The Daily Aggie :: 12/12/10

Seven is an unlucky number for the Aggie basketball team. The Aggie men's suffered their seventh straight loss on the season and seventh straight loss in the rivalry. It's also the eighth straight loss in The Pit. The game started out well for the Aggies but like many of the other meeting during the eight game losing streak in Albuquerque, it was a tale of two halves.

The Aggies were trailing by just five at the break and had survived three different Lobo point runs, a 9-0 run that saw them go from up 13-9 to down 18-13, a 10-2 run that saw them go from tied 18-18 to down 28-20, an 8-0 run that saw them go from down 28-25 to down 36-25 an then finally a 5-0 run spanning the end of the first half and start of the second half that saw them go from down 40-36 to down 45-36. The Aggies were able to take the lead in the second half at 46-45 with 15:23 left to play but the run they could not overcome was the next one which saw the Lobos go on a 13-1 run to take a 58-46 lead.

Gordo Castillo would hit a three pointer with 11:51 left to make the score 58-49 but the Aggies would not hit a field goal again until the 5:04 mark when Christian Kabongo would get a layup. During that span the Lobos increased their lead from nine to 19 and the game was for all intents and purposes, over.

A couple other interesting stats from last night. The Aggies had a season-high in steals (eight) and a season low in turnovers (12). Unfortunately neither of those worked in the Aggies' favor as UNM scored 20 points off the Aggie turnovers (many of them dunks or layups) and the Aggies scored just 10 points off the eight Lobo turnovers.

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News blogged that he was surprised to see the game get away from the Aggies like it did in the second half. However, as we mentioned earlier, the Aggies' performances in losses in the Pit have generally been good half/bad half.

Going back to 2003/2004 (the last available box scores), the Aggies lost 99-80, a 58-35 deficit in the first half was too much to overcome but the Aggies did win the second half 45-41. In the 2006/2007 season the Aggies trailed 44-31 in the first half and won the second half 45-35 en route to a 79-76 loss. In 2007/2008 the Aggies trailed by just one 35-34 but lost the second half 48-35 and trailed by as many as 19 late in the second half. In 2008/2009 the Aggies trailed by just six at halftime, 31-25 and lost the second half 45-37, this was probably one of the closer contests. It was just a three possession game throughout most of the second half. And of course last year's loss saw the Aggies throttled 41-18 in the first half only to win the second half 40-34 and actually cut the deficit to just 10 with 2:35 left to play. The unique thing about this "trend" is that it has spanned four different head coaches and eight distinctly different Aggie teams. Veteran coaches, interim coaches, new head coaches, inexperienced teams, veteran teams, NCAA-bound teams, full strength and short-handed and also teams that should have wiped the floor with the Lobos (namely the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 Aggie teams). It's just a weird deal.

The Aggies did play shorthanded as Troy Gillenwater suffered an ankle injury and was limited to eight early minutes. Christian Kabongo stepped forward and poured in a career-high 21 points and Hamidu Rahman returned from his calf injury to post his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 17 rebounds but unfortunately, the Aggies have not had a third or fourth scorer step up during this losing streak and last night was no different.

Fortunately for the Aggies they have a couple of "get right" games coming up this week as they take on Arkansas-Pine Bluff tomorrow night and then Oklahoma Panhandle State on Thursday night before hosting a tough but beatable Pacific squad on Saturday night.

On to today's links...

Aggie Men's Basketball
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps the Aggies' loss.

The Associated Press recaps the Aggies' loss.

KRQE in Albuquerque shares video highlights from last night's game.

Richard Stevens of recaps the loss.

Rick Wright of the Albuquerque Journal recaps the loss. (subscription required)

Tristen Critchfield of the Albuquerque Journal discusses the Aggie injuries.

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