Sunday, January 22, 2012

Aggies show fight, but win streak ends

Big picture, NMSU's 91-87 loss at Hawaii isn't the end of the world and they will still be in first place in the WAC with a win at home over Nevada on Thursday. The Aggies' small lineup and pressure got them back into the game but they dug too big a hole for themselves.

Hawaii played with more urgency at home on Saturday, keeping slim hopes for a conference title alive while ending New Mexico State’s six-game losing streak.
Hawaii held off a late NMSU rally for a 91-87 victory in Hawaii on Saturday to hand the Aggies their first conference loss of the season, falling behind unbeaten Nevada into second place in the Western Athletic Conference.
NMSU fell to 14-6 on the year and 4-1 in the WAC while Hawaii improved to 3-2 in conference play.
After missing Hawaii’s loss to Louisiana Tech with the flu, Hawaii senior Zane Johnson put the Warriors on his shoulders.
Johnson finished with 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting and 7-for-13 from 3-point range. Trailing by 10 at halftime, the Aggies closed to within six early in the second half but Johnson drained a triple. He put Hawaii up with another 3 off an inbounds pass from the top of the key to open a 63-46 lead with 14:24 to play. Hawaii led by as many as 19 with under 11 minutes left to play.
Also returning to the lineup for Hawaii was point guard Jeremiah Ostrowski, who returned after missing Thursday’s game with a staph infection to finish with nine points, eight assists and four steals.
NMSU closed to within four on a Bandja Sy 3-pointer that climbed over the rim with 26.1 seconds left. NMSU went small and turned up the pressure, clawing back into the game with an 18-8 flurry in the last 2:49.
Sy led the Aggies with 17 points to go with 10 rebounds as NMSU had 19 offensive rebounds and finished 40.7 percent from the floor. Senior center Hamidu Rahman finished with 16 points, Wendell McKines had 14 points and nine rebounds, Hernst Laroche scored 13 points and Daniel Mullings scored 12 points. Tyrone Watson finished with nine points and led the Aggies with five of the team’s season-high 18 assists.
Hawaii shot 46 percent from the floor and 9-for-17 (52.9 percent) from 3-point range.
Despite two fouls to Hawaii center Vander Joaquim in the first half, the Warriors led 44-34 at halftime thanks to 18 first half points from Johnson.
NMSU trailed 23-11 after a 16-1 Hawaii run. The Aggies closed to within one on a Sy dunk, but Hawaii outscored NMSU 8-0 to end the half and push the lead back to double digits.
Johnson was 4-for-7 from 3-point range in the first half as Hawaii shot 39.5 percent from the field in the first half.
After a slow start, NMSU got into the paint and finished the first half shooting 34 percent from the floor. Without Joaquim in the post, Rahman scored 12 points in the first half and Sy scored seven of his 11 points in the first half. Not only did NMSU get Joaquim into early foul trouble, but backup center Davis Rozitis fouled out in the first half with nine points, five rebounds and three blocks.


Anonymous said...

"NMSU's 91-87 loss at Hawaii isn't the end of the world and they will still be in first place in the WAC with a win at home over Nevada on Thursday."

You forgot the word (and it's a very big one), "IF."

See? It's this kind of "we'll get the next one; we'll play well in conference; we'll win the conference tournament" thinking that lets Menzies mediocrity continue.

Sure, it's not the end of the world, and one can easily argue there are far more important things in life than a college basketball game, but there is a large community of Aggie basketball fans and supporters who want the Aggies to play hard every time out and to be competitive. The Menzies approach with an excuse at the ready for each and every situation is growing tiresome.

It seems like you're always walking on eggshells with Menzies and Aggie basketball, fearful for some reason of writing honestly about this woeful coach. Why do you always try to find the nicest thing to write?

Anonymous said...

I liked the effort going down the stretch. The Hawaii kid hitting the 3s hit --- many with a man in his face, so there's isn't a whole lot to be done.

I do have a point of contention, and it's one that the television announcers touched on. On a few occasions during the game, the announcers said, and this is almost a direct quote, "The Aggies look like they've never seen a box and one before," in reference to the Aggies inability to figure out the Hawaii defense. Isn't this a coaching thing? UNM did the same thing to us, box and one...only guarding McKines and not our point guard. We didn't adjust to it then, or, if so, waited to until late in the game. It looked like we didn't adjust to it until well into the second half in Hawaii.

