Tuesday's 100-68 New Mexico State victory over 0-30 Northern New Mexico gave the Aggies a chance to get some individual accolades out of the way, rest Wendell McKines and inflate some numbers (season-high 22 assists, season-high 10 blocks, 44-26 on the boards)
The night belonged to Hamidu Rahman, who finished with 18 and 8 on 7-9 shooting to become the 30th player at NMSU to score 1000 points here. Fellow seniors Wendell McKines and Hernst Laroche did it earlier. Rahman also passed Charles Gosa (1995-99) for third place all time with 117 blocked shots. Rahman could catch Slab Jones for second. Jones has 124 blocks.
Hernst Laroche pulled to within nine steals of all-time leader William Benjamin. Laroche has 200 steals. Also, Marvin Menzies closed to within one win of reaching 20 wins for the third time in five years. It was ugly at times, and the Aggies gave up some open shots and hit just 5-15 of their 3s, but it has to be hard to get up for a game against a winless NAIA team. NMSU scored 100 points for the first time since the 08-09 season against Loyola Marymount.
"It's been a great career for all three of them. It makes me feel good that they are all three my recruits or came in under my leadership. We recruited them as a team. There is a lot of pride as a staff in terms of how we feel about these kids. We are going to really miss them but we have some work still left to get done. ... I think it was a good opportunity for (Rahman) to get his numbers and not have to worry about it anymore and just kind of focus on the next game. I'm happy for him. I think we are going to have a lot of the parents out for senior night in a couple weeks so it should be a fun time."
"They just had a ESPNU game a couple days ago so I had a chance to watch them. I think (second leading scorer Ben Simons) will be back. He had mono but I think he will be back. We are planning for it either way."
"I do think it was important. Wendell's body was feeling it a little bit. We have some games left that are very important so we want to make sure he's healthy and ready to go the rest of the way. We will find out how valuable it was as the games unfold in the next week or two."
Renaldo Dixon played 18 minutes with six points and nine rebounds. I wondered about him, but after initially quitting and then coming back, all indications are he's on the same page with the coaching staff. But now he's lost in a numbers game. Any minutes he gets from here on out will benefit him for next year but he's behind McKines and Watson at the PF and Rahman and Nephawe at the center.
"He's the third four and the third five. He needs to play. Tonight, he was a little rusty in the beginning but as he gets going, he gets a little more comfortable. We have to find as many minutes as we can going forward. He will have opportunity."
On getting players up for this type of game
"It was a challenge to be quite honest. Anytime you are playing a team with that record, your guys can come in a little overconfident and not as sharp as you should be. I think we did that the first few minutes but they did a very good job the rest of the way in terms of executing our own system and trying to do the right things to take a step forward for our team."
"I feel good about it. I want to thank my teammates. Without them, I wouldn't have gotten it. And also the coaches. ... It feels good. Us being the three seniors and only three players that were here when we went to the tournament, I think we are going to have to lead the team and coach the young guys. ... I think we have three more games in the Pan Am. We are just trying to focus on every possession and get better. ... I think about stuff like that but at the same time, I want to win. If I'm losing, none of that stuff matters."
"We had to approach it like every other game because coaches got on us today in shoot around. I think we were slacking and coaches got on us. We knew we couldnt' play around this game."