What an impressive victory for the Aggie men's basketball team last night. The Aggies just have Pacific's number which is okay by us. The Aggies extended their current winning streak to three, extended the winning streak over Pacific to seven and improved their all-time record against Pacific to 31-8. As far as victories go, we talked yesterday about this being a victory that could propel the Aggies into conference play. Wins over Prairie View A&M and Oklahoma Panhandle State were nice but they weren't a true measure of where the Aggies stood without Hamidu Rahman and Troy Gillenwater. However, this victory over a good Pacific team shows that the Aggies can compete and win against solid competition.
In fact, last night's win was one of the best victories by a WAC team this season based on RPI. According some research by Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal earlier in the week, the WAC's best win this season was a Utah State victory over Long Beach State. The 49ers' RPI was 111. Pacific's RPI is 134 and it's one of just five victories this season by WAC teams over opponents with an RPI better than 150.
Gordo Castillo had a season-best 17 points and the Aggies got a great performance out of true freshman Renaldo Dixon who finished with 13 points and did not miss a shot from the field (5-of-5) or the free throw line (3-of-3) and added five blocks.
One of the biggest keys for the Aggies last night was their defense. Pacific shot just a shade over 40 percent (40.4) and the Aggies did a good job in the second half of limiting Pacific's three point shooting (3-of-10). The Aggies also avoided letting the Tigers get on any sustained runs. The largest point run by the Tigers was eight in the first half. The Aggies did just enough offensively in the first half to keep things close but Gordo Castillo getting fouled while shooting a three right before hafltime was a huge momentum boost heading into halftime. Going into halftime down just five had to be considered a huge win considering how difficult things were for the Aggies in their halfcourt offense in the first half.
It remains to be seen how big a boost this victory is but we have a feeling that this could be the start of something big for the Aggies. A couple of wins this week against Louisiana and St. Mary's would give the Aggies a 5-game win streak heading into conference play and the Aggies have thrived in league play under Marvin Menzies.
The Aggie women's basketball team is in Tucson to take on the Arizona Wildcats. The U of A is 6-2 on the season and has three players averaging double figures in scoring. They're led by Ify Ibekwe who is averaging 15.6 points per game. Davellyn Whyte who is averaging 15.5 points per game and Soana Lucet is averaging 14.1 points per game. The Wildcats are just a 30.3 percent three point shooting team and at the free throw line they're hitting just 65.1 percent.
The Aggies could see Madison Spence return to action today for the first time in three weeks. If she is able to play it would be a huge boost both emotionally and physically. The Aggies have played fairly well without Spence but her presence certainly makes the Aggies a much better team.
The Aggies will need a big, big game out of Tabytha Wampler today in order to offset some of the scoring that Arizona can generate. The Aggies also need Jasmine Lowe and Danisha Corbett to be knocking down shots today. Lowe has yet to really have that big breakout scoring game like she had many times last year and today against the Wildcats would be a perfect time to do so.
Today's game is scheduled for a 2:00 p.m. (MT) tipoff and can be heard on KSNM AM 570 in Las Cruces. Streaming audio will be available via Aggie Access (subscription required) and Live Stats will be available via the Arizona athletic website.
On to today's links...
Aggie Men's Basketball
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps the Aggies' victory.
The Pacific athletic website recaps the Aggie win.
Aggie Women's Basketball
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News previews today's game.
The NM State athletic website previews today's game.
The Arizona athletic website previews today's game.
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