 1, 1979, when Larry Bird and the Sycamores outlasted the Aggies 91-89 in overtime. Bird had fouled out when teammate Bob Heaten hit a 50-foot shot at the buzzer to save Indiana State and send the game into overtime.
This Aggies (3-1) are coming off a game entirely void of that sort of drama — an emphatic 85-58 loss Friday to Utah State in the Invitational semifinals. Utah State shot 56 percent from the field, and the Aggies trailed 41-16 at the half in the second-worst defeat under coach Chris Jans. Las Cruces native Johnny McCants failed to grab a single rebound for the first time since Feb. 14, 2019. It snapped his 64-game streak of getting at least one rebound.
But the Aggies are 21-4 coming off a loss in the Jans era.
Under first-year coach Josh Schertz, Indiana State is 3-2 and fell 87-63 to Oklahoma in the Myrtle Beach semis.