Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ugly loss, bad loss (UTEP 73, NMSU 69)

Rivalry game aside, this was a bad loss to a bad one-win UTEP team — the Aggies first such loss of the season, but third straight loss nonetheless.

UTEP didn't exactly win this game. In fact, the Miners tried to help the Aggies out down the stretch, yet they still outscored NMSU 10-4 in the last 345. In a previous blog post, I believed the Wendell McKines wasn't getting enough touches late in close games the past two games. It was the other way around tonight. McKines didn't shoot in the first half and he was 1-7 in the second half for a season low 4 points as the Aggies were 1-7 from the floor down the stretch with McKines going 0-4. That, along with UTEP outrebounding NMSU 39-39 were two stats that stand out from this one after the Aggies outrebounded the Miners (minus Gabe McCulley, who killed the Aggies again for 18-13-7 ast.) by 20 in Cruces.

"They played with more energy and they executed down the stretch," McKines said. "They just executed down the stretch and we didn't. ... They had a game plan. We had a stretch where we could have put the game away and we didn't. They fed off that and made their run."

Yet the Aggies still  had a chance to win the game, up by five with seven minutes left, and to tie the game, down by 3 McKines missed an open triple from the wing.  At one point postgame, McKines said perhaps not being in rhythm all night threw him off.

But later, he said this, "That was a wide open look. No excuses, I should have made that shot."

McKines was frustrated, but the Aggies hung around with role players playing well. Hernst Laroche played well with a season high 16 and I liked the Aggies running the ball through him and using Christian Kabongo as a second ball handling option, but in the end, the Aggies fell short in a third straight close game.

Postgame comments:
Hernst Laroche:
"We had some turnovers, the boards, all of that was a breakdown. ... It (the box and 1) caught us off guard, they were making shots. McCulley was making 3s. we had difficulty getting the ball to Wen. They came out strong."

"It's a tough one because we had it. We have a bunch of seniors and juniors who have already played in those kind of situations. We just let the lead go down. Ya, it hurts."

"They were making shots. We weren't. We knew it was going to be a battle. It's there house and we weren't going to quit."

Wendell McKines:
"They keyed in on me specifically and we didn't make the proper adjustments. We made the adjustments in the second half. Every coach is going to have a game plan coming in. We had a chance to put them away and we didn't."

"I haven't seen that (a box-and-1) in college. It caught me off guard. In the first half, I waiting for us to make the proper adjustments but we didn't do that until the second  half. I had to sacrifice my scoring in this game for us to compete. ... Just making me a part of the offense a little bit but stuff like that happens. We expected me to get  hedged and boxed out really tough but not necessarily a box and 1. It kind of caught us off guard but as a team, we had a chance to put them away. Anything I was doing individually, it didn't really matter. I tried to get involved a little bit at the end of the second half, but after not touching it the whole game, I was out of rhythm."

"This is where being a student of the game plays a part. I have to watch film and talk to the coaches and see where I can make proper adjustments to still be a part of the offense if that's what is needed to win the game."

"We are a well rounded team. We have a lot of talent from the starters to our depth. I wasn't surprised. Tyrone stepped up, Bandja stepped up. We have players to step up. It's just about the little things. Defense played a part as well. We wouldn't have lost the game if we would have stopped them more. At the end of the day, we can make up all the excuses in the world. We just didn't execute down the stretch."

Tim Floyd:
"Streeter is probably our best chaser and we wanted to limit (McKines) his catches and touches as much as we could. We thought he had the feet to do it. We knew they would take him to the post and we knew he would have back side help when they did. We thought we could limit all of his perimeter catches early and we were hoping they would keep him on the perimeter and keep him off the offensive glass. ... Based on what happened in the Cincinnati/Xavier game, it was going to be a closely called game and we wanted to start box and 1 thinking we wouldn't foul as much. That didn't work out. They lived at the line."

"They are going to beat themselves up on the foul line and we really should as well. They make some free throws and it's a different basketball game."

Marvin Menzies
"We practice to make 3s. We don't always make them at this high of rate but we took what was given to us. We were able to get some wide open shots there."

"We got what we wanted. If they would have fouled, they would have fouled. We got the look we wanted. We were actually going for a quick two. If that wasn't there and they did a good job clogging it up. CK threw it out. We got a good look at it but it was just short."


Anonymous said...

Back to the Meerscheidt style basketball! Still trying to put a quality team on the floor! embarassing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

...and you wonder why they shrunk the PanAM?
With this effort and lack of COACHING. Who the hell wants to see an unprepared Aggie team?!

Save your time & $$ people & stay away from Aggie BB!!

Watching paint dry is more entertaining that watching Marvin Menzos teams play YMCA style Ball.

Anonymous said...

I have one description for the last 3 games: OUT COACHED!

Anonymous said...

Guess what, the Miners are going to be better next year. Bet we can't say that about the Aggies.

Anonymous said...

The real Aggie team is now showing up, as well as the real Aggie coach. I will admit I thought it would be different after a good start, and a relatively good showing against UNM and Arizona.

