MEN'S BASKETBALL GAME NOTES VS. BINGHAMTON
COMPLETE NOTESLIVE STATS

DURHAM, N.H.
-- The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will square off with Binghamton University on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Events Center. It is the 14th meeting in their short conference rivalry, with Binghamton holding a 9-4 advantage in the all-time series. Although Binghamton has a 6-1 record all-time at Lundholm Gymnasium, it is just 3-3 when playing host to UNH on its home floor. Despite the return of forward Rony Tchatchoua and his career-high 17 points off the bench in the most recent meeting between the two teams, the Wildcats fell to Binghamton, 67-58, on Jan. 24 at Lundholm.   
   
With the loss, the Wildcats fell to 5-13, including 2-4 in America East, while the Bearcats went to 9-10 overall and 5-2 in the conference.
   
Tchatchoua, who hit on 8-of-9 shots from the field, saw his first action in six games and tallied three steals, two blocks and two rebounds in 22 minutes. The freshman was named UNH’s America East Player of the Game for his efforts.
    
After trailing for all but 23 seconds of the first half, the Bearcats received a 3-pointer from Richard Forbes that gave them the lead for good at 31-30 with 17:34 left in the second half.
      
An 11-2 Bearcat run made it 42-32 just three and a half minutes later, with the lead eventually increasing to 58-47 with 4:36 remaining in the game. A 3 by freshman guard Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) sliced the Binghamton lead to five before a jumper by Lazar Trifunovic gave the Bearcats a 62-55 lead with 2:25 left. An Eric Gilchrese (Springfield, Ill.) trey made it 62-58 with 1:59 remaining before Binghamton scored the final five points of the contest to close out the game.
      
Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs and freshman center Dane DiLiegro each had solid games for the Wildcats. Gibbs tallied 10 points, six rebounds and five assists, while DiLiegro added nine points and 11 rebounds.
      
Trifunovic, Binghamton’s America East Player of the Game, led four Bearcat scorers in double digits with 19 points.
   
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with UNH leading for most of it, but never by more than five points. The ‘Cats went into the break with a 27-24 lead.
   
Binghamton outshot the Wildcats 48 percent (25-52) to 36 percent (21-59), but also had more turnovers (12) than UNH (9).

LAST TIME OUT

Junior guards Tyrece Gibbs and Eric Gilchrese scored 20 and 16 points, respectively, but the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team dropped a 75-72 overtime thriller to the University of Maine on Saturday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.  
   
The Wildcats fell to 7-16, including 4-7 in America East, while the Black Bears improved to 7-16 overall and 3-7 in the conference.
      
After trailing by as many as 19, the Wildcats found themselves down 52-50 with 7:01 remaining in the game when Gilchrese drilled a 3-pointer that gave UNH just its second lead of the day. After a Brian Andre layup gave Maine a 54-53 advantage, a powerful Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) dunk recaptured the lead for the ‘Cats at 5:35.
      
The two teams traded free throws – and then layups – to tie the game at 59 with 3:03 remaining. Gibbs made one-of-two from the line to give UNH a 60-59 lead with 2:51 left, before Mark Socoby also made one-of-two from the stripe to tie the game with 26 seconds left. The Wildcats called timeout with 12 ticks left to draw up its final play, which seemed to work when Gibbs drove and kicked the ball underneath to a wide open DiLiegro. The 6-8 freshman went up to dunk the ball two seconds left, but Maine’s Phil Bofia blocked the ball off a Wildcat and out of bounds with two-tenths of a second on the clock. Socoby’s try from 80 feet at the buzzer fell short.
      
Gibbs opened up the overtime session with a trey that put UNH up 63-60. With the Wildcats on top, 64-62, Maine ran off six points in a row to take a 68-64 lead with 2:31 left. Another Gibbs 3 cut the Maine lead to one. With just under a minute to go, Socoby converted a three-point play that put the Black Bears up four. UNH made it 71-69 on two Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) free throws, before a Sacoby jumper gave Maine its four-point lead back. A pair of free throws gave Maine a 75-69 lead with eight seconds to go before Gibbs hit a 3 as time expired.
      
