Who was at the Louisiana Tech vs. Aggie basketball game on Monday night?
It was a great game and a great win for the Aggies. There were obvious peeks and valleys throughout the contest. La. Tech went up big early, the Aggies fought back to tie it at 33 at halftime. NMSU went up big in the second half, only to withstand a late La. Tech flurry to hang on late.
Basketball is a game of matchups, and Hamidu Rahman has made a difference when the Aggies have played the Bulldogs this year. In the two teams first meeting of the season, Rahman scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. While his numbers on Monday weren't nearly as impressive — seven points, four rebounds in 17 minutes before fouling out — his absence was felt once he left the game, as La. Tech came back from a double-digit deficit and tied the game at 68.
Hernst Laroche's shot came off a broken play, as Jahmar Young hoisted a tough jumper late in the clock. The ball basically found Laroche, who turned and fired, knocking down the jumper in the closing seconds.
Louisiana Tech was terrible from the free throw line — 8 of 18 from the stripe — while the Aggies attempted only seven free throws on the evening, hitting six of them. NMSU did turn to ball over 16 times on the evening.
Gillenwater's 19 were overlooked. He's providing versatility and power off the bench. His monster dunk late in the first half capped the Aggies' rally and energized the crowd.
Wendell McKines continues to be a playmaker — he dished out six assists on the evening and is averaging just over three per game upon his return. Jonathan Gibson had an off night — it was his first in a while. The Aggies still won without his best effort. And Jahmar Young is has been scoring the ball all season long.
The crowd made a difference on Monday. It wasn't as big as Saturday night's gathering when the Aggies hosted San Jose State, but everyone was into the game. It made the contest all the more better.
Who knows if the Aggies will see La. Tech again in the WAC Tournament. It's tough to beat a team three times in a season and Monday night's game was a dog fight. But the team remains red hot going into their Thursday night road game against Fresno State.