Saturday, November 19, 2011
Two down, two to go
Tim Floyd lost to NMSU for the first time at UTEP.
Said Floyd, "That's a really good Aggie team. Their speed, their quickness, their athleticism I thought was just superior. It reminded me of a Memphis team we played a year ago. They were tremendous on the offensive class. Their second and third and multiple efforts on the glass were the key to the game."
Pretty decent praise for the Aggies, who are now 2-0 vs. UTEP and UNM after going 0-4 in these games last year.
But apparently beating UTEP holds a special place for Aggies coach Marvin Menzies.
"Anytime you can beat UTEP, it feels a little bit better than beating any other school. Its a great rivalry and I respect it a lot."
Then Menzies added this, referring to Wendell McKines' Twitter posts a couple weeks ago and UTEP's trending topic entitled #under10wen.
"I don't think they held him under 10 did they? No, 23 and 13 so that didn't happen. I was glad to see Wen keep his head and play great basketball."
McKines was efficient, shooting 5 for 13 from the field and 12 for 15 from the foul line for a career high 23 points. He registered his 29th career double double with 13 rebounds for his second double double effort in three games this season.
McKines had 7 of the Aggies' 21 offensive rebounds as the Aggies had 22 second chance points. Two of those offensive rebounds came on two different free throw misses while the Aggies were trying to put the game away.
NMSU was 71.8 percent from the foul line (28-39) after entering the game shooting 60 percent. Getting to the free throw seems to be part of the Aggies' offense. NMSU is averaging 39 attempts per game. If they can shoot at least 65 percent from the line, that's 25 points per game. Hernst Laroche was 9 of 10 at the line and Chili Nephawe was 6-for-7, all in the last 5 minutes.
It was good to see the Aggies handle an inferior team at home. UTEP frankly isn't very good offensively. They shot 45 percent for the game but were 3 of 13 from long range and you could tell they wanted the game in the 60s but when the Aggies opened the second half 7-0, UTEP couldn't keep up.
Is it strange to anyone else that NMSU hasn't been 3-0 since 2003-04? They've been in the tournament a couple times during that span, but this team is different. It's not lost on Menzies, whose team has a realistic opportunity to run the table in the Alaska tournament next week. If so, the Aggies would be 6-0, something that hasn't happened since 1969-70 when Lou Henson started the season 8-0. The Aggies started 5-0 in 1990-91 and 4-0 in 2003-04.
"If we can go to Alaska and have success out there, I really think we will be on track for maybe even some Top 25 votes, which hasn't happened in some time."
"Hamidu struggled a little bit tonight (0 points, 8 rebounds) and he was frustrated with the speed of play."
Saturday was the first time in three games NMSU led at the half. UTEP slowed the game down early but couldn't keep it going.
"Our guys are not front runners but they are competitors. When they don't have everything going their way, sometimes they can get a little distracted on a possession or two. We are 3-0 and we have loads of improvement in front of us. I'm so excited about the potential of this team. They say its a scary word but not with this crew. We are going to realize some dreams. We are going to shock some people and have a season to be remembered."
Chili Nephawe picked up another technical, but he didn't foul out for the first time this season.
"He's a firey passionate guy."
Wendell McKines, on the new Pan Am floor
"I like it. We are undefeated on it."
"We didn't guard the 3 point line. We had a hard time staying between them and the basket with their drives. A lot of that was just not being back on defense so we are late to play and reach and stab. They just whipped us."
"We came out at the start of the second half and didn't show the poise we showed in the first half."
Floyd said that the Miners spread the floor hoping to go by Aggies defenders. It was just like the Lobos, where Snell tried to drive. It seems that it will take some time for the Aggies to prove to people that they can guard the ball and play good help defense.
"It wasn't an offense to delay the game. It was to take advantage of what we thought we could do."