The Daily Aggie :: 12/21/08

There's pretty much just one word to sum up yesterday. Ouch. The Aggie basketball teams took on their rivals, one to the north and one to the south and it did not go well for either team. Both games were fairly similar in that the Aggies were competitive in the first half, the Aggie women led at halftime and the men were down by just six, and then before you knew it both Aggie teams were down by 17 points (or more in the men's case). Both Aggie teams made mini-runs to give Aggie fans hope of comebacks, the ladies got the Lobo lead down to 11 with 3:13 remaining in the game and the men cut the lead to 12 point with 3:08 remaining in the game, but both the Lobos and Miners would quickly dash those hopes. We've got photos from the women's game against UNM as well as photos from The Don Haskins Center where the Aggies tangled with the Miners.

Madison Spence and Hamidu Rahman each did everything they could to keep their teams in the game. Madison scored 20 points on 7-13 shooting from the field. She was 3-5 from behind the three point arc and 3-4 from the free throw line. Hamidu had his coming out party scoring 19 points on 5-7 shooting from the field and was a ridiculous 9-10 from the free throw line (Aggie big men have struggled at the line for the most part in recent seasons) and all of that in just 22 minutes of play. Without Hamidu, the Aggies would not have been within six points at the half. He singlehandedly kept the Aggies in the game in the first half as the Aggies had one of their poorest shooting nights in recent memory hitting just 26% from the field. At one point during the first half they were shooting somewhere between 13% and 17% from the field and yet never trailed by more than nine points thanks in large part to Hamidu's play.

UTEP's Stefon Jackson scored 33 points and become the first Miner to EVER have three 30 plus point games against the Aggies in the history of the series. Much like Jaycee Carroll did, Stefon Jackson terrorized NMSU and it'll be nice to be rid of him.

The rivalry games between the Aggies and Miners have always been chippy, however, we've never seen the two teams jaw at each other at midcourt (ala a football game where the two teams jump up and down at the 50-yard line and yell at each other). From postgame accounts, the Aggies came to midcourt and started stomping on UTEP's logo, quite possibly also a first for basketball (we thought the Miami Hurricanes were the only team to do that sort of thing).

We've also never been to a game where we saw so many technical fouls as there were in last night's Aggie/Miner game. Five technical fouls were called, one in the first half on UTEP's Randy Culpepper, two at halftime, one on Wendell McKines and one on Randy Culpepper resulting in his ejection from the game, and two in the second half, one on Troy Gillenwater just a few seconds into the game and one on UTEP's Kareem Cooper which allowed the Aggies to pull to within 11 points with 3:08 remaining after Jahmar Young hit the pair of technical foul free throws.

And on the ladies' side, it was a bit embarrassing to show up to the Pan Am and see a whole section of Cherry and Silver behind UNM's bench and then see a bunch of Aggie fans sparsely scattered around the arena. The Lobo fans made the Pan Am look and feel like The Pit-South. The official attendance was 1,463 and we'd venture a guess that at least half if not more of those were Lobo fans who had made the trip from Albuquerque. At best the game felt like a neutral court situation. Like we've said before, we're impressed with the support that the Lady Lobos get from their fans (regardless of wins and losses) and for that we give them kudos. And as much as it pains us to say this, Aggie fans could learn a thing or two from the UNM women's basketball fans.

Lobo fans invade the Pan Am

There's no time to dwell on the losses for either team. Tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 Pacific time the Aggie women take on Long Beach State in Long Beach as they look to notch their first road victory. The Aggie men are back in action against I-25 rival UNM on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Albuquerque also looking to notch their first road victory.

On to today's links...

Aggie Women's Basketball
The NMSU athletic website recaps yesterday's 78-64 loss.

The UNM athletic website recaps yesterday's loss to the Lobos.

Aggie Men's Basketball
The NMSU athletic website recaps yesterday's 84-69 loss.

The UTEP athletic website recaps last night's loss.

Bill Knight of the El Paso Times recaps Round II of the Battle of I-10.

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps yesterday's "face off."

The Sports Network recaps the 84-69 loss.

Aggie Football
Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News explores the possibility of NMSU adding the fifth black head coach in the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision.

Ray Holloman of AOL Fanhouse writes that there are no minor bowls for the kids that get to play in them.

Darrell Moody of the Nevada Appeal shares a few thoughts regarding student-athletes and also the firing of Reggie Theus.

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