The Daily Aggie :: 12/01/10

Rivalry week did not get off to the best of starts as the Aggie men's basketball team lost 74-72 last night to UTEP. The Aggies lost the lead for good thanks in large part to short stretch where the two teams were tied at 30 but Troy Gillenwater was called for a technical foul and Abdoulaye N'doye was called for an intentional foul which UTEP turned into a four point trip to take a six point lead. Despite that sequence and Randy Culpepper lighting up the Aggies for 25 first half points, the Aggies trailed by just five points at halftime. After falling behind by a dozen, the Aggies made a game of it late and closed to within two points. Unfortunately, missed free throws and missed layups plagued the Aggies all night long. The Aggies hit just 8-of-14 free throws in the first half and 7-of-12 in the second half and shot just 57.7 percent for the game. The Aggies also missed 13 layups in the game that's 26 points missed on layups and nine points missed from the free throw line, 35 points left out on the court.

The Aggies also out-rebounded UTEP by 13 in this game and in the two games combined they have out-rebounded UTEP by 34... and still lost both. It's not often you'll see that kind of dominance on the boards by the team that loses both games.

That being said, the Aggies were playing short-handed last night as Hamidu Rahman is out with a calf injury and despite 32 points from UTEP's Randy Culpepper (thank goodness he's a senior), the Aggies lost by just two points. The Aggies have little time to reflect on this loss with a very good New Mexico team coming into the Pan Am on Saturday night.

On an aside, two of the best three teams from the WAC last year, New Mexico State and Nevada, are both mired in five game losing streaks.

The Aggie women's basketball team hosts I-25 rival New Mexico tonight in the Pan Am. The Lobos are 3-2 on the season while the Aggies are 5-2 on the season. It's rare when the Aggies enter this matchup with a better overall record. It's the first road game of the year for New Mexico. It's a chance for the Aggies to notch their second win over UNM in a series that has been dominated by the Lobos.

The Aggies will be playing without Madison Spence who is still out after suffering a concussion. The Aggies will rely heavily on senior guards Danisha Corbett and Jasmine Lowe and it will be absolutely critical that junior forward Tabytha Wampler continue her outstanding play. If she can post numbers like she has in the past couple of games, the Aggies will have a great shot at winning tonight.

Tonight's game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff and can be seen on AggieVision. Streaming video will also be available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

Finally, NMSU President Dr. Barbara Couture addresses the budget challenges at New Mexico State University (as a whole) and addresses the budget transfers from the general fund to athletics which remains well below the national average.

Considering all universities with Division I athletics programs, 103 out of more than 120 use budget transfers like we do to support their athletics programs. On a national level, universities transfer an average of $10.2 million to athletics programs. NMSU, in fiscal year 2011, transferred $4.1 million, well below the average. The fact is that the vast majority of athletics programs like ours require some support from instruction and general budgets. If we look at that budget transfer in light of our overall university budget, our total athletics budget as reported to the state is $16 million, just 2 percent of our total university budget (all sources, all campuses) of $682 million. The $4.1 million transfer is less than 1 percent of that total. Yet the athletics program supports 425 student athletes whose graduation rates are 20 percent better than our overall student population, who represent greater diversity than the general student population, and who through their performance on courts and fields provide a solid connection to NMSU for our alumni and friends. That connection also played a significant role in our success in raising $256 million for NMSU's first capital campaign, exceeding our goal by more than $30 million.

On to today's links...

Aggie Men's Basketball
Bill Knight of the El Paso Times recaps the Aggies' loss.

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps the sweep.

Jason Groves also offers a few more thoughts on the loss.

The Sports Network recaps the Aggies' loss.

Adrian Mac at shares postgame press conference video from Tim Floyd.

Milan Simonich of the El Paso Times wonders where the crowd was last night at the Pan Am.

Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News writes that without Hamidu Rahman and Wendell McKines, the Aggies have no chance.

Aggie Women's Basketball
The NM State athletic website previews tonight's showdown.

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News previews tonight's game.

Jason Groves also blogs some scheduling updates for next season.

The UNM athletic website previews tonight's game.

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