-- The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will play host to the University of Vermont on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium, as UNH celebrates Senior Day. The Wildcats and Catamounts meet for the 125th time ever, with Vermont leading the all-time series, 78-46. Vermont has won the last eight meetings between the two teams, including three straight at Lundholm. The last UNH win was a 78-57 victory Feb. 21, 2004 at Lundholm. In the most recent meeting, freshman guard Alvin Abreu scored 18 points and senior forward Mike Christensen added 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, but the Wildcats’ comeback fell just short as the Catamounts grabbed a 64-61 win Jan. 12 at Patrick Gymnasium.
The Wildcats’ third consecutive loss dropped them to 4-11, including 1-3 in America East, while the Catamounts went to 7-9 overall and 2-2 in the conference.
After being down by as many as 21 points earlier in the game, the Wildcats found themselves down 48-44 with just over seven minutes remaining in the contest. The Catamounts pushed their lead back to eight with 6:30 left, but tough baskets underneath by freshman Dane DiLiegro and Christensen made the deficit four again with 5:38 to go. A Mike Trimboli 3-pointer and Marqus Blakely layup put Vermont on top 57-48 with 4:28 remaining, and looked to turn the lights out on UNH.
The Wildcats clawed back again, however, when a basket and a 3 by Abreu, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, brought the ‘Cats back to within four with just under three minutes to play. Blakely increased Vermont’s lead to six, but a Christensen trey with 1:23 left made the score 59-56. A pair of free throws from junior guard Tyrece Gibbs brought UNH within one with 47 seconds left.
After a Trimboli jumper with 19 seconds left put the Catamount lead at three, Gibbs was again fouled going to the hoop, but made just one of two from the line. UNH quickly fouled and Trimboli hit both from the line to put Vermont up 63-59 with just 12 ticks left. Christensen made a quick layup with six seconds left and the Wildcats again sent Trimboli to the line where he would only make one of two. With five seconds remaining, UNH inbounded the ball to Abreu, who drove the ball up the court and had a decent look at a 3 as his momentum carried him to the left. The ball clanked off the rim as time expired, ending one of the most exciting games of the season.
All 18 of Abreu’s points came in the second half.
Vermont started the game on a 13-1 run and was up 21-7 when UNH recorded its first field goal – a Christensen layup – with 4:40 left in the first half. The Wildcats went into the locker room trailing 34-15, but stormed back in the second half, using a pair of 12-2 runs to outscore Vermont, 46-30.
DiLiegro chipped in with six points and nine rebounds, while Gibbs tallied six points, six boards and two assists. Freshman guard Tyrone Conley added eight points, two rebounds and three assists in his first game back in his hometown.
Trimboli scored 19 points, while Vermont’s America East Player of the Game, Evan Fjeld, netted 14.
After shooting just 10 percent (2-25) from the field in the first half, UNH rebounded to shoot 33 percent (18-55) for the game. The Catamounts shot 41 percent (25-61) from the floor.


Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs matched his career high with 22 points and freshman guard Alvin Abreu 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 Feb. 23 in front of a record crowd at RAC Arena.
The Wildcats fell to 8-19, including 5-10 in America East, while the Retrievers went to 20-7 overall and 12-2 in the conference, and clinched 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 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 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, including the 200th of his career, while Conley scored 12 points and equaled his career high with the four treys. 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 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.


Senior Mike Christensen currently has recorded 1,043 points, 507 rebounds and 204 assists in his career. Christensen is 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 amassed 1,258 points, 826 rebounds and 219 assists from 1980 to 1984.


The America East conference announced Feb. 25 that freshman guard Alvin Abreu was named America East Men’s Basketball Co-Rookie of the Week for the week ending Feb. 24. This marks the third time Abreu has garnered the award this season.
Abreu, who averaged 18.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists this week, started his week by nearly posting a triple-double in a 74-67 win against Stony Brook University on Feb. 23. Abreu, who shared the honor with Boston University’s John Holland, netted 18 points, tied his career high with eight rebounds and set a career high with nine assists, before tallying 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting and adding two rebounds and an assist in 45 minutes of a 71-68 overtime loss to UMBC on Feb. 23.
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, and Jan. 7 when he averaged 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in games against the University at Albany and UMBC.


The Wildcats used the 3 to try and slay UMBC on Feb. 23. The ‘Cats were 16-of-41 (39 percent) from behind the arc, coming just one shy of the school record for 3-pointers made in a game, which was set Feb. 14, 2002 against Maine. The 41 attempts were a school record, breaking the 34 treys the ‘Cats hoisted up Feb. 11, 2006 at Hartford. Individually, junior guard Tyrece Gibbs was 6-of-14 from long range, tying the UNH record for attempts in a game.


The Wildcats are ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in a pair of categories. Their 9.4 3-pointers per game is good for 10th in the nation, while their 3-point field goal percentage of 37.1 is good for 84th in the country.
Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs ranks 54th with 2.8 treys per game and 56th with a 3-point field goal percentage of 40.2.


Senior forward Mike Christensen handed out his 200th career assist with his first helper at UMBC on Feb. 23. The captain recorded his 500th career rebound against Stony Brook on Feb. 20, and joined the 1,000-point club against Binghamton on Feb. 14.


Heading into tonight’s contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 486 consecutive games, a streak that spans 17 years. The last time the ‘Cats have not tallied a trey was in a 59-47 loss to Dartmouth College on Jan. 8, 1991 when they were 0-for-3 from behind the arc.


Senior forward Mike Christensen posted his second double-double of the season Feb. 20 against Stony Brook when he poured in 18 points and tallied 12 rebounds. The captain’s first double-double of the season came Jan. 12 against Vermont when he netted 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.


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


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 15 of his last 21 games, and 20 of 27 overall.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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