New Mexico State hoops

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Arizona loss

"It's a missed opportunity," Aggies senior forward Wendell McKines said. "We missed a moment. Just thinking about the feeling we would have had if we would have won this game. To Know that we arent going to feel that way, it's tough."

The Aggies were right there. They did everything that has worked for them up to this point to give them a chance to win against a Pac 12 team (rebound — Held a 41-38 edge with 19 offensive rebounds. Get to the foul line — Shot 16 for 23 (69.6 percent), limit turnovers (NMSU 9, Arizona 11).

But as good as the Aggies were rebounding the ball all night, and as much as players refuse to use fatigue as a factor, the Aggies nearly came back late in the second half after a 14-2 Arizona run, but couldn't secure a rebound off a missed front end with 29 seconds left down three.

"That's a free throw rebound. It's four against two. Somebody doesn't pinch hard as they should have and it could be the difference in the game. We would have had the ball down three. That's an excellent opportunity to come down and score and get a quick bucket and then who knows.

"I felt like our guys were mentally ready to play," Menzies said. "I don't know about physically. We got a little fatigued there and maybe weren't able to execute at the highest level down the stretch, especially offensively.

"I have to go back and look at the film. I thought we had a couple guys get to the basket and they missed shots or had contact. It's just disappointing to play that hard and not win. We made a lot of mental errors with defensive rotations.

The result was a 83-79 loss, the Aggies' first at home before heading back out to play two more road games.

Wendell McKines was great, finishing with a career-high 28 points, shooting 10 for 18 from the field and 4-7 from 3 point range. Wendell didn't force anything and had the kind of night at home where I thought he could have had at the Pit when he missed shots in the first half he normally makes. The Aggies went cold during the Arizona run, and I can't remember Wendell getting many touches during the run.

"They just made their run. They executed," McKines said. "They are a team full of vets. They just beat us."

Late in the game, the Aggies looked to McKInes and Christian Kabongo.

Arizona had 19 assists on 30 field goals. NMSU had nine assists on 28 field goals, but it's hard to fault the Aggies for looking to Kabongo. He was 7-11 at the foul line and scored five straight points (three on an And 1 and two from the foul line) to get the Aggies to within three.

"(Kabongo) penetrated very well and he's been shooting it fantastic from the free throw line."

NMSU pounded the ball inside with centers Hamidu Rahman and Tshilidzi, especially when Jesse Perry was guarding them. Rahman had 13 and 8 and Nephawe had 6 and 9. Perry was tough though, finishing with 15 and 12 as someone had to step in for Solomon Hill as he battled foul trouble.

"They did a great job," Menzies said. "We really challenged the bigs tongiht. Hamidu shot 50 percent from the field and did a great job with eight boards. Chili had nine boards. Thats what those two have to do every night. We wanted to attack them inside and the guys did a good job finding them. We have to get them more shots depending on the situation."

At times in the first half especially, Nick Johnson beat the Aggies back in transition badly and as a result the Wildcats shot 60 percent in the first half.

NMSU also struggled finding shooters when Arizona guards got into the paint or played pick and roll. Arizona hit the most 3s in a game since hitting 14 against St. Johns.

"Our defensive transition was very weak tonight," Menzies said. "We have done a much better job at that in the past. We were so aggressive offensively going to the glass that we didn't turn around and run with them."

McKines said that there were no excuses, but Menzies let on that in certain situations, fatigue, mental or otherwise, played a factor.

Especially on the offensive rebound on the free throw and the Aggies' 3 point shooting (4-21)

"We had a few really good looks where first look was the best and we passed on it. We were trying to make the extra pass and look for an open shot but the ones that we had off initial penetration were pretty open. 4-21 is not acceptable and not going to win a lot of games at home shooting that percentage."

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Aggies seemed to lose their legs late in the second half. They also lost their focus as evidenced by the completely brain-dead technical, fouling with little time left on the shot clock and failing to box out.

As someone previously posted about zoneing the Aggies, Arizona did just that. They completely ignored the less than stellar Aggie three point attack and backed up in the zone, daring the Aggies to shoot. Then they got the rebounds they weren't getting in the first half.

I think the Aggies have real potential this year. Not too often will they play four games in six days. They should be considered a legitimate contender for the WAC title.

Anonymous said...

Laroach has to step up and make some shots. He does that and the Aggies win the game. It wasn't fatigue. It wasn't a missed rebound in the last minute. It was the lack of knocking down a couple 3s. Bandja passed up on a wide open look as well.

-DB

Anonymous said...

Breaking news..........Watson just bricked another 3 !!!!!

Call me crazy, but I left the game very proud last night. The aggies fought hard and answered every run that AZ had to offer! Until the tournament comes around, that is the best team we'll face all year. We just ran out of gas. I was also proud of the crowd. I hope Las Cruces keeps coming out. My fear is that they came once, witnessed a loss, and they're not coming back. I hope not.

Great effort in the loss Aggies. Now get some rest. We need to beat Southern Miss, Utep, and Unm again. We'll be in great shape heading into conference if we do.

Anonymous said...

So the Aggies had a horrid 3 point shootin night, played their 4th game in 6 days which caused considerable holes in the defense and still AZ barely escaped. Not too shabby. Fatigue should not be an issue from here on out so they need to find some way to shoot better. The thing is that even on a terrible shootin night the Ags still put up 76.....what would a good shooting night have done?

Jesus

Anonymous said...

The Aggies played a hell of a game against a tough team! Nothing to be ashamed of! I agree Laroche needs to knock down a few more shots and he had a turnover followed by a flagrant foul! Still we had a shot to win! Wendell is the best thing NMSU has seen in a long time, he does it all including scoring big now!! Cant wait to see where this team goes!! Lets keep supporting these guys!!

