The Daily Aggie :: 12/30/10

Six straight wins in conference openers. That's the current number the Aggie men have rung up after last night's 74-69 win in Moscow over the Vandals. The Aggies welcomed back Troy Gillenwater and Hamidu Rahman to the court and Gillenwater did not disappoint scoring 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting. The Aggies struggled offensively in the first half hitting just 9-of-31 shot attempts but rebounded in the second half for 63 percent shooting hitting 17-of-27 attempts. It was an exciting game with the largest lead by Idaho at four points and the largest lead by the Aggies at eight points. The game was within one or two possessions all night long and the game saw 17 lead changes in the first 32 minutes before the Aggies finally took control of the game for good after a three point play by Troy Gillenwater that put the Aggies up 54-53.

The Aggies did well against Idaho's three point shooting as they hit just 4-of-14 attempts (28.6 percent). Three point defense has been a bit of a problem for the Aggies through the past few seasons but they did well against the second best three point shooting team in the league last night.

Two players who played outstandingly last night were Tyrone Watson and Hernst Laroche. Watson's hustle plays all night long helped the Aggies extend possessions as he finished with six rebounds but five were on the offensive end. He also chipped in 12 big points. Laroche finished with 12 points, six assists, no turnovers, a block, two rebounds and two steals in 34 minutes of play.

Up next for the Aggies is Boise State on New Year's Eve. The Broncos defeated Louisiana Tech 71-60 but this game was all but over after 30 minutes. Boise State jumped out to a 17-2 lead, led 36-14 at halftime and led by 20 with six and a half minutes left to play. The final score of this one was not indicative of how much of a blowout this game was. The Broncos are not a team to be taken lightly this season. If there is one concern for Leon Rice and his coaching staff it's the Jekyll and Hyde defensive performances by his teams not just from game to game but from half to half. We'll have more on that in tomorrow's Daily Aggie.

There were two other WAC games last night as Hawai'i went into Logan and despite losing, proved that they too are a team not to be taken lightly this year. The Warriors went blow-for-blow with USU all night long before losing by eight, the game was much closer than the eight point final margin.

And Fresno State pulled off an upset of San Jose State last night winning rather convincingly 75-62. The Bulldogs did a fantastic job defensively on the WAC's leading scorer, Adrian Oliver, who finished with just 15 points, nine below his average. They also stifled Justin Graham who finished with just three points on 1-of-10 shooting. Graham averages nearly 16 points per game.

Fresno State's Greg Smith must've read all the bad press he's been getting after a poor non-conference showing as he broke out for 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, a block and two steals. That's the kind of performance most people thought he'd have all year. No better time than conference play to start.

The Aggie women's basketball team is back in action tonight as they battle New Mexico in The Pit. The Aggies have not win in Albuquerque since 1995. Both teams are mired in losing streaks as the Aggies have dropped three in a row while the Lobos have dropped four in a row.

We mentioned after the first game between these two teams that UNM looked just ordinary. This is a great opportunity for the Aggies to win in Albuquerque. Unfortunately for the Aggies they will once again be playing short-handed against the Lobos. In the first meeting the Aggies were without point guard Madison Spence and tonight they'll be playing without Camila Rosen who is done for the season after tearing her ACL. They're also playing without senior guard Danisha Corbett who is out for a couple of games after suffering a knee injury in the same game that they lost Rosen (the loss against Utah).

The Aggies will need big contributions tonight from Tabytha Wampler, Kaitlyn Soto and their freshmen duo of Jasmine Rutledge and Andrea Chenier and of course a good game from Madison Spence in her final game in The Pit.

Tonight's game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff with radio coverage available in Las Cruces on KSNM AM 570 with Kyle Doperalski calling the action. Streaming audio will also be available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

On to today's links....

Aggie Men's Basketball
The NM State athletic website recaps last night's win.

The Idaho athletic website recaps the Aggies' win over Idaho.

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News blogs a few thoughts after last night's win.

Josh Wright of the Spokesman Review recaps the Aggies' win.

The Las Cruces Sun-News recaps last night's win.

Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal previews the WAC.

Jason Groves takes a look at the WAC.

Jeff Davis of the Fresno Bee wonders where all the Bulldog basketball fans have gone.

Our offer up our weekly WAC preview at Rush The Court.

Aggie Women's Basketball
Tristen Critchfield of the Albuquerque Journal previews tonight's rivalry game.

Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News features Kaitlyn Soto.

The NM State athletic website previews tonight's game.

Richard Stevens of previews tonight's game.

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