If you read my three keys, I thought NMSU really only accomplished one of them and that was get it inside and feed Bhullar. Otherwise Denver's 8 made 3s, NMSU's 18 turnovers and a weird rotation after Watson's return to the lineup were the three big take aways for me. Takes some luster off the La. Tech game, but both teams will still need it with Denver now two back of La Tech with NMSU a possible tiebreaker.
New Mexico State nearly erased a late 10-point deficit, but the Aggies fell 66-60 at Denver on Saturday in a game that should decide the No. 2 seed in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Aggies fell to 19-10 and 12-4 in the WAC, falling behind the 14-2 Pioneers. NMSU trailed by 10 with just over six minutes to play. The Aggies closed to within one, but couldn’t end Denver’s win streak, which was extended to eight.
“We learned that it’s not over until it’s over in the UTEP game,” Aggies coach Marvin Menzies said. “It was a one-point game but we didn’t get a good look at the basket. It’s where we have to have leadership on the floor.”
A day after his suspension was officially lifted, NMSU senior Tyrone Watson joined the Aggies in the starting lineup, finishing with 10 points and five assists in 38 minutes.
Watson knocked down a pair of free throws to put NMSU up 34-27 as the Aggies extended a one-point halftime lead to a seven-point advantage.
But Denver’s methodical attack and NMSU’s carelessness with the basketball contributed to a 15-0 Denver run that put the Pioneers up 52-42 with 6:37 to play. NMSU committed five straight turnovers during the run. Denver scored 27 points off 18 NMSU turnovers.
“It’s disappointing,” Menzies said. “We knew that if we take care of the ball, there is a good chance to win the game — 18 turnovers is just not acceptable.”
DU went up 48-42 with 7:21 to play as Denver shot 50 percent in the second half, adding lay ups to a 8-for-14 (57.1 percent) effort from the 3-point line after shooting 3-for-18 from 3-point range in an Aggies win in Las Cruces.
“It’s one thing to not be scoring if they aren’t either but they shot the ball so well,” Menzies said. “We knew they would be better at home but didn’t think they would shoot 57 percent from 3.”
NMSU shot 47.8 percent from the field in the first half and finished 48.8 percent for the game but the Aggies went without a field goal for nearly nine minutes. Daniel Mullings struggled offensively, but he scored six straight points to make it a four-point game and Bandja Sy hit the Aggies’ first 3-point attempt of the game to make it 55-54 with 1:55 left. Forced to pressure full court, the Aggies gambled and left Chase Hallam alone for an open triple that extended the lead to 60-54 with 50 seconds left.
Sy led the Aggies with 21 points and 11 rebounds and Sim Bhullar scored 17 points. Mullings finished with eight points and seven turnovers.
“I know the guys wanted to beat them twice and make a statement,” Menzies said. “Obviously it’s a sad lockerroom. We have two games left, luckily both are at home.”
You hit the nail on the head with your comment about the weird lineup. This goes 100% on the coach for starting Watson instead of bringing him in off the bench.
Watson did some good things, sure, but overall the Aggies did not fair well with him starting. He got his points, but at what cost? The team was out of sync the entire night.
It would have been much better to have Sim and Renaldo in at the same time. Sim's bulk and Renaldo's athleticism.
As far as the chance of a win against that Louisiana team...if they only beat us at home by less than 10 points, it will be one of those so called moral victories for the Aggies.
Very disappointing game. If the team we saw on Saturday shows up in Las Vegas in a couple weeks, look for an early exit and a bid to the NIT (maybe).
I checked out a while ago due to Menzies insistence on mailing in the pre-conference season and his defeatist "we're just NMSU and we can't beat top-25 teams" attitude, along with the aspiration to mediocrity wherein just showing up at the NCAA tourney as a 14 seed is considered a triumph of the human spirit.
Now, I see that not only is he playing a soon-to-be convicted felon, but he is doing it at the expense of team performance and morale. So now he is showing himself to be a poor manager of talent. We already know he's not an X's and O's coach, so what is left?
