MEN'S BASKETBALL GAME NOTES VS. STONY BROOK
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DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will meet Stony Brook University for 15th time Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium. UNH, which leads the all-time series, 9-5, will look to extend its four-game winning streak over Stony Brook at Lundholm. The Seawolves have not won there since a 77-71 victory on Feb. 2, 2003. In the most recent meeting between the two clubs, senior forward Mike Christensen scored 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting to lead the Wildcats to a 68-60 victory Jan. 30 at Stony Brook Arena.
   
With their second consecutive win, the Wildcats improved to 7-13, including 4-4 in America East, while the Seawolves fell to 4-16 overall and 1-7 in the conference.
   
Christensen, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, added five rebounds, two assists and a block.
   
After being down by as many as 14 points in the second half, Stony Brook used an 11-2 run to cut the UNH lead to 60-55 with 2:24 remaining.
   
A Michael Tyree 3-pointer cut the Seawolves’ deficit to a pair with 1:44 left, but that was as close as they would come as the Wildcats locked down and hit 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
   
Junior guard Eric Gilchrese, who was 5-of-6 from the line in the final minute, tallied 17 points, five rebounds and three assists.
   
After trailing 9-0 to begin the contest, the Wildcats climbed back into the game, using a 15-5 run to take a 25-22 lead with 3:38 left in the first half. A Gilchrese jumper in the paint with 5:37 left put the ‘Cats on top for good. UNH went into the break with a 32-27 lead.
   
The Wildcats slowly pulled away in the second half, eventually opening up a 14-point lead with 6:01 remaining when Christensen knocked down one of his three treys and then hit a jumper on the next possession.
   
Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs chipped in with eight points, six rebounds and four assists, while freshman center Dane DiLiegro added five points and eight rebounds – six of them on the offensive boards.
   
Ricky Lucas, Stony Brook’s America East Player of the Game, netted 22 points – all in the second half - and added five rebounds.
   
UNH shot 44 percent (22-50) compared to Stony Brook’s 35 percent (18-51).

LAST TIME OUT

Eric Gilchrese posted a career-high 26 points, but it was not enough as the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team was downed by the University of Hartford, 82-63, on Feb. 17 at Chase Arena.
   
With the loss, the Wildcats fell to 7-18, including 4-9 in America East, while the Hawks went to 15-13 overall and 9-4 in the conference.
   
Gilchrese, who matched his career high with three treys, was 7-of-12 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. The junior also added four assists and four steals.
   
Even that performance was not enough to offset the hot shooting of Hartford, however. The Hawks shot 60 percent (29-48) from the floor, including 67 percent (18-27) from behind the arc. Joe Zeglinski led the way for Hartford, pouring in 31 points on 11-of-13 shooting, including a school-record 9-of-10 from long range.
   
The Wildcats held their own for the first 10 minutes of the contest, matching every shot Hartford put on the board to take a 20-19 lead with 9:09 remaining in the opening frame. The Hawks reeled off a 22-0 run, however, knocking down six of their 11 first-half 3-pointers to grab a 41-20 advantage with 2:47 left before the half. The teams went into the break with Hartford on top, 44-25.
   
Five minutes into the second half, Hartford increased its lead to 56-32, before a 15-2 run by the Wildcats cut the deficit to 58-47. Gilchrese netted 10 of his 23 second-half points during that span.
   
The law of averages never helped the Wildcats out, however, as the Hawks stayed red-hot and used a 20-4 run to take a game-high 27-point lead (78-51) and seal the win with 3:36 remaining.
   
The Wildcats played until the end, closing the game on a 12-4 run, including seven points from Gilchrese, UNH’s America East Player of the Game.
   
Freshman guard Tyrone Conley played well for the ‘Cats, tallying 13 points, three rebounds, an assist and two steals. Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs tallied six points, three rebounds and two assists, while senior forward Mike Christensen chipped in with five points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Christensen now has 1,014 points in his career, and passed Tom Horne (1,011) for 23rd on UNH’s all-time scoring list. Freshman forward James Valladares added five rebounds, an assist and a steal in 14 minutes off the bench.
   
Zeglinski, Hartford’s America East Player of the Game, was backed up with 20 points from Morgan Sabia.
   
The Wildcats continue to take care of the ball, turning it over just 11 times compared to Hartford’s 18, but also shot just 37 percent (21-57) from the floor, including 29 percent (9-31) from 3-point land.

POINTS, REBOUNDS, ASSISTS, OH MY!

Senior Mike Christensen currently has recorded 1,014 points, 489 rebounds and 197 assists in his career. With 11 more rebounds and three 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.

NATIONALLY RANKED

The Wildcats are ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in a pair of categories. Their 8.9 3-pointers per game is good for 19th in the nation, while their free throw percentage of 71.4 is good for 93rd in the country. UNH’s 3-point field goal percentage of 36.8 places them just outside the top 100 at 111th.
   
Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs ranks 61st with a 3-point field goal percentage of 40.1 and 73rd with 2.7 treys per game.

ABREU BACK ON TRACK


Freshman guard Alvin Abreu looks to have righted the ship. After having his seven-game double-digit scoring streak —  the longest streak on the team this season — snapped Jan. 24 versus Binghamton, Abreu reeled off three consecutive games of 10 or more points. Abreu, who leads all America East Rookies in scoring, has scored in double digits in 13 of his last 19 games, and 18 of 25 overall.

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-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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