MORGANTOWN, W.V.-- The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team traveled to play an undefeated University of West Virginia Mountaineer team in one of the most difficult venues a team can compete in at the Division I level, WVU Coliseum. The end result was an 82-48 victory by West Virginia, a team that improved to a perfect 8-0, while UNH dropped to 4-5 overall.
West Virginia, a Big East Conference team, was led by forward Mike Gansey, who poured in a game-high 16 points and pulled down a game-high 14 boards. Two other WVU players, Darris Nichols and Kevin Pittsnogle added 10 points apiece. The home team put the game away early as UNH trailed the entire game and was down 14-0 until the 13:52 mark of the first half, down 26-6 with 8:13 before the intermission, and then down 41-15 at the half.
However, UNH regrouped as a team following the intermission, nailing 5x10 three-pointers and shooting 50 percent from the floor in the second half (13-26). The Wildcats were outscored by just 41-33 in the final 20 minutes, but could get no closer than 30 points (56-26) with 11:48 to play in the game after a jump shot by junior forward Craig Walls (Minneapolis, Minn.)
The highlight of the contest for UNH was the play of sophomore forward Blagoj Janev (Sydney, Australia) as he scored a team-high 12 points and grabbed four rebounds. He was 4-8 from the behind the three-point arc. Senior center Ben Sturgill (Hamilton, Ohio) also played tough inside, pulling down a team-high six rebounds, while scoring eight points. Sixth-year UNH head coach Phil Rowe also saw 19 minutes of play from freshman point guard Chris Vetrano (Andover, Mass.), who went down with a sprained ankle late in the game at Dartmouth on Dec. 11. He was questionable heading into Tuesday night's game.
West Virginia played stingy defense, holding UNH to just .354 shooting from the floor for the game (17-48), while the Mountaineers connected on 31-69 shots for a shooting percentage of .449. WVU also won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Wildcats by a 42-28 margin.
It doesn't get any easier on Dec. 28 when the Wildcats hit the road again, this time to play at The Ohio State University. Tip off is at 8 p.m. and the contest will be televised live, but can only be viewed in the Ohio area or via ESPN Plus.