Now that I think about it further, it was foolish for us as Aggie fans to think that we would be much different than the .500 season that we endured last year. Other than Big Wen, our personnel is essentially the same since Menzies isn't really using his bench. One guy can't make that big of a difference. Wen can't help us improve our shooting. Wen can't keep Kabongo from turning the ball over. Wen can definitely not improve our coaching.

I don't understand why Menzies has shortened the bench so much. I don't mind playing 8 players, but not with the type of defense he wants to play. Our guys are getting tired. He can extend the bench 2 more players to keep everybody fresh. He may say that they're not ready, but it's not like we have a disciplined team anyway. He has both Barry and Weary on the bench. Both have length that could help his style of play. Heck, one could argue that they may even be able to knowck down a shot or two. We are playing the same hectic, disorganized basketball that we played with JY and Gibson. The big difference is that those teams had some shooters, if you throw Gordo into the mix. This team does not have that.

I'm just frustrated like everybody else, and some things simply don't make sense. Now, having vented, I still think that this can be a good season, but not the great season that we all thought. The UNM game is now crucial, and a must win. The players need it to get some confidence, and the team needs it so that they can energize the fan base again. The momentum that was picked up in the community will certainly die out after this loss!

And please, I do not want to hear anybody mention an at large invite to the dance the rest of the year. This team will not get one. Once again, we'll have to win the WAC tournament. Even that is not a given anymore. Lack of discipline and coaching has a way to bite you in the butt at the most costly of times (WAC tournament).

Anonymous said...

I'm a basketball coach and played a high level of competetive basketball as a young man (higher than Menzies, lol). I've given Menzies the benefit of the doubt for 4 years now (not having HIS recruits, not having a full roster to start the season, grades, injuries etc.) But I can't help but start to question his ability to LEAD a team full of talent. FALLING BEHIND UTEP 22-6 is unacceptable.

He can recruit, which is great, but I don't think he really knows what he's doing. Not to bash the guy... I just don't think he can LEAD a team to greatness. Hope I'm wrong.

If I'm Boston, I'm quietly looking for a good replacement if and when the time comes. I don't think you fire a guy that continues to bring great talent in until you have a great replacement in place that can SURELY uphold the successful tradition at NMSU.

Anonymous said...

When the season started, everyone was excited about this team.
They were picked to finish 2nd in the WAC and they got a couple of Top 25 votes, etc.

However, everyone forgot who's coaching the team.
Sorry fans, MM is on the bench and were going for another yet, predictable roller coaster ride!

Anonymous said...

On this blog after Mckines comments that enraged some UTEP fans I said what will be real humor will be NMSU losing to UTEP at UTEP---and it came true. I wonder if the Aggies have their signs ready to take to Juarez. And I hate UTEP,UTEP does suck-- but some things can just set you up for problems. Also grabbing your crotch toward the fans will work that way. This is the way it has been since MM arrived and the reason I am no longer a NMSU fan. Play the game, show some class even if the Whiners have none, win the game and walk away knowing how unhappy all their foul-mouthed fans are.

Anonymous said...

There is clearly a missing piece keeping this team from reaching its potential; some glue that hasn't stuck, a lack of focus, something not quite there.

I wonder if there is a player who is gumming up the works. Maybe it is, as suggested, coaching.

Anonymous said...

Just a guess, but I'm thinking anon 11:07 might just be William Benjamin :)

Why has he never ended up on the aggiealert bench in any capacity? At the very least, he knows what it's like to have success in an aggiealert uniform! Can he teach these guys the McCarthy match up zone?

Anonymous said...

If the Menzies haters want to point to a game that sums up what their argument is then this one is their best example. Getting blown out by the Miners and playing catch up the rest of the way is not exactly what you expect from a team who had one week to prepare for a one loss team. Especially when we are clearly the better team but yet kept getting pushed around by the smaller and inexperienced Miners. Even when the Aggies had the lead we decided to slow the game down instead of going all out for the kill. If your opponent is down finish him off, dont try to milk the clock and take a last second shot when youre a bad shooting team. Menzies was clearly outcoached by Floyd on this one.

This team has very few distractions outside of the court. No one is failing, no one is getting in trouble with the law, no one has gone down with injury. In years past we could all point and say well Wen is injured, well Pope is not cleared yet, well JY got in trouble again. None of that is happening this year, so why cant Menzies have a team that is ready to play every single game? What concerns me the most is that outside of Mullings and Kabongo, every player in our rotation has played solid minutes under Menzies for 3/4 years. It sometimes looks like they are just learning a new system.

I am not going to sit here and call for Menzies head like others will because it is still early in the season. The only way we are going to the NCAA Tourney is by winning the WAC so as much as this game hurt its not going to make or break the season. However, I do believe one thing; the attitude that the Aggies reflected on the court reflected the type of leadership that they have.


Anonymous said...

11:07 was NOT William Benjamin. LOL. Good guess though.

Anonymous said...

FIRE Menzies!!!

Anonymous said...

BTW. UNM beat USC for their fifth win in a row.

Am expecting that the Lobos are going to come in here and own the Pan Am.