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New Mexico State basketball set to face Northern Iowa on Dec. 13

Justin Martinez
Las Cruces Sun-News
The NMSU Aggies face off against the Kansas City Roos at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020.

LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico State men's basketball team is set to face Northern Iowa this season on Dec. 13 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The matchup marks the first in program history between two of the top mid-major squads in the country. The Aggies enter the new season on a 19-game win streak, while the Panthers enter as the Missouri Valley Conference's 2019-2020 regular season champs.

No start time has been determined, and tickets will be made available at a later date.

"We are looking forward to competing against UNI at the Sanford Pentagon," New Mexico State head coach Chris Jans said. "This is an excellent opportunity for us to play a high-caliber program at a great venue. UNI is loaded with talented players and is led by a coaching staff that is considered one of the best in college basketball."

Northern Iowa boasted a 25-6 record last season and is sure to be equally competitive this time around with plenty of returning talent.

The largest domino yet to fall for the Panthers is the decision of MVC Player of the Year AJ Green, who declared for the NBA Draft this summer after averaging a conference-best 19.7 points per game last season.

Green did not hire an agent and is eligible to return to Northern Iowa for his junior season if he removes his name from the draft. The deadline to do so is Aug. 3.

Even with Green's decision up in the air, the Panthers still have senior guard Trae Berhow (12.5 ppg) and junior forward Austin Phyfe (11.2 ppg) back in the mix. The team ranked eight in the country in 3-point percentage last season (38.6 percent) and is sure to provide a good non-conference test for the Aggies.

"We are thrilled to be playing New Mexico State at the Pentagon," Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson said. "New Mexico State has been terrific, they are extremely well-coached, play really hard, and will once again be in the hunt for their championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament."

The Northern Iowa matchup marks the fourth non-conference game to be scheduled for New Mexico State this upcoming season.

The Aggies have a date with New Mexico in Albuquerque on Nov. 21 before hosting their in-state foes in Las Cruces on Dec. 5. They'll then face Northern Iowa on Dec. 13 followed by a game against Santa Clara in Las Vegas on Dec. 23.

Justin Martinez can be reached at (575) 541-5455, JMMartinez@lcsun-news.com or @JTheSportsDude on Twitter. Make sure to subscribe to the Las Cruces Sun-News  to stay up to date with all local sports.