DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will kick off conference play when it plays host to two-time defending America East champion University at Albany on Thursday, Jan. 3. The two schools will be meeting for the 16th time, with Albany holding a 10-5 edge in the all-time series. In the most recent meeting March 3, 2007, the Great Danes ended the Wildcats’ season with a 64-47 win in the quarterfinal round of the America East tournament at Agganis Arena in Boston. The ‘Cats lost to the defending champs despite having three scorers in double digits.
Seniors and America East All-Conference members Jermaine Anderson and Blagoj Janev combined for 25 of UNH’s points and freshman forward Radar Onguetou was named America East Player of the Game as he delivered 11 points and two rebounds.
The Great Danes (21-9) led from start to finish as two-time America East Player of the Year Jamar Wilson paced Albany for a game-high 21 points, while all-conference forward Brent Wilson notched 13 points.
Albany jumped out to an early 17-6 advantage and led by as many as 18 before the Wildcats staged a second-half comeback on an Onguetou 3-pointer that cut the score to 49-42 with 9:01 remaining. Janev was held scoreless in the first half of action until he contributed to the comeback en route to scoring 10 second-half points. Albany, however, proved to be too much down the stretch and closed out the final nine minutes on a 15-5 run. The Great Danes outrebounded UNH by a margin of 38-26 and posted 13 second chance points, which was the major difference in the game.
The loss marked the second straight season the Great Danes endedUNH’s hopes of a conference championship.
LAST TIME OUT
The Wildcats fell to 3-8, while the Raiders improved to 7-5.
After a pair of Mike Christensen free throws pulled the Wildcats to within three with 2:24 remaining in the game, two Daniel Waddy turnovers gave UNH one last chance with 21 seconds left. Abreu took the ball to the hoop hoping for a chance at a three-point play, but his shot with six seconds left didn’t fall. Gilchrese recovered the rebound and got the ball to junior guard Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.), whose deep look at a 3-pointer went long as time expired.
Gibbs tallied seven points and seven rebounds, while Christensen added five points and five rebounds.
Abreu scored the first eight points of the game for the Wildcats, who led for most of the first frame. The ‘Cats went into the half with a 27-24 lead and looked in position to grab their first win of the month.
Colgate, which shot 39 percent (9-23) from the floor in the first half, had other ideas when it shot 53 percent (10-19) in the second half. A 9-0 run gave the Raiders their largest lead of the game at 36-31 with 13:58 remaining in the contest. The Raiders eventually widened their advantage to 10 (48-38) with 6:57 left, but treys by Gilchrese, the America East Player of the Game, and Abreu cut the UNH deficit to 48-44 with 4:23 remaining.
Alex Woodhouse led all scorers for Colgate, netting 17 points on 7-of-7 shooting.
Freshman Dane DiLiegro chipped in with five points and five rebounds for UNH, which shot 26 percent (14-54) from the field for the game.
Despite losing, UNH outshot Colgate from the charity stripe, 73 percent (11-15) to 47 percent (7-15) and had fewer turnovers (15) than the Raiders (23).
ABREU TAKES HOME WEEKLY CONFERENCE HONOR
The America East conference announced Dec. 10 that freshman guard Alvin Abreu was named America East Men’s Basketball Rookie of the Week for the week ending Dec. 9.
Abreu averaged 12.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game over the last week in losses against Northeastern University at home (62-57) and Brown University on the road (68-52). Abreu scored 10 points and added five rebounds against the Huskies, and matched his career high by netting 14 points versus the Bears.
Abreu, who ranks first in the conference among rookies in scoring at 11.3 points per game, has scored in double digits in eight of nine games and has recorded at least two 3-pointers in eight of nine games this season.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR DOUBLE D
Freshman forward Dane DiLiegro recorded the first double-double of his career Dec. 3 versus Northeastern when he posted career-highs in points and rebounds, with 12 apiece. The double-double was the first this season for the Wildcats.
'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.”
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.