December 17, 2010

Time to up the ante

Maybe this five game home stand isn't such a bad thing after all.

Starting off with two wins early on in this home stand is just what the doctor ordered. And considering this team currently resembles a MASH unit, the doctor couldn't have been more right.

But now the tail end of this home stand gets tougher.

After thumping the "Aggies" from Panhandle State (2-9), 75-46, on Thursday night in the Pan Am Center, the NMSU Aggies (4-7) will now have to up the intensity and certainly their level of play with games against Pacific, Louisiana, and Saint Mary's.

The Aggies also host the Pacific Tigers, Saturday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Lou Henson Classic.

The Tigers are 6-4 after wins over Santa Clara, 69-59, Dec. 14, and Cal State Stanislaus, 89-52, Dec. 11 in Stockton, Calif. Senior forward Sam Willard has a team-high 16.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Senior guard Demetrece Young follows with 12.4 points per contest.

The Aggies have a 30-8 advantage in the all-time series. NM State defeated the Tigers, 84-78, Feb. 20, 2010 in Stockton, CA.

With Wendell McKines (broken bone in foot) yet to play a game and his status still uncertain for the remainder of the season, along with Troy Gillenwater (sprained ankle) and Hamidu Rahman (calf) injuries, there's plenty of minutes available for the remaining players on roster.

Leading the Aggies with average minutes played per game is Hernst Laroche (32.5) followed by Tyrone Watson (27.5), Gordo Castillo (27.2) and Christian Kabongo (26.2). Renaldo Dixon (23.3)and Tshilidzi Nephawe (14.8), wrap-up the double digit minutes. After that, the remaining players have all seen some playing time with B.J. West (8.2) leading that pack.

Its anyone's guess as to what the starting lineup will be on Saturday night against the Pacific Tigers. Last game out, coach Menzies went with the lineup of Laroche (G), Kabongo (G), Sy (F), Watson (F), and Nephawe (C).

I don't expect to see that same lineup starting on Saturday night with the possibility of Castillo starting ahead of Sy or Watson. We don't expect to see Rahman back in the starting lineup or even playing anytime soon as he tries to heal-up from his calf injury.


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