STEVENS: Lobos Sweep Aggies With 81-64 Pit Win
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/20/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 20, 2009

Lobo TV: Postgame Press Conference
Lobo/Aggie Box Score

Sunday: Lobos 81, NMSU Aggies 64

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

It wasn't exactly the run-and-gun, crowd-pleaser the Lobos and the Aggies staged in Las Cruces, well, at least for a half. But no doubt New Mexico's 81-64 win over New Mexico State Sunday in The Pit warmed the deepest regions of Don Flanagan's fundamentalist heart -- for 20 minutes.

"I really enjoyed what we did the first half," said Flanagan.

The first half you give to Flanagan and his Lobos. They pounded on the Aggies for a 47-26 halftime lead. This was Flanagan basketball. Good defense. Good execution. Good shooting. It also pushed the Aggies deep into a hole they couldn't climb out of although they were game for the climb.

The second half you give to the fans. The Aggies came out of the locker room and decided to put up a fight -- and play a little defense. The Aggies ran and cut UNM's lead to 64-51 going into the media break with 7:17 to play. That was a lot better than NMSU's 21-point halftime hole, but 13 points is still a canyon when you are in The Pit.

The canyon got less deep a few seconds later. A Lobo turnover led to an Aggie layup and a Flanagan timeout. UNM was up 64-53 -- 11 points. UNM came out of the break and Valerie Kast found herself open and scored uncontested underneath: 66-53. Sara Halasz then hit a big trey at 5:24 to push UNM up 69-55.

The Aggies continued to chisel into UNM's lead, but in the end, it was too little, too late -- and too deep a hole from which to emerge. The Lobos won their 15th straight over the Aggies in The Pit and UNM raised its season mark to 8-3.

The Aggies made a game of it in the second half and outscored UNM by four points. From the beginning of the second half, the Aggies let the Lobos know that UNM was facing a different team than what UNM saw in the first half.

"The second half, they displayed the type of team they are," said Flanagan."I'm happy with the win. They are a very fine team and I have a lot of respect for that team. We had a pretty good game plan and we did a pretty good job."

A key time for UNM came after a short Aggie burst at the 16:53 mark of the second half had Flanagan up on his feet calling for a timeout. The Aggies had come out of the locker room with a new-found intenstity and cut UNM's lead to 47-33. That was still a fat margin, especially in the Lobo-friendly Pit, but Flanagan needed his Lobos to match NMSU's energy.

Flanagan's chat in the huddle appeared to do the trick. The Lobos didn't cut into the Aggies' intensity, but the Lobos came out with a bit more fire. At the 12:35 mark, a big Amy Beggin trey made it 56-39. At the 10:17 mark, UNM was still up 16 points -- 58-42.

UNM was led by Beggin with 22 points and Amanda Best with 18 points. Sara Halasz kicked in 13 points. Beggin and Best both had nine rebounds, Halasz had eight boards and Jessica Kielpinski had seven. UNM won the rebounding battle 43 to 26.

UNM shot 66.7 percent in the first half and 20 percent in the second half. "They pressured us a little more and took us out of our offense," said Beggin. "I think we were still getting some good looks, but just weren't knocking them down."

The Aggies were led by Jasmine Lowe with 19 points followed by Madison Spence with 12 points. NMSU got 11 points each from Tabytha Wampler and Crystal Boyd.

The Aggies outscored UNM in the second half, but the outcome Sunday was decided in the first 20 minutes. The Aggies were taken to school by a Lobo team that cut through the NMSU defense like the Lobos were running practice drills.

When the Lobos were up 20-5, they were shooting 8-of-10 (80 percent) to 2-of-11 (18.2 percent) for NMSU. The beating was so bad that even a few Lobo fans had to clap when a NMSU shot fell into the hole.

With 3:46 to play in the first half, UNM was up 43-16 and shooting 78.9 percent. The Aggies were shooting 21.1 percent at that mark. Both teams had taken 19 shots. UNM had 15 field goals and four misses. NMSU had 15 misses and four field goals. UNM had 13 assists at that point and NMSU had one.

The Aggies went on a little run at that point, knocked down a couple of treys, and cut UNM's lead to 18 points. The teams went into the halftime looking at a 47-26 scoreboard.

The Lobos ended up shooting 66.7 percent in the first half to 32 percent for NMSU. The Aggies got off 25 shots, making eight. UNM launched 24 times and made 16. The Lobos also won the board battle, 17-to-10. UNM got 12 first-half points from Best and 11 from Beggin. UNM was 6-of-8 from 3-point land.

First Half -- Lobos 47, NMSU 26

The first half was a crusher for the Lobos. They put the pedal to the medal and the boot to the Aggies. It also made it clear why UNM had won 26 of 27 games with NMSU going into Sunday's game. The talent of the floor was pretty equal. There was a huge difference in the way these two teams, on this afternoon, executed the fundamentals of a simple game.

When your shot isn't falling, it helps to fall back on basic basketball, defense and discipline. The Lobos had those things Sunday in The Pit, but also had their shooting touch. The Lobos raced out to first-half leads of 20-3, 29-7, 32-9 and 43-16 and never looked back in joining the Lobo men with a two-game sweep of Aggies during the 2009-10 season.

The Lobos grabbed an early 8-3 lead going into the first media break at 15:39. Beggin drilled a 3-pointer from the left baseline to form that five-point gap. The Aggies were getting some nice looks early, but shot 1-of-4 at that 15:39 mark. UNM was 4-of-5, also getting nice looks off solid execution. UNM was hitting at a high percentage and worked the Aggie defense for some easy shots.

The Aggies continued to get beat on defense and began to force too many shots on the offensive end. Another Beggin trey from the same baseline pushed UNM up 14-3. A Best trey at 13:13 handed UNM a 18-3 lead and forced NMSU into a timeout -- down 15 in The Pit.

The Aggies came out of their huddle and missed a running layup. Jessica Kielpinski hit a six-footer to make it 20-3. The Aggies finally scored their second basket of the half and UNM took a 20-5 lead into the second media break at 11:38. Nothing really changed after that. UNM just continued to drift away.

Halasz scored a layup off an Aggie turnover to push UNM up 24-5. Beggin banged in another trey after rolling off a Valerie Kast pick and it was 27-7. Jackson hit a trey to make it 32-9. UNM got back-to-back, back-door layups from Taylor and Halasz to make it 43-16. The Aggies threw out a small run to cut UNM's lead to 18 points, before UNM took its 21-point lead into the locker room.