Wednesday, December 18, 2013

UNM: Three keys unlocked

New Mexico State gutted out a 67-61 victory at New Mexico on Tuesday, showing a toughness that I hadn't seen yet from this year's group.

NMSU did everything it needed to do, jumping out early with defense and playing inside-out and defending well enough to hang on.

Finish in the Paint: The Aggies did this very well, starting with center Chili Nephawe, who scored 14 points with six rebounds, five offensive rebounds. Nephawe and center Sim Bhullar scored 10 of the Aggies first 13 points, NMSU shot 41 percent in the paint and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds.

Hit open shots: The Aggies post game opened things up for open 3s. Kevin Aronis made 3 of 5 3s in the first half as the Aggies were an unbelievable 7-12 from 3 point range in the first half. The Aggies were 0-5 in second half but the ability to hit open shots helped establish an early lead.

Pick your poison: I thought perhaps NMSU would focus their defense on Cameron Bairstow, but it seemed like they focused more on Alex Kirk, doubling him in the post and hounded him into 4-14 from the field with two turnovers. Couple that with Kendall Williams not being aggressive offensively for some reason, and the Aggies held the Lobos supporting cast to 8 points.


Anonymous said...

Kendall Williams is great player but often is a "no show" in big games (Harvard, NMSU, Washington).

Plus he's a diva.

Anonymous said...

Groves I noticed that Ian Baker was dressed for the Ags. What do you anticipate his involvement will be. KCRM is playing well. Landry is ok. Is Baker expected to contribute?

Jason Groves said...

Baker was with the Aggies on the road trip. He is cleared and even through he was on campus, he was not able to practice with the team. The only guys that were were Tanveer Bhullar (redshirt) and Jim Coleman for awhile. Since Baker had not practiced, I didn't expect to see him at all, especially in a rivalry game at the Pit.

I agree with your assessment of the other two point guards. Ross-Miller has probably won the Aggies three games this year (Hawaii, UTEP, Drake) and he helped put the Lobos away. He's nearly doubled his 3-point percentage from a year ago. Obviously he's still a work in progress, but I can't imagine Baker stepping in and replacing him at this point. Landry does things well, but he's no threat offensively, so I could see Baker working his way into the rotation as a backup at some point.

I expect Baker to play against Northern New mexico on Saturday and after that, it probably depends on what coaches see from him in practice.

My opinion is that Baker will have no impact on how the Aggies do this season, just as de Rouen no longer with the team would affect the Aggies either way.

It's good that Baker worked to get on the court and he can probably develop into a player, but expecting much from him this year at this point is unrealistic in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Big win for the Ags, one of the rare non-conference big win in the MM era. But give him and the Ags credit. If the Loobs weren't motivated, that's on them. Always love it when we beat UNM, especially at The Pit.
-Aggie Glare

Anonymous said...

I didnt see "3-keys" for Northern New Mexico, not surprising since its the same as writing about NMSU vs. Mayfield High.
Sorry to say, but I have officially "checked out" of NMSU basketball for the year. No point in following a team that gets trounced for all their Key games ( Zag, AZ, and at home for UNM) I am just not interested in average teams with average wins. Top it off with several blow outs against cup cake teams makes this season a yawner. Good luck team, and Groves, time to move on to the big dogs now. You have done great!!!!
P.S. Someone please get MM out of here!!!!


Anonymous said...

We don't need average fans SR. You'd be lucky to be considered that.

Anonymous said...

Here's some food for thought SR. Pulled from a post off a fan forum.

"Being a perennial NCAA tournament team is exactly why we can't get good teams in the PAC. Which big name is going to want to risk a road loss at an RPI 50-75 school? Sean Miller, for example is on record as saying he won't be back in Las Cruces following UA's narrow escape in 2011.

This is the way college basketball scheduling works in the 21st century."

Your comment on MM is not worthy of reaction.

Anonymous said...

This is typical of anything associated with the sun news, if you express an opinion here that is against the norm, your the bad guy.
I just feel that this team is average. Its not going to go anywhere beyond the first round in the tourney. Proof is in the spanking NMSU took against Zag and AZ.
Sweet 16, Eleite 8, final 4, those are symbols of the best and am sorry to say we are still a long ways from that here in las cruces. I have been a season ticket holder for 5 years and have watched the teams closely for well beyond that since my kids were in school.
When will we get beyond average and win big games against big teams????


Anonymous said...

Getting to the tournament is above average.

Anonymous said...

Getting to the tournament is RELATIVE to the obstacles in the way of a team getting there!

Dare I say that our obstacles are mere speed bumps?

Yes, I dare say that!

Getting to the dance is not a sign of the aggies being above average. If at the end of the year they would get an at large bid if they would not win the tournament, I would consider that to be above average.