DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will play its home opener Wednesday, Nov. 14 when it plays host to Suffolk University. Game time at Lunholm Gymnasium is 7 p.m. The Wildcats and Rams are meeting for just the second time ever. The first time these teams met Nov. 21, 2004, the ‘Cats came away with an 89-55 win.
Four players scored in double figures as theWildcats used their size and quickness advantage to defeat the Rams at Lundholm Gymnasium.
In a game in which no Wildcat played more than 27 minutes, Blagoj Janev led the team with 17 points, hitting 7-of-10 shots from the field including all three 3-pointers he attempted. Janev also grabbed seven rebounds in 22 minutes of action.
Freshman Mike Christensen established himself as a major contributor, notching his first career double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. He also contributed four assists, two steals, and a blocked shot.
The Rams shot only 31 percent from the field, committed 26 turnovers, and were out-rebounded by the Wildcats, 57-38.
LAST TIME OUT
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - The University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team fell to Boston College, 67-57, in the season opener at Conte Forum on Saturday, Nov. 10. Senior guard Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) tallied 17 points in the first half alone en route to a team-high 22-point effort.
Freshman center Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) pulled down 11 boards to lead the Wildcats in addition to seven points.
The Wildcats, who trailed by as many as 15 (20-5) with 11:34 to go in the first half, stopped the Eagles momentum, holding them scoreless for over five minutes. With 7:35 remaining, Gibbs and freshman guard Eric Gilchrese (Springfield, Ill.) combined for 12 points to lead the Wildcats on a 12-0 run. The Wildcats took the lead during the run on a Gilchrese 3-pointer with 2:37 remaining. New Hampshire, who lost to the Eagles by 40 points just last season, took a two point lead into the locker room at halftime.
The momentum got back on the home team’s side. Led by an 18-point second-half effort by Rakim Sanders, the Eagles took the lead for good, 44-41, with 12:14 remaining. Sanders totaled a team-high 22 points and six rebounds in the game for the Eagles. Biko Paris chipped in with 19 points in the game for Boston College. The Wildcats remained in the game, coming as close as three points, 56-52, with 3:32 remaining.
University of New Hampshire men’s basketball head coach Bill Herrion enters his third season as the leader off the program and with six newcomers added to the program this could be his most difficult challenge to date. UNH compiled a 10-20 record and a seventh place finish in the America East Conference before falling for a second straight season to eventual America East champions 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. Leading the way for UNH is a trio of captains. Senior Mike Christensen along with junior Tyrece Gibbs and sophomore Radar Onguetou look to lead a very young group of ‘Cats to the promise land. Christensen returns from a season-ending foot injury in which he suffered on January 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 the foot injury. He scored in double-digits 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. 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 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 six newcomers to the program. Tyrone Conley is a 6’2” wing player from Burlington, Vt. Conley scored over 1,000 points and was named to the All-State Team during his sophomore, junior and season seasons. He averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds per game. Salah Abdo is also a 6’2” guard with experience playing the point position. The Southborough, Mass. native averaged 13 points seven assists and five rebounds per game during his senior year at St. Mark’s School. As a three-year starter, Abdo has helped guide St. Mark’s to an impressive 76-7 record. Alvin Abreu adds depth at the guard position out of Boys to Men in Chicago.
In addition to the two guards, UNH adds forwards Rony Tchatchoua and Dane Diliegro. Tchatchoua is a 6’6” power forward from Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, while Diliegro is a 6-8-power forward/center from Worcester Academy. The Wildcats also welcome junior transfer Colbey Santos from James Madison University. He is ineligible until the 2008-09 season.
The Wildcats also made a coaching staff change as they welcome newly appointed assistant coach Ken Dempsey to the program. Dempsey spent the last five seasons as the Associate Men’s Basketball 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 when he 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...