Truth be told the game wasn't that close as the Lobos toyed with their bitter rivals. Defeating them not only on the scoreboard, but they out rebounded the Aggies who have some size themselves in Hamidu Rahman and Wendell McKines who filled the lane plenty of times. But you can't outweigh desire and that is the way the Lobos went at the glass led by Roman Martinez's 9 and Daniel Faris' 8.
Speaking of Roman Martinez. I know it is early but this young man has really established himself as a force and leader on this Lobo basketball team. His game has really come around, as he is no longer just a shooter, Martinez has really become a well-rounded basketball player both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. For the record Roman finished the night with 15 points 9 boards, 4 assists and a pair of steals.
Earlier this year Coach Alford really challenged his seniors to step up and become leaders, this writer was one of those that felt maybe Coach Alford should have just put the onus on his talented freshmen crew as perhaps the Lobo seniors would never become the leaders Coach Alford was looking for. I will have to say, I was flat out wrong as Chad Toppert, Daniel Faris, and Tony Danridge have really stepped up their game.
Vs. NMSU Tony Danridge put on another dunking clinic as he caught fire, around the hoop… Tony D also found his outside stroke knocking down a pair of clutch 3-point shots.
Speaking of clutch 3-point shots. I don't know about anyone else but we knew Chad Toppert could knock down threes. He has that outside stroke that is money no doubt, but I've noticed this entire season and especially vs. the Aggies that Chad like Roman have become an all around basketball player. He obviously will never be known as a penetrating guard, but he has the ability to keep a defender honest if they give him the lane, his defense has been good, and his rebounding has been nails.
When you mention rebounding on this Lobo team you can't forget the big fella Daniel Faris. While offensively he didn't have his best game, he was very active down low battling Rahman for boards and position. Faris also had a clutch block late in the game to help keep the Lobos on top.
Freshmen star Phillip McDonald has really started to hit his stride as he is really starting to look like a D-I player. Not that he didn't before, but his game is starting to come to him. Look for him to get better.
With all these "stars" scoring in double figures, I would have to say the MVL (Most Valuable Lobo) vs. the New Mexico State Aggies had to be Freshmen PG Nate Garth. Don't look at Nate's stats as they weren't spectacular (4 points 1 board)… If you see that, you think just a ho hum game from the freshmen, but you would be wrong
Nate saw some serious extended time as Dairese Gary was in foul trouble the entire night, leaving the Lobo game plan to the frosh Garth, and Nate stepped it up securing quite possibly the most important stat of the night. 5 assists 1 turnover! Mr. Garth took care of the ball and controlled the tempo for this Lobo team to earn a big victory. So congratulations on being named MVL Nate!