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WAC Basketball News and Standings: New Mexico State Alone On Top

Less than two full calendar weeks remain until the WAC basketball regular season is complete. As the conference tournament approaches, the standings continue to settle out. Fittingly, three of the top four teams in the WAC standings hold the longest winning streak in the conference. In a similar manner, the three longest losing streaks belong to the bottom three teams. Nonetheless, there remains plenty to be decided when it comes to penciling in the seed lines for the 10-team WAC basketball tournament.

With that being said, one thing that appears imminent is New Mexico State heading to Las Vegas as the 1-seed. The Aggies own the spotlight in WAC basketball action after bookending this past weekend with victories in two extremely tough road games. However, the results have also created a jumbled mess of schools vying for the other double-bye in the conference tournament.

Let’s have a look at the top headlines from around the Western Athletic Conference. The following article also includes the updated WAC basketball standings as well as key games to watch for this week.

Will McNair Jr. New Mexico State Aggies WAC basketball standings news
Credit: New Mexico State University Athletics

WAC Basketball News and Weekly Headlines

New Mexico State Topples Both Grand Canyon, Seattle on the Road

For many teams, the schedule spot that New Mexico State faced this past weekend would have been overwhelming. Not only did the Aggies have to play two road games in three days against two of the better teams in the WAC, but they also had to travel nearly 1400 miles in between.

The road warrior Aggies started their weekend off on Saturday night in a matchup against Grand Canyon. Given the high-stakes nature of the contest for both teams, the famed GCU Havocs brought a little something extra to the arena. It failed to phase New Mexico State in the slightest. A 14-point halftime deficit proved to be insurmountable as the Aggies rolled to an 82-66 victory. Teddy Allen couldn’t miss, as he piled up 30 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists.

Just two days later, New Mexico State basketball once again took to the court in hostile enemy territory. Seattle University’s Redhawk Center may only hold 1000 fans, but the venue was rocking on Monday night. Once again, the Aggies got the upper hand early on and managed to stave off every run Seattle made during the second half. NMSU got a massive lift from Will McNair Jr. He feasted on an undersized Redhawks frontcourt to finish with 14 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots.

The Aggies’ 66-55 victory broke a tie atop the WAC basketball standings between the two schools. New Mexico State now stands alone atop the standings table with a 13-2 record in league play. Meanwhile, Seattle now must fend off Sam Houston State if they hope to earn a double-bye in the conference tournament.

Stephen F. Austin Extends Winning Streak to Six Straight

No WAC basketball team has been hotter recently than Stephen F. Austin. Ever since dropping back-to-back games to New Mexico State and Seattle towards the end of January, the Lumberjacks have been perfect. A pair of victories this past week extended SFA’s winning streak to six in a row. While one could argue that beating Chicago State and Lamar isn’t exactly a major accomplishment, no win is a given in the Western Atheltic Conference. By taking care of business in games where they have been favored, the Lumberjacks have quietly crept into the hunt for a double-bye in the conference tournament.

In a nod to the fact that nothing comes easy in the WAC or college basketball in general, Stephen F. Austin found itself in a two-point ball game against Chicago State at the half last Wednesday. The Lumberjacks dominated the final 20 minutes to win by a lopsided 88-71 margin. Gavin Kensmil led all scorers with 26 points while Calvin Solomon did a little bit of everything for SFA. His final line included 12 points, 10 boards and five assists.

On Saturday, the Lumberjacks hit the road to take on a Lamar program that is still searching for its first WAC basketball victory of the season. Once again, Kensmil spearheaded Stephen F. Austin basketball to victory with 20 points and eight boards. Derrick Tezeno and Jaylin Jackson-Posey finished with 14 and 13 points respectively as the Jacks earned a 70-56 victory, their tenth WAC win of the season. Tezeno earned WAC basketball Freshman of the Week honors for his efforts.

Cameron Gooden Dixie State Trailblazers WAC basketball standings news
Credit: Will Navarro/CSUN Athletics

Dixie State Takes Down Utah Valley in ‘The Old Hammer Rivalry’

Arguably the most entertaining WAC basketball game of this past week came courtesy of ‘The Old Hammer Rivalry’. The animosity between Dixie State and Utah Valley dates all the way back to when both schools were situated among the junior college ranks. Saturday marked the second meeting between the in-state rivals this season, and the game did not disappoint.

After Utah Valley established themselves at the onset, the Trailblazers came roaring back, particularly in the latter part of the first half. Dixie State clung to a four-point advantage at the break, but the game continued to be a see-saw battle throughout the second half. The Wolverines managed to get back in front and appeared to be sitting pretty when a pair of Justin Harmon free throws gave them a seven-point lead with just 37 seconds left. Well, Dixie State scored eight points in the final 28 seconds of regulation. Cameron Gooden capped it off with a traditional three-point play to tie the game at 70 and force overtime.

Although UVU struck first blood in OT, the tide turned for good when Fardaws Aimaq was whistled for a ticky-tack foul away from the ball on a Dixie State shot attempt. This was Aimaq’s fifth foul and effectively sent the Wolverines’ leading scorer and rebounder to the bench. The Trailblazers had little trouble shutting things down defensively from there and came away with a thrilling 80-75 victory. Gooden finished with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. Meanwhile, DSU forward Hunter Schofield went toe-for-toe with Aimaq (20 points, 21 rebounds) all game long and led all scorers with 26 points. Schofield also added seven boards for good measure.

Updated WAC Basketball Standings

TeamConference RecordOverall Record
New Mexico State13-223-4
Sam Houston State12-317-11
Stephen F. Austin10-418-8
Grand Canyon9-518-7
Abilene Christian8-617-8
Utah Valley8-617-9
Tarleton State7-712-15
Dixie State6-813-14
California Baptist4-1014-13
Chicago State2-126-21

Upcoming WAC Basketball Games to Note

With just two weeks of regular-season play to go, the race for WAC basketball tournament seeding is as heated as ever. Fans should be laser-focused on both Seattle and Sam Houston State this week. The two schools are currently tied for second in the standings at 11-3. However, only one can receive the coveted double-bye through to the tournament semifinals. If they stumble, Stephen F. Austin could become a factor in the race as well. The Jacks have a pair of difficult home matchups this week as they try to keep their winning streak intact.

Sam Houston State at Stephen F. Austin

Date: Thursday, Feb. 23
Time: 7:30 pm EST
TV Coverage: ESPN+

Seattle at Utah Valley

Date: Thursday, Feb. 23
Time: 8 pm EST
TV Coverage: ESPN+

New Mexico State at Chicago State

Date: Saturday, Feb. 25
Time: 3 pm EST
TV Coverage: ESPN+

Abilene Christian at Stephen F. Austin

Date: Saturday, Feb. 25
Time: 5 pm EST
TV Coverage: ESPN+

Sam Houston State at Grand Canyon

Date: Saturday, Feb. 25
Time: 8 pm EST
TV Coverage: ESPN+

Seattle at Dixie State

Date: Saturday, Feb. 25
Time: 9 pm EST
TV Coverage: ESPN+

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