The Daily Aggie :: 01/10/10

The Aggie men's and women's basketball teams both earned crucial league wins last night. The women's team took care of business against Hawai'i winning 73-51 and setting up an early season showdown with Fresno State. Hawai'i scored the first bucket of the game and led 5-4 2:21 into the game but after that it was all Aggies. The Aggies quickly stretched their lead to 12 points over the next two minutes and never looked back. They went into the halftime break with a 22-point lead, their largest halftime lead this season. Hawai'i cut the Aggies lead to 14 at 54-40 midway through the second half but the Aggies quickly built the lead back up to 22 at 62-40 with 8:15 left to play. The process repeated itself as Hawai'i once again cut the lead down to 14 with 3:28 left but once again the Aggies responded and held Hawai'i scoreless over the final three minutes and outscored them 8-0 in the process to give them the 22-point lead.

Madison Spence buried five triples and finished with 15 points. Jasmine Lowe scored a game high 17 points and the Aggie defense held Hawai'i to just 34 percent shooting for the game and no Wahine scored more than nine points. The Aggies shot 50 percent in the first half and 35.7 in the second half but finished the game shooting 43.3 percent from the field. Interestingly enough the Aggies shot better from the field (43.3 percent) and from three point distance (44.8 percent) than they did from the free throw stripe (40 percent). It was by far the Aggies' worst performance from the free throw stripe this season. Coach Spence attributed the poor free throw shooting to some fatigue from the Boise State trip. A couple of plus statistics for the Aggies included recording 10 steals on the night, outrebounding Hawai'i by seven but perhaps the most impressive is their 19 assists on their 26 made baskets.

The Aggies will take on Fresno State on Wednesday night and it's a battle of the two best teams in the league. The Aggies at 12-4 and 2-0 have the league's best record while Fresno State at 11-5 and 2-0 is second. The Aggies have played Fresno State close at the Pan Am and it should be a terrific game between these two .

The Aggie men's basketball team picked up a road victory in another shootout with Boise State. We said yesterday that we didn't really expect either team to score in the 80s but we were way off as both teams finished in the high 80s with the Aggies picking up the 88-85 win. It was sixth straight game between the two teams in which the winner has eclipsed the 80 point mark. One thing is for certain. When these two teams get together there will be plenty of points scored.

Jahmar YoungJahmar Young added to his Taco Bell Arena dossier scoring 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting. He has now scored 33, 25 and 19 points against the Broncos in Boise. Jonathan Gibson tied for game high honors with 26 points along with Boise State's Robert Arnold who we said yesterday the Aggies needed to keep tabs on. Arnold averaged fewer than 10 points per game (although we incorrectly attributed his conference scoring at 20 points per game when in fact it was Daequon Montreal who was averaging 20 points per game in conference play, our apologies). Nonetheless Arnold did plenty of damage last night.

One high point for the Aggie defense is that they held Kurt Cunningham, Boise State's field goal percentage leader at 64 percent to 0-of-7 shooting and just two points.

The Aggies shot 55.2 percent from the floor against the Broncos, 50 percent in the first half (15-of-30) and a whopping 60.7 percent in the second half (17-of-28). The Aggies hit 13-of-26 three pointers in the game including eight in the second half. Like the women's team the Aggie men had a tough time from the free throw stripe hitting just 11-of-17. Fortunately for the Aggies Boise State had equal if not bigger difficulty from the charity stripe hitting just 12-of-22 attempts. The Bronco defense hit 51.4 percent of their shots in the first half (19-of-37) but the Aggies held them to 42.4 percent in the second half (14-of-33) and Boise State hit just two three pointers in the second half.

The Aggies had 12 fewer possessions than the Broncos, were outrebounded by 10, 40-30 and turned the ball over 17 times (11 on steals by Boise State). You'll often times hear a coach say they stole one on the road. This was one of those games.

The flow of the game was definitely up and down. The Aggies led by six points with 13:06 left in the first half, then Boise State led by 10 with 4:06 left in the first half, then the Aggies led by two 1:31 into the second half, then Boise State led by seven with 15:29 left in the game, then the Aggies led by nine with 8:36 left in the game, then Boise State led by four with 1:52 left to play before the Aggies rallied to win by three. It was almost as if neither team felt comfortable with the lead and with the Aggies up by seven at 81-74 with 4:31 left to play, the Aggies were careless with the ball as they committed three consecutive turnovers allowing Boise State to cut the lead down to one at 81-80. The Aggies, for all their struggles from the free throw line, sandwiched four made free throws around a big three by Jahmar Young to eek out the win.

On Monday night things won't get any easier. The Aggies travel to Moscow to take on Idaho who will no doubt be very grumpy after losing to Louisiana Tech. The Vandals had free throw problems of their own going 2-of-9 in the second half from the charity stripe. The Vandals were up by one with 6:03 left to play but three turnovers, two missed three pointers and two missed layups in a four minute stretch doomed the Vandals.

The Aggies have not had an easy time in Moscow since joining the league, even when the Vandals were awful. Their largest win is by just 10 poitns and Monday night's battle should be exactly that, a battle. A road sweep would erase the bad taste of the home loss to Nevada and help the Aggies keep pace with Louisiana Tech and Nevada in the league race.

On to today's links...

Aggie Men's Basketball
The Associated Press recaps last night's Aggie win over Boise State.

The NM State athletic website recaps the Aggies' win.

The Sun-News recaps last night's game.

Nick Jezierny of the Idaho Statesman recaps the Aggies' win.

Aggie Women's Basketball
The NM State athletic website recaps last night's win over Hawai'i.

Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps the Aggies' win.

Aggie Football
Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News blogs about another possible verbal commitment.

Aggie Softball
The WAC Softball Blog explores the numbers behind WAC softball staking its claim to being the most dominant sport in the WAC.

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