Woe to Aggie BB fans right now, that's all I have to say.
It looked like Menzies forgot what enabled the Aggies to beat the Miners in LC.
I just knew Menzies would make the asinine decision once Watson was cleared.
He plays Watson for 38 minutes on the heels of a one month suspension after only two practices.
Meanwhile, Remi Barry and Kevin Aronis, two of the late season bright spots, get a total of 8 minutes. Only Menzies. How much longer?
I can't disagree with everything that's been said. Why was Watson in the starting lineup? What's the old saying..."if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Sim and Dixon have been doing fine. Yes the chemistry was impacted by having Tyrone starting. The turnovers and poor shooting in the second half (9 min w/o a basket) killed us.
I've always argued that this program is content with doing poorly with the non-conference schedule and winning our weak conference. Being a one and done in the NCAA's is nothing to be proud of.
I thought Watson played well and is better than Barry. That's not why they lost.
Why is nobody talking about the bad play of Daniel Mullings? He's been bad for the last month. He forces everything and ends up turning the ball over. He's supposed to be a 1st team WAC guy.
If they want to beat good teams and win 3 games in Vegas, he'll have to play well.
I'm very dissapointed that Watson got to start after a 30 day suspension.
This team was better without him. All the hardwork and chemistry that took place during the suspension is now gone!
Way to reward Watson for doing nothing and way to cheat those role players of their hard work!!
The bad apple ruins the entire bushel!!
Watson's turnovers and poor shot selection were put right back into the starting lineup, Result?
I'm not gonna' blame Watson. He gave his minutes, got some points, cost us some points. The technical was completely foolish after a good defensive play.
If I am pointing fingers, I point at the coach. We had no outside game whatsoever, no outside game plan. By the end of first half, Denver was collapsing 3 guys on our big man, daring us to shoot the 3-ball which we didn't do until the last two minutes of the game.
We lost offensive balance in the Denver game. Certainly the ball should pass through Sim's hands; that makes sense. Sim does great at passing the ball out to our shooters. The inside-outside game should go full tilt with him there, deciding to take it to the hole or dumping it back out. It sure didn't work in the game on Saturday.
As I've said before, it all comes down to poor coaching. Our wins have been propelled by a lineup that was beyond his control. Menzies has his favorites and will sacrifice other players' time on the court to make sure they play. Even when we win games, he still can't coach in real time. I'm not sure whether he doesn't have the sense to make appropriate coaching decisions or whether he's too stubborn to listen to his assistants. If you look at their faces, all you can see is controlled exasperation. I'm not going to go into the whole Tyrone mess. Whatever problems he's facing have been picked apart and debated enough. The fact is he's been out of a successful lineup for a while. Menzies should stick with a winning combination, rather than dig in and get back to business as usual. Also, can someone PLEASE get his ear and strongly suggest that with our players, the zone will produce more than man to man.
NMSU Felons will lose to Tech by 10pts! We need Menzies FIRED!!!
Still...nobody acknowledges the poor play of Mullings.
9:50, tell us about Mullings....I didn't see the game...just the stats....I also found it strange and possibly disruptive that Watson was played so early and so much....but I also have noticed that Mullings is having a rough year....I would be interested in knowing how he fares with one point guard vs the other point guard....
UTEP exposed how bad the NMSU halfcourt offense is and it's worst with Watson. Watson isn't in NMSU's top 7 players, despite what the coach seems to think.
Look at the bright side of things. The handling of Watson should give the next NMSU president all he/she needs to fire Boston and MM.
People. People. People.
MM can do no wrong. Havent you all learned? Boston runs into his office instead of standing tall and laying the law. The provost and presidents chair sits empty as do the coughers from rich donors. Same as it ever was and always will be.
Why must we always settle to be just-average?
Seriously? You're throwing in the rest of the team (felons) because of one player? Wow! The rest of the team has done well considering all the injuries and other issues that have taken place this year. How about some support?
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