Friday, January 14, 2011

At New Mexico State on Saturday night

Coach Marvin Menzies is operating a mini-United Nations down in Las Cruces what with players from Canada (3), Senegal (2), South Africa (1) and France (1). Recruiting to Las Cruces is never an easy task so his reaching out to foreign players makes great sense.

The Aggies lost backcourter Jahmar Young a year early and Jonathan Gibson graduated so the focus this season is on the frontcourt -- but Menzies' bigs have endured a slew of injuries.

Normal starters 6-foot-11 Hamidu Rahman (calf injury) and 6-foot-8 Troy Gillenwater both played but came off the bench in the latest Aggie game against Hawaii. Gillenwater supposedly re-injured his ankle but to what degree is unknown.

Against Fresno State it was 6-foot-10 Tshilidzi Nephawe, Troy Gillenwater, 6-foot-5 Tyrone Watson, 6-foot-8 Bandja Sy and H6-foot-1 ernst Laroche as the starters. Against Boise State, Troy Gillenwater was still out injured and 6-foot-4 Christian Kabongo started in his place.

The Aggies are 9-9 overall, this season 3-1 in conference action and 7-3 at home.

Oakland native and former Richmond High star Wendell McKines won't play as he is officially redshirting this season.

What may or may not be a key stat: the Aggies are currently 6-0 when they hold opponents to 70 points or less.

As for a critical number, New Mexico State is currently shooting 51% in league play, holding opponents to 44%.

NMSU's Starting Five (stats are in league play)

One of the two bigs will start at center and if Watson starts in place of Gillenwater look for Christian Kabongo to start in the backcourt opposite Laroche.

* 6-11 Hamidu Rahman -- has missed some games with a calf injury -- should be available but for probably less than 20 minutes


* 6-10 Tshilidzi Nephawe -- 9.2 points and 4.3 rebounds a game, shooting 63%, is 14-16 at the foul line, has been starting in place of Rahman

* 6-8 Troy Gillenwater -- 21.7 points, 8.0 rebounds a game, shooting 55% overall, 36% from three, missed some games with an ankle injury


* 6-5 Tyrone Watson -- 7.9 points, 5.0 rebounds a game, shooting 58% overall

* * 6-8 Bandja Sy -- 9.0 points per game, shooting 60% overall, 71% on threes, has been playing much better of late and starting

* 6-1 Hernst Laroche -- 11.0 points per game, shooting 48% overall, 37% from three, 18/6 assist-to-turnover ratio

Off The Bench

* 6-4 Christian Kabongo -- he's not shooting or scoring well but leads the team in steals and like an up-and-down game

* 6-5 Gordo Castillo -- the best catch-and-shoot distance marksman on the team

The Aggie schedule so far

Nov 12 @ Louisiana Lafayette 92 - 76 (W)
Nov 15 Western New Mexico 95 - 62 (W)
Nov 18 @ Arizona 57 - 83 (L)
Nov 20 @ UMass 57 - 71 (L)
Nov 21 Southern California at Springfield, MA 61 - 80 (L)
Nov 23 @ UTEP 56 - 73 (L)
Nov 30 UTEP 72 - 74 (L)
Dec 04 New Mexico 78 - 84 (L)
Dec 11 @ New Mexico 62 - 78 (L)
Dec 13 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 83 - 49 (W)
Dec 16 Oklahoma Panhandle State 78 - 46 (W)
Dec 18 Pacific 69 - 64 (W)
Dec 21 Louisiana Lafayette 82 - 76 (W)
Dec 23 Saint Mary's 53 - 73 (L)

Dec 29 @ Idaho 74 - 69 (W)

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team opened 2010-11 WAC play with a 74-69 win at Idaho. Junior forward Troy Gillenwater led the Aggies with 22 points after missing the last five games due to an injury. NM State improves to 6-0 in WAC openers. Sophomore forward Tyrone Watson and junior guard Hernst Laroche added 12 points while freshman center Tshilidzi Nephawe scored 10.

Dec 31 @ Boise State 78 - 81 (L)

The New Mexico State men’s basketball team said goodbye to 2010 with its second WAC game of the season at Boise State, but the Aggies fell to the Broncos, 81-78, in the New Year’s Eve game. The Aggies moved to 7-9 and 1-1 in the WAC while Boise State is 9-5 and 2-0. NM State had four players in double-figures with junior forward Troy Gillenwater scoring a game-high 24 points. Senior guard Gordo Castillo had 14 points, while sophomore forward Bandja Sy and junior guard Hernst Laroche supplied 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Jan 08 Fresno State 80 - 68 (W)

Troy Gillenwater scored 19 points to go with 10 rebounds to lead New Mexico State to an 80-68 victory over Fresno State on Saturday in Las Cruces, N.M. The Aggies (8-9, 2-1 Western Athletic) outscored Fresno State 43-37 in the second half and shot 58 percent for the game. Hernst Laroche and Hamidu Rahman each scored 11 points and Tshilidzi Nephawe added 10.

Jan 13 Hawai'i 82-64 (W)

Troy Gillenwater scored 13 points in 18 minutes to help New Mexico State to an 82-64 victory over Hawaii on Thursday at the Pan American Center.

Junior point guard Hernst Laroche added 14 points and five assists, Christian Kabongo scored 12 and Gordo Castillo scored 10 for the Aggies, (9-9, 3-1 Western Athletic) who won their second straight game and the seventh in the last nine. The Aggies finished 49 percent from the floor and scored 20 points off 20 Hawaii turnovers. The Rainbow Warriors finished 38.1 percent from the floor and were 4-of-19 from the 3-point line.

The New Mexico State roster (by position, alphabetized)

Gordo Castillo G 6-5 190 Sr.
Makhtar Diop G 6-6 195 Jr.
Drew Herig 6-0 183 Fr.
Christian Kabongo G 6-4 199 Fr.
Hernst Laroche G 6-1 170 Jr.

Renaldo Dixon F 6-10 210 Fr.
Troy Gillenwater F 6-8 238 Jr.
Wendell McKines F 6-6 230 Sr. (redshirting)
Bandja Sy F 6-8 214 So.
Tyrone Watson F 6-5 225 So.
B.J. West F 6-11 240 So.

Abdoulaye N'doye C 7-0 215 So.
Tshilidzi Nephawe C 6-10 268 Fr.
Hamidu Rahman C 6-11 245 Jr.

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