The New Mexico State Aggies were exposed on Wednesday night at the Pan American Center.
Their opponents, the New Mexico Lobos played very well in an 89-67 blowout win.
They are a good team — it was apparent on Wednesday why they were picked to win the Mountain West during the preseason.
They play together and make sound decisions on the basketball court.
That, and they shot the ball very well from long range — hitting 12 of 24 attempts from 3-point territory on the evening.
The Aggies, well, they're the exact opposite — a limited offensive team that's erratic in ball handling.
They desperately need a consistent 3-point shooter — a 1 of 14 effort from beyond the arc spells out that fact.
Outside of Wendell McKines, they're a roster full of role players and run an unimaginative halfcourt offense — two players on the pick and role, three others standing idle.
Simply put, they couldn't score the ball, not with UNM draining a barrage of jump shots and layups.
NMSU doesn't have enough offense to score to win in a halfcourt game and need their defense to generate their offensive attack — rebounding the basketball and creating turnovers generally translate into easy baskets on the other end of the floor.
That and the Lobos were just better prepared for NMSU this time around.
UNM was very unimpressive in their first game against the Aggies — a 62-53 NMSU win that saw the Lobos shoot 28 percent from the floor and commit 21 turnovers.
That's not how you beat this NMSU team, rather it's by being patient on offense — ball security, ball reversal and a good shot in the halfcourt set, while making rebounding a top priority going into the contest.
The Lobos turned the ball over 15 times on Wednesday night while they just about broke even on the boards — losing that battle 47-45.
Once again, the Aggies couldn't be counted on from the free-throw line, shooting 22 of 35 while UNM hit 17 of 20 from the stripe.
The Lobos jumped out to a 40-19 lead with three minutes remaining before halftime. At that point, fans could have packed up and left the Pan American Center — with the Aggies offensive troubles, the game was all but over.
Instead, the audience began filtering out of the gym with nine minutes left in the contest, and with the Aggies down 72-44.
“No, I don't think so,” NMSU head coach Marvin Menzies said when asked if he was feeling more pressure after the lopsided loss. “They shot the piss out of the ball.”
But there is also this fact:
The Lobos are an improved team since the last time both clubs met over a month ago.
And the Aggies? Well, they've regressed.
And that's where it stands.
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