AggieVision :: NM State vs. UNM Game Highlights

The Daily Aggie :: 12/14/10

The losing streak is over. The Aggies snapped their seven game skid in dominating fashion despite playing without three of their big guns (four if you count Wendell McKines' continued absence). It was a glimpse of the future of Aggie basketball all night long. The most impressive thing about the Aggies' win was the defense and certainly it was partially a lack of offense from Arkansas-Pine Bluff but nonetheless the Aggies held the Golden Lions to 49 points. It's the first sub-50 defensive effort out of the Aggies since the 2007-2008 season when they held Prairie View A&M to 43 points.

The biggest gripe that we've had in the past when the Aggies have played these buy games is that they allow too many points from the opponents. Sure it's great to score 80, 90, 100 points but it can be a little frustrating when you give up 75 or 80 points to teams like Oklahoma Panhandle State, Prairie View A&M, North Carolina A& T, Texas Southern or Western New Mexico (and yes we realize that a faster paced game means more possessions for the opponent).

It's the oldest cliche in the book. Offense puts fans in the stands but defense wins championships (you don't have to look any further than Butler's run to the national title game last year. They held five of their six opponents in the tournament to 60 points or less and the team they didn't hold under 60, Duke, scored 61. The reason the Aggies won the WAC tournament last year is because they played pretty darn good defense down the stretch.

Playing good, solid defense takes a lot of pressure off of your offense, especially when you're struggling to put points on the board (like for instance the second half of the UNM game or the first 10 minutes last night).

If the Aggies can play good defense, it doesn't matter who they put out on the floor. They can be competitive. There's nothing wrong with winning games by scoring in the 60s. As Coach Menzies is so fond of saying, at the end of the day, a win is a win. It doesn't matter if you win by one or win by 100, if you score 60 or score 90. A win is a win and right now the Aggies need to string together a few of them.

The Aggie women were also in action yesterday up in Ann Arbor, MI. They were unable to pull out the win falling 68-54 in a game that was much much closer than the final score indicated. The Aggies were within six points and about to cut it to four but Kaitlyn Soto missed a contested fast break layup and the Wolverines turned it into a fast break the other way. The four point swing sent the Aggies down eight instead of down four and they never could recover.

Turnovers were a huge problem for the Aggies last night. The Wolverines forced 25 Aggie turnovers and scored 28 points off of those turnovers.

Had the Aggies had half the amount of turnovers they would have won the game probably pretty handily.

Tabytha Wampler finished with 14 points and all 14 came in the second half after she sat the majority of the first half after picking up two fouls in the first three and a half minutes of play. Her second half production against a Big 10 team just shows how good a player she is and can be when she stays out of foul trouble. If she keeps up her production through conference play and the Aggies have a high finish in the league (top three), she will be a very strong candidate for not only First Team honors but also WAC Player of the Year. She could very well end up being the best post player in the league.

The Aggies have a tough final four non-conference game schedule coming up. They face Arizona on Sunday afternoon in Tucson, then return home to face Utah, then up to The Pit to face New Mexico and then home to host UTEP before starting conference play. A split of those four games would be very good, a 3-1 record out of those four games would be excellent.

The Aggie football team continues to pick up quality players. They've received a verbal commitment from 6'5" DE Sean Brown from Chabot (Calif.) Community College. According to Brett Vito of the Denton Record-Chronicle, Brown can play either weak side or strong side and at 6'5", he's one of the bigger DEs the Aggies have had in a while. Brown chose the Aggies over North Texas and Arkansas State among others.

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NM State vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff Game Photos

NM State vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff Game Photos

Aggies Snap 7-Game Skid With 83-49 Victory Over Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Christian KabongoAlso See: Tim Barnett-Queen's Game Photo Album

The Aggie men's basketball team played without Troy Gillenwater and Gordo Castillo and lost center Hamidu Rahman midway through the first half but still cruised to an 83-49 victory over visiting Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Monday night in the Pan American Center snapping their seven game losing streak.

The Aggies had four players finish in double figures as they got 19 points from Christian Kabongo, 16 points from Hernst Laroche, a career-high 15 from Bandja Sy and 12 from Tyrone Watson. Hamdidu Rahman scored eight points in eight minutes before re-injuring his calf.

The Aggies led the Golden Lions 12-6 at the 13:23 mark of the first half as the Aggie offense got off to a sluggish start. The Aggies scored eight of their first 12 points from the free throw stripe but the offense started to click as the Aggies pushed their lead to 13 points with 6:25 left to play. The Aggies would go on a 10-3 run to take a 20 point lead with 1:25 left in the half and took a 36-19 lead into the break.