Senior forward Mike Christensen scored 11 points, giving him 999 for his career. One more point will make Christensen the 25th Wildcat to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Christensen also added three rebounds and four assists. Abreu chipped in with 10 points and four rebounds. DiLiegro recorded six points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block. Gibbs tallied five rebounds and two assists, while Gilchrese, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, added four rebounds and five assists.
      
Maine built a 45-28 halftime lead thanks in part to Socoby’s 21 first-half points. Socoby, Maine’s America East Player of the Game, finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Kaimondre Owes added 20 points, four rebounds and four assists for the Black Bears. UNH outscored Maine 32-15 in the second half to erase the 17-point deficit.
      
UNH had half as many turnovers (10) as Maine (20), but shot just 32 percent (22-68) compared to the Black Bears’ 44 percent (23-52).

NATIONALLY RANKED

The Wildcats are ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in three categories. Their 8.9 3-pointers per game is good for 21st in the nation, while their 3-point field goal percentage of 36.8 ranks  them 98th. The ‘Cats free throw percentage of 71.6 is 87th best in the country.
   
Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs ranks 55th with a 3-point field goal percentage of 41.0 and 57th with 2.8 treys per game.

POINTS, REBOUNDS, ASSISTS, OH MY!


Senior Mike Christensen currently has recorded 999 points, 482 rebounds and 195 assists in his career. With one more point, 18 more rebounds and five more assists, Christensen will become just the second player in the history of UNH men’s basketball to tally at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists in a career. Dan Nolan posted 1,258 points, 826 rebounds and 219 assists from 1980 to 1984.

WE LIKE MIKE

How much does the play of senior captain Mike Christensen affect the play of the Wildcats? Six of the Wildcats’ seven wins have come when Christensen has scored at least 10 points.

BLOCK PARTY


After owning a career high of two blocks after two-and-a-half seasons, junior guard Tyrece Gibbs set a new career high with three blocks versus Boston University on Feb. 2, and then recorded another three blocks the very next game at Albany on Feb. 6.

FROM BEGINNING TO END

What connection could senior Mike Christensen and the head coach of the UNH men’s soccer team, Rob Thompson, possibly have? Before moving on to play his final two years of high school basketball at Flint Hill, Christensen played his first two years at South Lakes High School in Reston, Va. Thompson received his first coaching gig at South Lakes, coaching the JV soccer team. In the end, both wound up at UNH where they have had great careers. Another South Lakes alumn? The Phoenix Suns’ Grant Hill.

FAN FRENZY


The 1,852 fans that took in the game between the Wildcats and Boston University Terriers on Feb. 2 at Lundholm Gymnasium were the most to fill Lundholm since 1,873 people witnessed the ‘Cats play host to the University of Maine on Feb. 3, 2007.

OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN

Senior captain Mike Christensen has stepped up his game as of late, leading the Wildcats on the court when they need it most. After a scoreless first half against Hartford on Jan. 27, Christensen scored 18 points on 4-of-5 shooting from behind the arc in the second half to lead the ‘Cats to a 74-59 victory. Christensen again helped his squad pick up a W Jan. 30 at Stony Brook, netting 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while adding five rebounds, two assists and a block en route to a 68-60 win.

THE DANE TRAIN: NOW BOARDING

Freshman center Dane DiLiegro is turning into a consistent presence on the boards night in and night out - especially at home. DiLiegro pulled down 11 rebounds in the three consecutive home games from Jan. 15-27. The recent rebounding spurt raised DiLiegro’s average from 5.1 per game, to 6.0

DOUBLE-DIGIT DOWNER

Freshman guard Alvin Abreu snapped his seven-game double-digit scoring streak Jan. 24 versus Binghamton, when he tallied five points.The streak is the longest streak on the team this season. Abreu, who leads all America East Rookies in scoring, has scored in double digits in 12 of his last 17 games, and 17 of 23 overall.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR CAPTAIN CHRISTENSEN

Senior forward Mike Christensen posted the Wildcats’ second double-double of the season Jan. 12 against Vermont when he poured in 17 points and ripped down a career-high 14 rebounds.   
   
