The Aggie men's basketball team is back in action tonight against in-state rival New Mexico. The Aggies are hoping to carry some of the momentum from their near-comeback victory against UTEP on Tuesday night into tonight's game. The status for Hamidu Rahman will be a game-time decision according to head coach Marvin Menzies. Coach Menzies was pretty pleased with the production he got out of Hamidu's replacements against UTEP.
The Aggies are hoping to snap a five game losing streak to UNM. The Lobos come into the game with a 5-1 record with their lone loss coming to Cal. Thankfully for the Aggies, Roman Martinez has graduated. Martinez was a thorn in the Aggies' side the last three years and always seemed to knock down a back breaking three pointer or grab a critical rebound. This year the Lobos' top three point threats are Kendall Williams and Jamal Fenton. Williams is hitting 57.1 perent of his three point attempts, 8-of-14, while Fenton is hitting 10-of-26, 38.5 percent. The Aggies struggled defensively guarding the three point arc against UTEP in both games and allowed UTEP to hit 12-of-24 in the first meeting and 7-of-16 in the second.
In fact, in the last five games Aggie/Lobo games, UNM has averaged 23 three point attempts against the Aggies and has hit nearly nine threes per game against the Aggies in those five games and has made no less than eight in each of the five. At the same time, the Aggies have not shot well from three against the Lobos hitting just 6.4 threes per game. That's almost nine points per game that the Aggies are giving up to the Lobos in the three point category. The margin of victory in those five games? It's 11.4 points. The three point line will likely again play a big factor in tonight's game. The Aggies cannot let the Lobos get hot from downtown.
Also of utmost importance is for the Aggies to actually be in the game at halftime. Last year the Aggies trailed 41-18 at halftime in the game in Las Cruces and 52-36 in the game in Albuquerque.
Troy Gillenwater will almost certainly be the focal point for the Lobos on defense. Where will the other points come from tonight? Someone else needs to step up for the Aggies. Hernst Laroche needs to have a spectacular floor game tonight. He needs to limit his turnovers in this game. He's averaging 2.7 turnovers per game, up a full turnover from last year's average.
Gordo Castillo needs to step up. His seven points per game are not enough for a senior leader. His teammates need to get him more shots and he needs to hit them. He went 4-for-13 against UTEP in the two games and he is that third scorer that the Aggies desperately need to keep some of the pressure off Troy Gillenwater. If Gordo has a big game tonight, we think the Aggies will end the five game losing streak.
Tonight's game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff. The game can be seen on AggieVision and will also be available online via ESPN3.com. Radio coverage is also available via the Aggie Sports Network.
Tonight is also Crimson & White night at the Pan Am. See the seating chart below and wear the appropriate color based on your seats.
On to today's links...
Aggie Men's Basketball
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News writes that Troy Gillenwater is adjusting to his role as the team's main offensive option.
Ryan Tomari of The Daily Lobo previews tonight's game.
Richard Stevens of GoLobos.com previews tonight's battle.
Kevin at Parsing The WAC shares capsules on each of the teams.
Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News reports on Coach Walker's meeting with NM State AD McKinley Boston and NM State President Barbara Couture.
If you've found an article that you think other Aggie fans would like to read, send it to us! Select "The Daily Aggie" from the 'Category' drop-down.