, Md.
– Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) matched his career high with 22 points and freshman guard Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) added 18, but the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team dropped a 71-68 overtime heart-breaker to the conference’s top team, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, on Saturday night in front of a record crowd at RAC Arena.

Alvin Abreu

The Wildcats fall to 8-19, including 5-10 in America East, while the Retrievers go to 20-7 overall and 12-2 in the conference, and clinch the America East regular season title.

Gibbs also matched his career high with six 3-pointers, and added six rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block. Abreu was 7-of-14 from the floor, including 4-of-9 from behind the arc. Both players played all 45 minutes of the game.

In a back-and-forth contest that UNH led by as much as seven (54-47) with 5:46 left, the Wildcats found themselves down by three with 17 seconds left when freshman guard Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) drilled one of his four 3-pointers to tie the game at 57. A missed 3 by Ray Barbosa sent the contest to overtime.

The Retrievers were not about to let the 3,712 fans that came to see them clinch the regular season title and celebrate Senior Night, go home unhappy, and opened the overtime session with eight straight points. In what has been their calling card all season long, however, the ‘Cats would not lie down. Gibbs, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, hit a 3 to make it 65-60 with 45 ticks remaining, before a pair of free throws by Barbosa pushed the lead back to seven. After the teams traded free throws, Conley hit another trifecta to cut the lead to 69-65 with 13 seconds left.

After a UMBC miss, senior forward Mike Christensen (Reston, Va.) knocked down a 3 with three seconds left to slice the deficit to one. Two more Barbosa free throws made it 71-68 before Christensen’s heave from half court hit the front of the rim as time expired.

Just three days after establishing a new season high for 3-pointers in a game with 15 against Stony Brook, the Wildcats knocked down 16 against UMBC, just one shy of the school record.

Christensen tallied 11 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Conley scored 12 points and equaled his career high with the four treys.

Christensen recorded his 200th career assist with his first helper of the night. The captain, who netted his 1,000th point Feb. 14 at Binghamton, and grabbed his 500th rebound Feb. 20 against Stony Brook, becomes just the second player in school history to have at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists in a career. Dan Nolan amassed 1,258 points, 826 rebounds and 219 assists from 1980 to 1984. Christensen passed Eric Montanari (1,038) and is now in 17th place on UNH’s all-time scoring list with 1,043 points.

Christensen opened the game with a 3 and the ‘Cats hung with UMBC until a 17-3 run gave the Retrievers a 19-9 advantage. UNH came right back with a 9-1 run that got it back into the game. A Christensen layup with 4:24 left before the half gave UNH its first lead in nearly 14 minutes. The Wildcats went into the break with a 28-27 lead.

The Wildcats held UMBC scoreless for nearly six minutes early in the second half, and used a 10-2 run to open up a 45-38 lead with 11:19 remaining. UMBC then reeled off seven in a row to tie the game at 45 with 8:20 left. A pair of treys by Abreu and one by Conley then gave UNH its 54-47 lead with 5:46 left.

Freshman center Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) ripped down a game-high nine rebounds.

Barbosa, UMBC’s America East Player of the Game, led five Retriever scorers in double-digits with 21 points.

The Wildcats return to action Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. when they play host to the University of Vermont in their season finale at Lundholm Gymnasium on Senior Night.

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