Freshman center Dane DiLiegro recorded the first double-double this season when he posted career-highs in points and rebounds, with 12 apiece, Dec. 3 versus Northeastern.

ABREU GARNERS SECOND WEEKLY CONFERENCE HONOR

The America East conference announced Jan. 7 that freshman guard Alvin Abreu was named America East Men’s Basketball Rookie of the Week for the week ending Jan. 6. This is the second time Abreu has garnered the honor this season.
       
Abreu averaged 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists over the course of two games during the week. Abreu helped the ‘Cats win their first conference opener since beating Vermont, 75-68, on Dec. 3, 1997, by scoring 14 points and pulling down six rebounds in 40 minutes of a 75-66 win over Albany on Jan. 3. Abreu then submitted his second 20-point performance of the season, and tallied eight rebounds and four assists in his second consecutive 40-minute effort, as UNH fell to UMBC – the top team in the conference – 86-73 Jan. 6.
      
Abreu also won the award Dec. 10, when he averaged 12.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in games against Northeastern University and Brown University.

THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING

When the Wildcats defeated two-time defending America East champion Albany, 75-66, on Jan. 3, they not only won their conference opener for the first time since Dec. 3, 1997 when they defeated Vermont, 75-68, but they grabbed their first win of the year when trailing at halftime, and when being outscored in the paint. Coming into the game, the ‘Cats were 0-6 in both categories.

'CATS INK PLAYER DURING EARLY SIGNING PERIOD

The Wildcats announced Wednesday, Nov. 14  that Brian Benson has signed a National Letter of Intent during the early signing period, and will attend UNH and play for the program beginning in the 2008-09 academic year.
   
Benson, a 6-foot-8-inch forward from Greece-Athena High School in Rochester, N.Y., was a 2007 All-Greater Rochester all-star selection after averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Section V Class AA champions.
   
Benson should help the ‘Cats in the frontcourt, with senior forward Mike Christensen graduating in the spring.
    
“We are happy with Brian’s decision to join our basketball program,” UNH men’s basketball Head Coach Bill Herrion said. “He comes from a very successful high school program and has been very well-coached. Brian really fits one of our recruiting needs. He is athletic, can run the floor and is a good rebounder. He also gives us depth with our frontcourt.”

2007-08 OUTLOOK

University of New Hampshire men’s basketball head coach Bill Herrion enters his third season as the leader of the program and with seven newcomers added to the program, this could be his most difficult challenge to date.  UNH compiled a 10-20 record last season, which translated into a seventh-place finish in the America East Conference. The Wildcats fell for a second straight season to the eventual America East champions - the University at Albany.
   
Despite losing two talented America East All-Conference performers in Blagoj Janev and Jermaine Anderson, the Wildcats bring back three starters from the 2006-07 campaign. Senior Mike Christensen (Reston, Va.), along with junior Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) and sophomore Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) look to lead a very young group of ‘Cats to the promise land as the captains for the 2007-08 season. Christensen returns from a season-ending foot injury, which he suffered Jan. 9 during a pivotal conference match up with Vermont. The senior forward posted 13.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in 15 appearances, including a 28-point performance the game before he endured the injury. Gibbs, who started 28 of 29 games last season, averaged 9.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. He stepped his game up in a major way offensively when Christensen went down with his foot injury. Gibbs scored in double-digits in eight of the last 13 games. Onguetou showed the greatest improvement over the course of the season. He made 18 starts in 30 appearances and became the team’s leading offensive rebounder. Onguetou posted a double-double against Dartmouth College and scored a career-high 15 points against Hartford.
   
