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.