The Aggies would push their lead out to 20 points with 15:33 left in the game and maintained a 20-point cushion with 11:27 left to play in the game. The Aggies expanded their lead to 60-32 after a thunderous B.J. West slam dunk from the middle of the lane with just under nine minutes left. The Aggies would push their lead out to 32 points at 74-42 after a three pointer and a layup from Hernst Laroche with three and a half minutes left to play. The Aggies would finish off the game outscoring the Golden Lions 9-7 to make the final score 83-49.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Turnovers Costly As Aggie Women Fall 68-54 At Michigan

The Aggie women's basketball team could not overcome 25 turnovers as Michigan scored 28 points off the Aggie miscues en route to sending the Aggies to a 68-54 defeat in Ann Arbor, MI on Monday night. The Aggies trailed by just six points with 1:47 left to play and appeared ready to make another late comeback as Kaitlyn Soto stole the ball from Michigan's Veronica Hicks and headed towards the basket for a fastbreak layup. However, Soto missed a contested layup and Michigan's Nya Jordan grabbed the rebound and sent the ball ahead to Rachel Sheffer who coverted the fastbreak layup creating a four point swing in the game. The Aggies would not recover as Danisha Corbett would have the ball stolen on the Aggies' next possession and Veronica Hicks laid the ball in giving Michigan a 10 point lead with 57 seconds left. The Wolverines would hit a three pointer and a free throw in the final minute to make the final score 68-54.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 12/13/10

The Aggie men's and women's basketball teams are back in action tonight. The Aggie women are in Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan is 5-4 but has played a tough schedule so far. Of their four losses, three have come to teams ranked in the Top 17 and two have come against teams in the Top 10 (No. 5 Xavier and No. 8 Texas A&M).

The Aggies have not played since last Sunday's game against Cal State-Northridge. They are still without starting point guard Madison Spence. The Aggies will need to have a better shooting night tonight than they've had the past couple games. Against UNM and CS-Northridge the Aggies shot 27.8 percent and 29.6 percent. One thing the Aggies did very well in those two games is play pretty solid defense. Northridge shot just 31.1 percent from the field and the Aggies forced 23 turnovers from UNM.

Last year in a 72-67 win against the Wolverines the Aggies got a huge game from Jasmine Lowe who finished with 24 points as she hit 5-of-6 three pointers. The Aggies will need a similar performance tonight. Tabytha Wampler also needs to continue her strong play this season. Wampler has been able to stay out of foul trouble and as a result has turned into a double-double machine.

Those two will need to carry much of the load tonight and if the Aggies can get 12 to 15 points from Danisha Corbett and points from Kaitlyn Soto and Erica Sanchez, the Aggies have a very good chance of winning.

Play-by-play man Kyle Doperalski notes that the Aggies are 4-0 this season in games decided by seven points or fewer. If the Aggies can keep the game close and as Coach Spence says, "Have the ball in hand at the end of the game with a chance to win," the Aggies have the past experience to pull out a close one.

Tonight's game is scheduled for a 5:00 p.m. (MT) tipoff and can be heard on KSNM AM 570 with streaming audio available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

The Aggie men's basketball team returns to action tonight in the Pan Am as they host Arkansas-Pine Bluff for the first of three games this week. The Aggies could be shorthanded again tonight as Troy Gillenwater nurses his injured ankle.

One thing is for sure, the Aggie freshmen are getting valuable minutes early this season which will hopefully translate into good things down the road whether that is during conference play this season or next season.

The Aggies have never lost to Pine Bluff. They're 4-0 against them although UAPB did play to within eight points of the Aggies in 1997. Arkansas-Pine Bluff is 0-8 and rank near the bottom of the NCAA in points per game (54.6), rebounds per game (28.8) and field goal percentage (36.5%).

Pine Bluff has played just two games this season that have had margins in the single digits, a seven point loss against Hawai'i and a four point loss against Auburn. However, the Golden Lions led Hawai'i by three at halftime, trailed No. 12 Missouri by just two at halftime and led Auburn by four at halftime. This is certainly not a game that the Aggies can just walk on the court and win. While we expect that this will be the game that the Aggies end their seven game losing streak, it may not come as easy as most people expect.

Tonight's game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff. The game can be heard on the Aggie Sports Network with Jack Nixon calling the action. Streaming audio and video will be available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

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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.

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Christian Kabongo Scores Career-High 21 But Aggies Fall 78-62 To UNM

Christian KabongoThe Aggies lost their seventh straight game of the season as a career-high 21 points from Christian Kabongo was not enough to offset the loss of Troy Gillenwater who suffered a turned ankle in the first half and was limited to three points in eight minutes. Dairese Gary led the Lobos with 16 points while Kendall Williams added 15 en route to the Lobos' seventh consecutive victory in the series.

Dairese Gary scored the game's first point getting a layup but Hamidu Rahman tied the game at 2-2 with a layup of his own. Kendall Williams answered with a three pointer to give the Lobos a three point lead at 5-2. Hernst Laroche's jumper with cut the deficit to just one at 5-4 with 18:37 to go in the half. UNM would extend the lead back to three points taking a 7-4 lead but the Aggies would respond with a 7-2 run to take an 11-9 lead at the under 16 minute media timeout as Gordo Castillo would hit a three pointer with 15:32 left in the half.

