Stevens: Lobos Face Tough MW Test at Utah State
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/27/2014

New Mexico Lobos Basketball -- On The Mountain West Road

Who/When: 9 p.m. (MT), Tuesday –New Mexico (15-4, 6-1) at Utah State (12-7, 2-5)

On The Air: ESPNU; 770-AM KKOB/Lobo Radio Network

GoLobos.com: Game Story, Statistics, Video Interviews

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com.

Probably the first thing you need to dismiss about the Utah State Aggies is their 2-5 mark in the Mountain West race.

These are the Aggies that at one point were 10-2. These are the Aggies who took No. 7 San Diego State into overtime before falling 74-69. These are the Aggies who shot 52.7 percent from the field against SDSU – one of the top defensive teams in the West.

 These are the Aggies who had won seven straight at home pre-SDSU.

These are the Aggies who probably believe they have what it takes to beat the New Mexico Lobos on Tuesday night and these are the Aggies who no doubt are hungry for a signature win.

“We know this is going to be a challenge and we need to be at our best,” said Lobo Coach Craig Neal. “This is a well-coached basketball team playing in an environment that makes it tough on the visitor.”

The Aggies are good, fundamentally sound, Stew Morrill-coached and better than their 2-5 record. They probably have a huge chip on their shoulders for the Lobos’ visit because they are better than 2-5.

The Aggies also have one of the rowdier crowds and student sections in the conference, averaging 9,780 in their rockin’ Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, which holds 10,270.  The Aggies pack ‘em in and the Aggies like to win for the home crowd.

The Aggies of Stew Morrill will not wow you with pure talent, flash or dash. The Aztecs had a huge edge in the talent department over Utah State and SDSU had to muscle out of overtime to stay undefeated in MW play.

Utah State is a little bit like Wyoming. They do a lot of fundamental things well and if they can toss in a good shooting percentage, they are tough to beat.

Here’s a stat that tells you a lot about the Aggies: Utah State has three players in the MW’s top four in assists-to-turnovers including TeNale Roland, who has the same ratio as No. 1 rated Hugh Greenwood of New Mexico. Roland had nine assists vs. the Aztecs of San Diego.

You can usually count on the Aggies to do all that fundamental stuff well and then you hope they don’t shoot well. However, the Aggies have some shooters that work well out of a patient offense. Utah State tops the Mountain from 3-point range as the only MW team shooting above 40 percent (41.3) on the season.

They have tossed up 339 bombs, which isn’t an excessive amount (one more than UNM), but the Aggies are selective with their bombs. They honor possessions by taking care of the ball and by taking good shots.

Utah State does a lot of things well.  They don’t take too many chances on defense, but use angles and position well which helps them lead the Mountain in rebounding defense and rebounding margin. More fundamentals.

They play well together and top the MW in assists averaging 17.4 a game. That not only means they pass well, but it also means they knock down shots.  They are No. 3 in the MW in field goal percentage at .472 percent, a few notches above New Mexico’s .450 shooting rate.

Utah State gets 13.6 points a game from 6-foot-3 Spencer Butterfield and 13.1 from 6-4 Preston Medlin. Kyle Davis, a 6-7 forward fighting an injury, tops the Aggie board charts with an 8.6 average. Butterfield brings down 6.1 a game. Medlin averages 2.4 3-pointers a game and Butterfield is at 2.3.

 The 6-10 Jarred Shaw gives the Aggies an inside presence with a 15.2 average and he hauls down 7.8 boards a game. The 6-7 Jalen Moore had 16 points vs. SDSU.

The Lobos might not have 7-foot Alex Kirk Tuesday night.  The big Lobo has a lower leg injury and might not see the court.  He did not play Saturday in UNM’s win at Colorado State.

If Kirk plays, the Lobos have a huge edge inside. If not, the size factor drops down to more of a level playing field – like at CSU.

New Mexico Lobos 2013-14 Season Roster

No. Sort by Number
Name Sort by Name
Pos. Sort by Position
Ht. Sort by Height
Wt. Sort by Weight
Yr. Sort by Eligibility Year
Exp. Sort by Years Experience
Hometown (Prev School)
1   Cleveland Thomas G 6-3 195 So. 1L Baton Rouge, La. (Scotlandville Magnet HS)
2   Chris Perez G 6-0 190 Sr. SQ Corona, Calif. (Centennial HS)
3   Hugh Greenwood G 6-3 205 Jr. 2L Hobart, Australia (Australian Institute of Sport)
5   Arthur Edwards G 6-6 205 So. JC Temple Hills, Md. (National Christian Academy)
10   Kendall Williams G 6-4 180 Sr. 3L Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (Los Osos)
11   Obij Aget C 7-1 225 Fr. HS La Porte, Ind. (La Lumiere HS)
12   Devon Williams F/G 6-7 205 RFr. RS Dallas, Texas (Woodrow Wilson HS)
13   Cullen Neal G 6-4 180 Fr. HS Albuquerque, N.M. (Eldorado HS)
22   Merv Lindsay F 6-7 205 RSo. TR Moreno Valley, Calif. (Canyon Springs HS)
23   Nick Banyard F 6-8 205 So. 1L Flower Mound, Texas (Marcus HS)
24   Tim Myles F 6-6 225 Fr. HS Etiwanda, Calif. (Etiwanda HS)
33   Deshawn Delaney G 6-5 190 Jr. JC Chicago, Ill (Vincennes JC) (Carver Military)
41   Cameron Bairstow F 6-9 250 Sr. 3L Brisbane, Australia (Australian Institute of Sport)
53   Alex Kirk C 7-0 245 RJr. 2L Los Alamos, N.M. (Los Alamos)