Here are Indiana's postgame press comments
Here are New Mexico State's postgame press comments
I was speaking with Wendell McKines in the bowels of the Rose Garden when Indiana coach Tom Crean was walking by. He stopped and said the following to Wendell.
"That man is a pro player right there, make sure you write that," Crean said. "You are a heck of a player. We spend as much time preparing for you as anybody we see. And the Draymond Green (comparison), that's a big compliment from where we come from because he was player of the year in our league and an All-American. We have a lot of respect for what you do. You have a great future."
McKines was held to four points in the first half. He finished with 15 and 7 in his final game. Daniel Mullings had 10 points and Bandja Sy had 12.
"It was Wensday awareness," McKines said. "Every spot I went to, I got some attention, which I expected. I worked so hard to be the type of player I am today so I guess it comes with the territory."
When asked to sum up his personal career spur of the moment, McKines told me, "I enjoyed my time as an Aggie. I never took a play off for this team. These are memories I'm going to cherish the rest of my life."
Bandja Sy on the mood of the team at halftime
"We felt like we just had two offensive rebounds so we talked about going hard to the offensive glass. We played good defense and just keep moving the ball on offense."
Sy on the first 10 minutes of the second half
"It was slightly different environment. After a couple runs, it just felt like a home game for them."
Tyrone Watson on the mood at halftime
"We were pretty optimistic but they are a tough team. They were working hard and knocking down their 3s. That was one of the emphasis of the game was to stop them from hitting 3s but they kind of got going and it just kind of got out of hand."
Tyrone Watson on the ball screen at the top of the key
"I think we struggled on a few ball screens from the get go and then they just kept going back to it. We hard a hard time getting the hedge and a hard time recovering and they start knocking down shots. We help over and then they rotate. That did hurt us."
Watson had seven of the Aggies' 13 turnovers in the first half. He didn't have one in the second half and the Aggies had four
"It wasn't so much the pressure. I was trying to make a play. I overdid it. I put the blame on myself for those turnovers. Sometimes I didn't see half the guys when they picked off my passes, they are so quick."
Both teams were 8-10 from the foul line. NMSU averages 30 free throw attempts per game
"Usually we get the calls and they weren't called. I'm not going to say the refs were bias or anything. It was an aggressive game, which we liked. There were a couple bumps and hits that we didn't get but that's just the game of basketball. We expected a lot of those to be calls but it was just tough basketball."
Marvin Menzies on halftime
"I felt like we had a chance. We had our opportunities. They are a good team and they just made shots. Everytime we make a run they respond. It kept them confident and we never got close enough to maybe rattle them a little bit."
Menzies on defending ball screens
"they got a lot of stuff coming off of that. the scouting report was to have the five help and kind of lay off. He was a little slow to do that at times. we switched it up and changed it. It worked a few times and we got a few stops out of it, but not enough."
1st thought: I am going to miss Wensday...
2nd thought: We need to be in a different conference. We will never advance in this tournament from the WAC. Sure, it isn't that difficult to conquer the WAC, but I think NMSU has steadily lost its standard in basketball and I think it comes from the level of competition it faces night in, night out....
I wish you would open this up for discussion.
Thanks for your good work this year, Jason.
The Aggies lost to a pretty decent IU team that played inside and outside. No shame in the loss.
Thank you, Aggies, for the effort and for representing NMSU, Las Cruces and the state of New Mexico as well as you have.
The fans are proud of you.
Spare us Groves your love affair with this criminal is getting old.
We lost to a better team! Good year fellas!
Am I the only one who's wondering if the coaching staff watched any film on Indiana? The second half looked like half-time, except there was only one ball on the court being used for their lay-up lines.
Alan - two very good points. Wendell might have surpassed Billy Keyes as my favorite Aggie all-time. He was a hard worker and hopefully scouts take note of how good this team was with him (See 2010 and 2012 tournament teams) and how mediocre they were without him (see 2010-2011 losing season). I think we have some decent pieces in place for next year, and like the potential of KC Ross-Miller and Sim Bhullar, but we are going to miss having Wendell scrap for those rebounds and hit those mid-range shots.
I would also like to see the Aggies in a better conference. I just don't know which larger conferences would take us with our football team's struggles on the field (although Walker has us going in the right direction) and inability to generate large revenue. I would actually like to see us in a strong basketball conference like the WCC, and let football go I-AA. Not sure that works financially, but it's worth discussing.
Regarding last night's game, we simply lost to a much better team that was very well coached. I feel like this Aggie team was very good at times, but so-so at other times. Had Nevada beat LaTech, we would have been in the NIT, which is probably where we belonged in the first place. Oh well, great to have another NCAA tournament banner in the Pan-Am.
I think there are 3 things outside of x's and o's that really affected last nights game.
1. I know this wont be a popular opinion but I really think we lost this game due lack of leadership. Hamidu, LaRoche and Wen led the team through the season but I really think last night they all fell flat. They are seniors who have started 4/3 years, who were there in the previous NCAA Tournament, who have won 2 WAC Championships....and they allowed the team to start out super cold. The Aggies were not ready to play and the seniors were nowhere to be found. Wen was a non factor in the first half, Hamidu was jogging halfcourt when Zeller was scoring a basket and Ernst was shaky handling the ball. What good is having experienced seniors going into the game if they dont play like experienced seniors? I dont think experience alone would have won the game, but it is certainly hard to give up that edge right from the start. I think they had a good season and great careers, but I dont believe they played like seniors last night.
2. I think the media attention really got to the Aggies. Underdogs win when people dont believe they can beat the better team. That is what sparks runs in the tournament, being a relative unknown. The Aggies were the underdog that people though could win. It put a lot of attention on them and I do think it pissed Indiana off that so many people were picking NMSU. The Aggies couldnt handle the spotlight and Indiana played like they had something to prove. Usually its the other way around. I think if the Aggies come out ready to play and with good senior leadership this would be a moot point. But contrary to what Wen said, the Aggies were intimidated and it cost them the game.
3. A lot of people talk about the competition in our Conference but I think a more important thing is the competition from within. Teams need to have competition within themselves for players to be better. If you have someone always challenging you and forcing you to keep your starting spot then you will work harder. That didnt happen on this team. Aside from Hamidu, no starter really had a challenge on the bench that forced them to be better. That in turn caused extremely limited minutes for anyone not named Chili or Sy. I really think that made a difference last night because when you dont have competition you have no one on the bench to turn to in dire situations. Complacency set in for this team in my opinion. If I am a 4 year starter what makes me think anyone in the bench will replace me? If I am a bench player behind that 4 year starter what makes me think I can replace him? If the Aggies had better inside competition they would have been much stronger stronger team.
I think the team had a good season but fell short of having a great season. I am looking forward to next season because I am hoping that we will have good competition between the players. Menzies needs to improve his game management and deal with a different kind of team. I think Utah St. will be the biggest challenge next season and the Aggies need to have a good offseason.
No pun intended Jesus but I think you they nailed it .
Thanks for the blog and following the Aggies here for us Jason.
Do you have any info on the incoming aggies for next year?
But seriously folks, Anonymous will be here all week ...
Good ones, all. Thanks JG for getting Tom Crean's message out to everybody per his explicit direction. Should have hit him up for tix to a Ravens or Niners game!
Gordo got a lot of results for all of his hard work. So did Wendell. They both had potential for early on and met it. I think the other guys see that and work hard, too. Great to have a Gordo or a McKines or a William Benjamin on your squad but the God given talent is so rare it's good to see somebody live up to it. References to criminality I would guess comes for somebody who didn't have to grow up and mature?
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