Saturday, November 19, 2011

Unified Aggies force issue, beat Miners

The New Mexico State Aggies are playing more like a unified basketball team.

Defensively, they're playing harder this year — they did throughout their 89-73 win over UTEP on Saturday.

Offensively they passed the ball well against the Miners.

There was excitement in the Pan American Center.

And it was another NMSU win in 2011, this one coming over a UTEP team that, frankly, the Aggies should have beaten.

The Miners had a successful strategy in the first 20 minutes of the game — while the Aggies kept them in it to a degree — playing a four-quarters offense and spreading the floor. They were patient, made the extra pass and trailed just 42-38 at intermission.

But the contest turned in the first five minutes of the second half.

NMSU picked up their intensity on the defensive end of the floor, pressured the Miners and turned it into opportunities on offense.

The team went on a 15-4 run coming out of the locker room, and UTEP was forced to come out of their offensive set while playing catchup.

The Aggies got the ball inside and moved it well on the interior — NMSU took 13 3-pointers in the first half, just five in the second — and shot 51 percent from the floor to close out the game.

Teams have a shot at beating the Aggies this year if they can turn them over and break even with them on the backboards. Easier said than done, though.

The Aggies are big and long inside — they outrebounded the smaller Miners 42-27 on Saturday.

Defense and rebounding.

Sounds like a formula a team can win with — whether they're playing at home or away.

So far, the Aggies have an impressive look.

Teddy Feinberg can be reached at (575) 541-5455


Anonymous said...

Lot of empty seats pal.We don't care about Aggie sports .

Anonymous said...

I liked what I saw from the Aggies for the most part. They were aggressive and relentless. Played tough Man-D. Showed flashes of being a very good team while for the most part, being just decent against a way over-matched UTEP squad.

The stuff I didn't like:

1. Players jawing after making baskets. What's the point? We were hit with two technicals that could have put us in a hole, and could easily cost the game. Beating your man and scoring makes the point a whole lot better than talking smack and then having the other team get free throws. Just play the game...everyone knows who the best team on the court is.

2. With 25 seconds left in the first half, the Aggies have the ball and the last shot. What do they do? They shoot it with 12 seconds left, UTEP gets the rebound, and get a dun as time expires. Two easy points for the opposition, giving them momentum going into the locker room.

3. The Aggies are up by 20 with a little more than 6 minutes left in the game. Instead of taking care of the ball, we see NMSU throwing behind the back passes and long range ally-oops. A twenty point lead dwindles to 10 with enough time left for a complete collapse. What was the coach holding his timeouts for? You can't turn them in at the end of the game for a refund. Against a good team, the Aggies will not survive a late-game lapse like it had on Saturday night. It would be nice to see the coach get control of his team, BEFORE the team loses the game.

4. Some of the players have steadily become better, some seem to have regressed. Kabongo seems to have returned to his Freshman ways; he's playing out of control at times, and those times hurt the team.

The Aggies could have a special team this year. Here's hoping they do.

Teddy said...

Kabongo has a knack for looking good one trip down the floor and bad the next. Cut back on around-the-backs passes.

Anonymous said...

To Anon. 10:41 - You don't care about Aggie sports, and I don't care what you think.

The Aggies played well overall, but I have to agree that the showboating needs to stop.

One criticism I've had about Menzies is that he apparently doesn't realize taking time-outs is a good way to stop the other teams momentum. When utep cut the deficit from 21 to 14 or 12 points, that is probably the time to call a timeout.

They finally have some more speed at guard which they sorely missed last season. So far, they have looked solid.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:08,

Of course you care what I think, you responded to my post.

I see you didn't refute one point I made. Hmmmm...