MEN'S BASKETBALL GAME NOTES VS. MAINE
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DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will travel to Orono to take on the University of Maine at Alfond Arena on Saturday, Jan. 19 at noon. The Wildcats have never played an opponent more times than they have wrestled with the Black Bears. The two teams meet for the 168th time, with Maine leading the all-time series, 107-60, including the most recent meeting Feb. 3, 2007 that the Black Bears won, 65-56 at Lundholm Gymnasium.
   
UNH senior guard Jermaine Anderson was named America East Player of the Game as he compiled 19 points and three assists in the loss.
   
The Wildcats dropped their fourth straight contest as their record dipped to 8-16 and 4-7 in conference play. The Black Bears, who won six of their last seven, improved to 11-12, 6-5 in America East.
   
Kevin Reed led Maine with 15 points and eight rebounds and was named America East Player of the Game for his efforts as the Black Bears led throughout most of the contest. Reed knocked down a 12-foot jumper with 14:19 left in the first half to put Maine up for good.
   
The Wildcats trailed 30-22 at halftime and cut the score to two (44-42) on an Anderson free throw with 12 minutes remaining.
   
The Black Bears regained control of the contest and went on an 18-4 run, led by Junior Bernal’s and Jon Sheets’ combined 18 points as the Black Bears shot 44 percent for the contest.
   
UNH sophomore guard Tyrece Gibbs was the only other Wildcat in double-figures with 14 points and five rebounds. Freshman forward Radar Onguetou notched eight points and eight rebounds in the loss.

LAST TIME OUT

Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs  scored 21 points and tallied seven rebounds, but the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team fell in overtime, 65-60, to intrastate rival Dartmouth College on Tuesday night in its non-conference finale at Lundholm Gymnasium.
   
The Wildcats’ record dropped to 4-12 overall, while the Big Green improved to 7-8.
      
Trailing 59-57 with 1:43 remaining in overtime, Dartmouth received a jumper from Marlon Sanders that tied the game, took away UNH’s lead for good, and sparked an 8-1 run. After Jonathan Ball converted a layup to put Dartmouth up 61-59 with 55 seconds left, Gibbs made 1-of-2 from the line to bring UNH within one. Sandwiched around freshman guard Alvin Abreu’s missed layup with 10 seconds left, the Big Green made their final four free throws to ice the game.
   
Abreu finished with 13 points to extend his double-digit scoring streak to six games, and 14-of-16 overall.
      
The Wildcats led 49-39 with 4:16 left in regulation before Dartmouth crafted a 15-5 run to tie the game. Alex Barnett’s jumper with two seconds remaining sent the game to overtime.
      
With 12:18 left in the first half, Dartmouth held what would be its largest lead of the game at 16-6 before an 18-4 run by UNH, gave the ‘Cats a 24-20 lead with 4:14 remaining in the opening frame. The Wildcats went into the break on top 28-22. Gibbs netted 15 of his points in the first half.
      
UNH widened its advantage to 10 just three minutes into the second half and kept it there until Dartmouth’s run to end the half. The Wildcats, who are ranked 32nd in the nation in free throw percentage, missed four from the line down the stretch to aid the Big Green rally. The ‘Cats finished an uncharacteristic 14-of-25 (56 percent) from the stripe.
      
Senior forward Mike Christensen and freshman center Dane DiLiegro each grabbed 11 rebounds, and added nine and eight points, respectively.
      
Barnett led three Dartmouth players in double digits with 13 points and 12 boards.
      
Dartmouth outshot the Wildcats 38 percent (24-63) to 31 percent (19-61) for the game, but turned the ball over two more times (18) than the ‘Cats (16).
   
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.

GOING STREAKING

Freshman guard Alvin Abreu currently owns a six-game double-digit scoring streak, which ties him for the longest streak on the team this season. Mike Christensen had a six-game streak from Nov. 17 to Dec. 6. Abreu, who leads all America East Rookies in scoring, has scored in double digits in nine of his last 10 games, and 14 of 16 overall.

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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