Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday's game

So....Thursday's Aggie basketball game vs. Nevada.

Lets go back, down the stretch of the game, under 2 minutes remaining.

Troy Gillenwater gets fouled and knocks down both free throws. NMSU up 64-61, 2 minutes remaining.

Nevada misses a shot, McKines is fouled, 1/2 from the line. 65-61, 1:32 left. If I were an Aggie fan, I'd be feeling a bit more secure. The team withstood the Wolf Pack's rally and was back up by four. It's a two possession game. It feels OK. Better than being tied, or worse, down.

Babbitt hits a three but LaRoche sinks two more free throws. 67-64 Aggies, under a minute left.

Nevada misses at the other end. Babbitt grabs an offensive rebound and is fouled. He hits the first, misses the second. Nevada gets another offensive rebound. Nevada misses again, but Wolf Pack forward Malik Cook tips the ball back up and into the cylinder. Another offensive rebound. Tied game. Overtime.

No need to get into the extra frame. The game was lost during the prior 2-minute sequence above.

Honestly, the Aggies would have easily won the game if they rebounded better throughtout the entire second half. They don't rebound the ball at all! I counted in the second half. It was a loose count, could be off by a point or two but, in my estimation, NMSU gave up 15 second-chance points in the final 16 minutes of the game. They gave up three offensive rebounds off of missed free throws. That's bad. You gotta grab the ball, particularly when your given position on the block because of free throws.

Rebounding is about heart and desire. Nothing more. Sure, height helps. The Aggies have decent size. Troy Gillenwater played a good game on the offensive end. But he only had two rebounds. You need more in a game like that.

Can't blame fundamentals. The rebounding problem should have been worked on well before the third game of conference play. It should have been pounded home on the practice court.

Nevada wanted the ball more in the second half and was the tougher team. Why did the Wolf Pack win? See rebounding and interior defense. That was the difference.


I think Wendell McKines is a great player.

But if I were coaching him, I would not let him play more than five feet away from the hoop.

Sure, I know, his jump shot has gotten better in the last year. If I were his opponent, I would gladly let him shoot from 10 to 15 feet than have to deal with him around the hoop.

The kid is a handful. He should be playing around the basket at all times.


It seemed to me that Nevada got away with two walks in the second half.

The first was a basket and the foul by Joey Shaw that cut the NMSU lead to 51-50. It was a big play and Shaw howled after the bucket. But he walked. He caught the ball, took a step, did a jump step, and went in for the layin. It looked like a walk to me.

The second was an Armon Johnson bucket that gave Nevada a 61-60 lead. Johnson was in traffic and looked like he took steps. No call.

On the flip side of the coin, the Aggies had the ball go in when it ricocheted off a hand/arm/body part during an attempted pass. I guess things even out.


I said that a split during this homestand was fine. Nevada and Utah State are two solid programs. The Aggies have come out and have said a handful of times, at least it seems, that this is a rebuilding year of sorts.

Two road wins early. Come home to face two upper-echelon teams. Split the homestand. So a win against Utah State would work with that approach. Here's the only problem.

NMSU should have won Thursday. It was the Aggies' game. They could have gotten greedy here on Saturday against the UtAgs. Now, I think they have to win. There's pressure there.

No loss feels good. But to let one like Nevada slip away hurts a little more. It was NMSU's game at the end.


Anonymous said...

The Aggies got bullied again (UNM) and cracked under pressure.

Not trying to sound negative but, Utah St. is playing pretty good and If you can't defend your home floor, a three game home losing streak is in store for us.

1/2 of the season is over and at this point in time, there's no room for freshmen mistakes!

SM said...

Good post Teddy. This loss had nothing to do with youth or inexperience, but rather lack of heart and desire. It was almost comical (in an unfortunate way) to see how Babbit and the other UNR players just reached above our guys to secure rebound after rebound. Not one single Aggie put a body on UNR rebounders.