Anonymous said...

The Aggies played well last night. I have one question for the coach. If your team is not knocking down the three with the players on the court, why not take a chance with ones on the bench? I've seen Weary and Berry knock down threes and both make them more consistent than Watson. I think he should have let one of them into the game. And yes I understand Watson is a team leader.

Anonymous said...

Our Aggies played hard and should be proud of that, regardless of the loss. If anyone tries to find fault with the team individually or collectively, they're looking for perfection and that's just not going to happen. Fatigue definitely played a part, as well as some obvious no-calls from the referees. It was great to be a part of last night's excitement and I hope some of the attendees become true fans and continue to support these young men, win or lose.

Aggie007 said...

Don't mind if I chime in here. There are several reasons why we lost; but if I could point out one big reason why it was because out of all of the players on the Aggies, it was only McKines who could hit a three. He was 4/7 and the rest of the team was 0/14. Now, the vast majority of those 14 misses were rebounded by AZ, giving them more possessions and more chances to score. On top of that, if nobody can guard Nick Johnson, those are possessions that we cannot afford to give up. Had LaRoche or Sy or Kabongo been able to hit just a few threes, the outcome might have favored NMSU.

NEXT: Remi Barry; wish he could've gotten some PT last night to see how he felt. I hope he's as good as everything I read about.

Finally: In the games that Barry sat out, he was sitting behind the bench in the stands watching and waiting. Why is Sim Bhullar nowhere to be found? Its not like he's hard to miss. Is he still on the team? Why is he not out there supporting his team?

Anonymous said...

most of the aggie players that are redshirts sit in the south end of the stadium up on the concourse and yes Sim was there.

Anonymous said...

007

Menzies did a good job on leaving Remi on the bench. The game was very intense and close throughout. The team had already established a rotation and despite the missed shots they were going toe to toe with AZ. You just dont throw someone completely new who has not a played a single game into that situation. The Aggies have a favorable schedule before conference starts so we will see him soon enough.

Jesus

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Jesus. I think Remi's outside shooting touch would have been the thing to throw a monkey wrench into what Arizona was doing.

Think about a 6'7" shooter coming in, completely fresh, with great fresh legs and lungs and running the court.

Remi could have been the wild card that carried the Aggies to a win.

Anonymous said...

I can see both arguments to keeping Remi on the bench, and also bringing him in. I do think that he should have played a few minutes. He may have become a defensive liability, but he could have been inserted when we were down 10 points, and who knows ,maybe could have nailed a couple of 3 pointers. Frankly what would have been the harm of subbing him in for Watson a few minutes. Other than hustle, Watson gave us nothing. Watson also made a couple of defensive mistakes himself that resulted in some Arizona 3's. I thought Remi could have been a nice calculated risk. If he gets torched after a couple of minutes, you can yank him. We didn't have anything to lose when we were down 10.

Anonymous said...

From realtimerpi.com:

NMSU 59
UNM 166
Utah St 191
UTEP 326


Go Aggies!!

Anonymous said...

Let's not get carried away with the Aggie basketball team just yet. Sure we beat UTEP once and UNM once. That's great.

Remember that the Miners have won one game in five. One loss was to a lower division squad from somewhere in the middle of New Mexico. And the Lobos, well, they aren't the powerhouse they, and the rest of the MWC, thought they were. That said, don't be surprised if the Lobos waltz in here and beat us right out of the Pan Am Center.

Right now, the Aggies have lost to the two best teams they've played so far. And that's a fact.

Anonymous said...

Jesus you sound like you know a little about basketball, but let me help you. What do you think AZ did to prepare for this game??? They watched a bunch of tape on our games. They prepared for what they saw on that tape. If you throw someone like Berry into the mix, you just disrupted their homework. They would have had to spread their defense for a bit to figure out what type of player he was, which opens other players on the floor. There would have been no risk taking Watson out and giving him a chance at that point in the game.

Thank You,

The Basketball God

Aggie007 said...

C'mon Jason, don't delete my post about disagreeing with Jesus! Its not sacrilegious, I was joking ...

Anonymous said...

This is such a lame argument.

1. We lost the game and you keep playing the what if game over and over with a player that you have never seen play. You're basing everything on what you have heard about him but not on what you have seen him do.

2. We do not know what he brings to the table yet so there is no reason to complain about not seeing him play. If Gordo was still on the team and Menzies had not played him then yea lets all get on that ship. We all knew Gordo could sink the 3. But Remi has not taken a shot this season. Like I've said, we are going to see him play soon enough. Then we can see how he affects those games, not sit here and assume.

3. Sure he might have cause some confusion bc Arizona has never seen him play but again you are assuming that he would automatically become an offensive threat. He would not have played many minutes and he needs more than that to really become a force on the offense. He hasnt played a single minute all season and you expect him to come in, know the offense enough to be the key player, score 3 pointers and lead the team to victory? Yea that makes sense.....Wanna throw in a couple more of our bench players into that equation? Subbing at least three would have really caused havoc in the AZ game plan.

4. You need to be patient with all this. Like I said, despite the offensive and defensive miscues the Ags were fighting toe to toe with them. It was a good game and we lost to the best team we have played so far. Instead of focusing and clamoring for a complete unknown, lets just focus on what we actually saw.

5. We have a deep team this year and not everyone is going to get a chance to play. When Remi plays we can sit and discuss what he did and didnt do. But its ridiculous that you keep saying he would have been the difference between a W and an L. We lost and no matter what hopes and dreams you have about Remi that is not going to change. Now lets all go to UTEP next Sunday and watch the Ags sweep the Whiners.

Jesus