Hernst Laroche would hit a pair of free throws to give the Aggies their largest lead of the game at 13-9 with 15:23 left in the half. Neither team would generate much offense over the next four minutes as the Aggies would lead 13-11 at the under 12 minute media timeout. Out of the timeout UNM's Dairese Gary would hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 13-13 and after a three pointer and a free throw they would hold a 17-13 lead with 10:35 left to play. The Aggies would respond with a 5-1 run to tie the game at 18, however, the Lobos would go on a 7-0 run converting a pair of Aggie turnovers into dunks to take a 25-18 lead with 8:41 left in the half.  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 12/11/10

Gameday. The Aggies take on the Lobos tonight in The Pit. The Aggies are not only looking to stop a six-game losing streak against the Lobos but also the six-game losing streak that they currently find themselves on. In the WAC, their losing streak is second only to Nevada's current seven game slide which figures to end tonight as the Pack takes on San Francisco State. The Aggies need a victory tonight. If they can find a way to win tonight, they should win their next two games on the schedule and can carry a little momentum into their final three non-conference games against Pacific, Louisiana and St. Mary's. A six game winning streak would certainly erase a lot of bad feelings from this current six-game losing streak.

The keys to winning tonight? We mentioned a few keys yesterday, namely the three point shooting. The keys to the game are similar to the keys from last week's game.

The Aggie MUST be able to manage the pressure of the environment at The Pit. It's likely to be a sellout and unlike the 8,500 turnout for the game in the Pan Am, there will likely be 17,000-plus hostile fans in Albuquerque. The Aggies have not handled the environment very well.

The Aggies cannot allow UNM to get hot shooting three pointers. As we pointed out yesterday, the Aggies don't have the guns to get into a three point shooting contest with the Lobos. As ridiculous as this sounds, the Aggies have to control the tempo. They need to limit their turnovers and the Aggies have to have someone else besides Troy Gillenwater step up. The Aggies need to have at least three players in double-digits scoring if they want to win tonight.

But the absolute biggest key tonight is to not fall behind early. The Aggies have dug themselves big, big holes in the last three games against the Lobos and while they've come back to make the games very competitive, they've also expended a lot of energy doing so. Eliminate the poor start and the Aggies have a great shot at pulling the upset.

The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff and can be seen on The Mountain (Comcast 276; DirecTV 616). Radio coverage is available via the Aggie Sports Network and streaming audio will also be available via Aggie Access (subscription required).

One side note, if you want to know the difference between New Mexico's funding and New Mexico State's funding, just look at The Pit tonight on the broadcast. The renovations that were made to The Pit illustrate the monetary disparity between the Aggies and Lobos.

As expected, Hawai'i announced officially yesterday that they are leaving the WAC. The Warrior football team will compete in the Mountain West while the remaining sports will join the Big West.

It's a huge blow for the WAC and for New Mexico State. It affects four sports in particular. Football loses the last program with any semblance of success. Volleyball loses it's premiere team. Softball loses a perennial Top 25 team and a Women's College World Series participant from a year ago and baseball loses a perennial league title contender (and winner of last year's WAC tournament).

The question now becomes, will there be one final Mountain West raid? If there is, it would likely be the "death blow" for the WAC as a football playing conference. Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune notes that Utah State might be the next team to leave the WAC for the greener pastures of the Mountain West but that depends on the financial viability of adding a football championship game (which requires 12 teams).

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The Daily Aggie :: 12/10/10

The Aggie men's basketball team's task tomorrow night is a tough one. Win in The Pit. It's something they haven't done since 2002. So how do they go about doing it? Richard Stevens at offers up a few "tweaks" to the Aggie gameplan. His suggestions: Don't let Dairese Gary control the game, don't let the Lobos shoot 50 percent from the floor as they did in UNM's 84-78 overtime win in Las Cruces, Pay better attention to Phillip McDonald and Kendall Williams, and shoot better than 31.1 percent.

We'd offer up another suggestion as well, don't rely so much on the three point shot. Yes, as Coach Menzies has pointed out on numerous occasions, the three ball is the great equalizer. However, the Lobos are allowing opponents to hit just 27.7 percent of their threes. Outside of Troy Gillenwater and Gordo Castillo, the Aggies aren't a great three point shooting team and even those two are not shooting the ball from three well enough to gameplan against that specifically.

Gillenwater is hitting 35 percent of his threes, Gordo is hitting 36.1 percent. For those keeping score at home, that means the Aggies' current top three point threats are hitting fewer than two out of every five shots from behind the arc (1.7 and 1.6 threes per game for Gillenwater and Gordo respectively or 10 points per game combined).

For a three point shooter to truly be considered a threat, their percentage needs to be above at least 40 percent.

In the past four seasons the Aggies' top three point shooters have all shot above 40 percent: 40.6 (Jonathan Gibson, '09/'10), 42.1 (Jahmar Young, '08-'09), 44.8 (Gordo, '08-'09), 40.0 (Justin Hawkins, '07-'08), 41.9 (Jahmar Young, '07-'08), 42.4 (Elijah Ingram, '06-'07), 42.9 (Ted Knauber, '06-'07).

Yes, the Aggies will need to hit a few timely threes tomorrow night, but they cannot afford to simply get into a three point shooting contest with the Lobos. That's a game they definitely won't win.

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