Let's get this straight: UNR is not a good team, at least offensively. They have Armon Johnson who can't shoot to save is life but can basically drive it to the hoop whenever he wants, and they have Babbit, who is a solid player and only going to get better. The difference is Mark Fox. He sees that his team is just about the worst shooting team in D-1 basketball, so he changes the game strategy. He has all his players crash the boards to get second chance opportunities, has his guards drive the lane and get to the foul line, pressures our guards to the extent that our offense looked like a JV squad against the San Antonio Spurs, and play hard-nosed basketball. Most importantly, they made Young irrelevant on the court. UNR played with more heart and desire than the Aggies.

Sure, the Aggies are young and games like this are going to happen. Also, 2-1 at this point in the season is not bad. But the Aggies completely blew the game last night because lack of inner toughness. Unfortunately, UNR and USU are very young as well, as are many other teams in conference. The Aggies have talent, but they need to find that winner's desire.

Anonymous said...

Jesus last night was frustrating and pathetic. Teddy is right about the rebounding because we just look like a bunch of high schoolers playing scared out there. How the heck do you let them get a rebound on a missed free throw with the game on the closing seconds? This has been something that has been plaguing the team all season and it doesnt seem to be getting better.

Another thing that I personally dont like is how thin we play. We start 5 and only sub in 3. Out of those 3 only Gillenwater has a real impact on the game. Joyner is still learning the college game so LaRoche wont be losing his job soon. Castillo on the other hand...Im tired of seeing him out there simply because he is the hometown kid. Once again he took 0 shots but did manage to pick up 3 fouls. If that is the case put me in because I could do the same thing too. What about Robert Lumpkins or Chris Gabriel? Seems like they are starting to be perennial benchwarmers on this team and I dont think that with a young team that is such a good idea. But I'm not coach Menzies and he does things for a reason but I simply dont like seeing our "shooter" out there taking absolutely 0 shots.

Overtime was just horrible and it was pitiful to just see the whole stands empty in about 30 seconds. We should have won this game.


IC said...

Rebounding has been a problem all year. As I said in an older post the team needs to learn how to put teams away. They were up 9 at half, if anyone had told Coach Menzies he would be up 9 with 20 minutes to play I think he and anyone else would have taken that. They let Nevada hang around in the 2nd and Coach Fox outcoached him. We had the game in hand and let it get away. In a down year for the WAC a game like that could be the difference.

Plus let's not forget that the WAC tourney is in Reno this year so we could have to play them twice in Nevada. We needed the game last night.

As for Utah St., their record 14-1 is impresive, but take a look at their schedule, it's kind of weak. I like our chances against them.

Teddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teddy said...

I think the Aggies matchup well with Utah State too and last year they beat the UtAgs by 30 in Las Cruces.

But I think this game is going to come down to Menzies vs. Morrill. Who will outwit who?

Anonymous said...

Ok so I have to just throw something that has been on my mind. Everyone complains that the attendance is bad and that there is no student section. I think that fans should show up whether the team wins or loses because there is nothing better to do here. However, just what exactly are the teams doing to reach out to the community and our student body? We said that Mumme was never visible but yet I dont see any other coach out talking with students or anything. The players dont do it either and its hard for the community to support them through wins or loses when they dont have a sense of connection with the team. How about going to the dining hall on game day and inviting students to come? Before they critize people for not showing up why not think about what they could be doing to increase their support?


10 yr. vet said...

With regards to McKines and where he should play on the floor. He is shooting over 40% from behind the arc and over 50% from the floor. Granted he is a handful when he is around the rim but they rarely throw him the ball in the block. Clearly they need to do more of this. If Wendell learns to put the ball on the floor and create his own shot the rest of the WAC better watch out.

I couldn't agree more regarding the rebounding issues. McKines had 15 vs. Nevada and just needs a little more help down there. When they go small and Gillenwater is the center, he needs to understand that he has to contribute with defensive rebounds.

Anonymous said...

Coaching, Coaching, Coaching. Players will play to the level of the coaching they are under. Even very good players will play down if the coaching is weak.

Intensity, Intensity, Intensity.
This is what it takes to play GOOD Defense and be able to REBOUND. This AGGIE team has none. Intensity comes from the coach, plain and simple...(ie Neil McCarthy, Don Haskins, Reggie)

Bring Reggie back and let MM be his assistant.