The Wildcats also bring back senior Shawn Tobey (Eliot, Maine). Tobey’s work ethic landed him in coach Herrion’s starting lineup towards the end of the season, including a start in the America East Quarterfinal round. Sophomore Joe Cheslock (Dover, N.H.) also returns to the program, and will vie for playing time at the shooting guard and small forward positions.
   
In addition to the returning veterans, Herrion introduces seven newcomers to the program. Junior college-transfer Eric Gilchrese (Springfield, Ill.) comes to New Hampshire after two years at Lewis & Clark Community College. The Trailblazers finished fourth in the 2007 NJCAA Men’s Division II National Tournament and had Gilchrese named to the All-Tournament Team. Gilchrese averaged 14.0 points, 4.0 rrebounds and 5.0 assists per game during the 2006-07 season. Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) and Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) add depth at the guard position. Conley is a 6-foot-2-inch wing player from Burlington High School. Conley is BHS’ all-time leading scorer with 1,566 points an was named to the All-State Team during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Conley averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds per game during his high school career. Abreu joins the Wildcats out of Boys to Men in Chicago. Abreu averaged 20 points and eight rebounds per game while at Lynn Classical High School, and was a North Eastern Conference All-Star. He averaged 14.0 points per game in 2006-07 at Boys to Men, which was ranked one of the top five schools in the nation that season.
   
In addition to the three guards, UNH adds forwards Rony Tchatchoua  (Douala, Cameroon), Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) and James Valladares (Kaufman, Texas). Tchatchoua is a 6-6 power forward from Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, who was league MVP when his high school, Little Rock Christian Academy, captured the state championship in 2005. He was named to the All-State Team, as well as being selected a McDonald’s All-American in 2006. DiLiegro, a 6-8 power forward/center from Worcester Academy, was three-time Middlesex League Champion while at Lexington High School. DiLiegro was a Middlesex League All-Star his senior year after he averaged 11.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game. Valladares is a 6-8 forward out of Kaufman High School, where he averaged 19.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game last season. Valladares was District MVP his senior year, District Defensive Player of the Year his junior year and District Newcomer of the Year his sophomore year when he was also named First Team All-Region.        The Wildcats also welcome junior transfer Colbey Santos (East Wareham, Mass.) from James Madison University. Santos will sit out the 2007-08 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.
   
The Wildcats also made a coaching staff change as they welcomed newly appointed associate head coach Ken Dempsey to the program. Dempsey spent the last six seasons as the men’s basketball Associate Head Coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Dempsey also served as the University of North Carolina-Greensboro assistant coach from 1999-2001. Dempsey is familiar with the Northeast region, having served as the assistant coach at Northeastern University from 1994-1999. Prior to joining the staff at Northeastern, Dempsey was an assistant coach at Monmouth (N.J.) University from 1984-94. The players he recruited earned 21 all-conference selections and helped the team to three conference championship game appearances.
   
Dempsey is a proven, self-directed and high-profile coaching/recruiting professional with over 24 years of full-time leadership experience at the previous listed Division I institutions. Dempsey has a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the country by numerous national recruiting and coaching publications and boasts a 100-percent graduation rate among student-athletes recruited. Each of Dempsey’s past four recruiting classes at UMKC were ranked as one of the nation’s top 100 by Hoop Scoop Online.
   
As recruiting coordinator for head coach Wayne Szoke at Monmouth for eight seasons, Dempsey’s recruiting efforts produced the school’s all-time Division I scoring co-leaders, seven of the school’s top-10 Division I scoring leaders and a GTE Academic all-American. Dempsey also serves actively on the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Board of Directors.
       
Dempsey earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1983 from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., where he was a four-year letter-winner in basketball and baseball. He also completed a master’s degree in education from Monmouth in 1991.

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