Isn't real time adjustments something the assistants or head coach is supposed to do?

Jason Groves said...

If it's "nice" to write about facts, then i guess I am a nice guy. I think it's funny that fans like yourself disappear until the Aggies lose and then bring out the same Menzies arguments time after time. Losing at Hawaii isn't the end of the world. There is no argument against that. If they lose at home vs. Nevada on Thursday, the Aggies won't win the WAC unless Nevada falters at Hawaii since they've already beaten Idaho and Utah State on the road. That's a fact as well.

Anon 1010,
I agree with you. The Aggies didn't know how to handle it, and yes, you would like to think coaches would be ready to beat the box and 1. UTEP took a box and 1 but denied McKines. Hawaii denied Hernst Laroche and it took NMSU out of their offense. But for some reason, Hawaii went away from it before the Aggies ever adjusted to it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you mean by "disappear." I've always maintained the same "appearance": I do not think Menzies is much of a coach. I noted this after the games he's both lost and won; however, as administrator of this site, it seems you choose to publish just under half of the comments I provide. Any "disappearance" is attributed to your editorial choices.

Jason Groves said...

The only comments I don't publish involve profanity and/or racial slurs.

Anonymous said...

Anon whatever times;

Maybe you should put your name or some alias so we know when you disappear or if you're really that constant.

Actually, winning the conference tournament would let the bad games that Menzies has had slide. I mean would you really be sitting here screaming if the Aggies win the WAC Tourney? Considering it is the only way a team from the WAC will earn a NCAA Tourney bid why would it be a bad thing to win it?

Competitive? Hmm well lets see the Aggies have been in 2 WAC Championship games and 2 semifinals games in the 4 years Menzies has been here. Thats pretty nice right? We are in the WAC and this team is competitive in its league. We are not going to run the table year in and year out. We are going to finish in the top spots in the league and compete for a WAC Championship year in and year out. A team that is not competitive and that does not play hard does not do that.


Anonymous said...

How passive-aggressive of you, Jason Groves, to include your and/or statement " ... racial slurs ..." thereby implying what I wrote included such ugliness.

While I understand that profanity's rarely ever seen on the internet (just as sex isn't either), I'll state once again I'm not a writer of racial slurs.

In all honesty and seriousness, I admit to dropping the occasional F-Bomb, but I soon realized that yours is a G-rated, family-friendly, fireside-chat kind of blog.

Also, you're lying. I've sent plenty of comments that were profanity-free (and racial-slur-free, you Honkey), and you didn't publish those either.

Anonymous said...


A lot of other teams have also achieved the "played in two WAC championship games and in two WAC semi-finals games in four years."

As for winning the conference tournament and erasing all the bad memories, no, it wouldn't help. He hasn't earned the money he takes from NM taxpayers. Lou Henson's salary was less than the difference between his and Menzies' salaries. That is, Menzies, without ever having been a head coach, is paid nearly three times of what Henson made.

At least we know those wild and raucous sold-out home games will generate enough revenue to pay Menzies salary. Oh, wait. The Pan Am's the only basketball stadium that's actually reduced its seating capacity to create a sense of intimacy, but that would require more than 1,300 hundred people in what's now an 8,000-seat arena.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against the kids who play for NMSU. They try hard and work hard. I cannot say the same about their coach.

Anonymous said...

Over the past 4 years, only NMSU and Utah St can claim that. NMSU is a consistent WAC contender under Menzies. If that's not good enough for you, then you need to shell out the dollars for a proven coach w an elite pedigree, because its just as likely that we get worse and not better with another coach at Menzies salary.

Anonymous said...

Menzies isn't concerned about the overall basketball season. His bonuses are tied into WAC championships and tourney invites. If we followed his lead, we'd only show up for the tourney also. His lack of passion is infuriating. The only thing he's passionate about is keeping Remy benched. What did Remy do to tee him off? When we're ahead by 20, it might be a good time to give him some playing time.

Anonymous said...

Just because over a short four-year period the Aggies made it either to the semi-finals or finals of the WAC tournament does not equate a successful coach. What's Menzies' winning percentage? Fifty-six?