MEN'S BASKETBALL GAME NOTES VS. RHODE ISLAND
COMPLETE NOTES | LIVE STATS | LIVE AUDIO

DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will travel to Rhode Island Dec. 3 to take on the Rams at the Ryan Center at 1 p.m. The two teams are meeting for the 104th time, with URI holding an 86-17 advantage. The Rams have won five straight games over the Wildcats, dating back to Dec. 6, 1983 when UNH recorded its last victory over URI. Despite the numerous meetings, the teams have not faced off in three seasons.
   
Last time out against Rhode Island on Dec. 21, 2003, the Wildcats lost to the Rams in a game in which the lead changed only three times and the score was tied but once as the Wildcats lost 82-53 at the Ryan Center.
   
The Rams took control of the action right from the tip as they went on a 7-2 scoring run to open up the action. The two teams fought back and forth earlier on in the contest with the Wildcats cutting the lead to just two points midway through the first half of play. However, the Wildcats would not get that close again as the Rams followed up with 16-5 run and would never look back as they outscored the Wildcats 45-28 in the period.
   
UNH could not capitalize in the second half, as it was outscored by the Rams 37-25, shooting just 10-for-26 from the floor. The Rams took advantage of the Wildcats’ miscues in the second half, as they scored 16 points off turnovers and collected 10 points on fast breaks.
   
The Rams were led by guards Dawan Robinson and Brian Woodward who torched the Wildcats for 22 and 23 points, respectively. The visiting Wildcats were led by solid scoring efforts from forward Craig Walls and guard Shejdie Childs who both led the team with 10 points a piece. Walls also led the team in rebounds as he pulled down 10 boards and also added three assists in the contest.
   
For the game, the Wildcats lost the turnover battle by a sizable margin as they turned the ball over 29 times, leading to 40 points scored off turnovers for the Rams.  

LAST TIME OUT

Senior forward Mike Christensen scored a game-high 18 points, and junior guard Tyrece Gibbs added 16 points and seven rebounds, but the Wildcats were handed a 72-67 loss by Harvard University on Nov. 28 at Lavietes Pavilion.
       
The loss snaps the Wildcats’ three-game winning streak and puts their record at 3-2, while the Crimson improve to 3-4.
       
After a Gibbs layup with just over one minute left in the game cut Harvard’s lead to 70-67, a missed layup by Evan Harris gave the ‘Cats a chance to tie the game. UNH called timeout with 14 seconds remaining, and broke the huddle looking for a three-point play. When the Wildcats were denied the 3-point shot, freshman Alvin Abreu drove to the hoop for a two-point basket, hoping to draw the foul. Abreu missed the layup, however, and Christensen’s missed tip with four seconds left sealed the win for Harvard.
       
Abreu was the third Wildcat to score in double digits, chipping in with 10 points and six rebounds.
       
The Wildcats, who were outshot 47 percent (24-51) to 39 percent (22-57) from the field, led for most of the first half. After Gibbs led the game off with a 3-pointer, UNH held a lead, which never grew to more than four points, until a Harris bucket with 6:37 remaining in the half put the Crimson up, 23-22.
       
Harvard followed with an 8-0 run, culminating with a Harris free throw that put the Crimson on top 33-25 with 3:41 left in the first frame. That lead, which UNH would cut to four (37-33) heading into the break, was Harvard’s largest of the contest.
       
Gibbs netted 12 of his 16 points in the first half.
       
The back-and-forth battle continued in the second half, with Harvard leading most of the way, but never by more than the five points that were the difference in the game.
       
The Wildcats led as late as 4:09 left in the game when they went on top, 61-60, and tied the game for the 13th time at 65-all on a Christensen trey with 2:35 remaining, but a layup by Harris and a 3-pointer from Drew Housman gave the Crimson the lead for good.
       
UNH lost despite forcing 22 Harvard turnovers and outscoring the Crimson, 20-13, in points off turnovers. The Wildcats themselves turned the ball over 20 times. The ‘Cats were outscored in the paint (34-24) and in points off the bench (49-18).
       
Harris led Harvard with 18 points, while former Wildcat Dan McGeary tallied 11 points in his first matchup against his old team.

'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 six 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 on 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 two 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 assistant coach Ken Dempsey to the program. Dempsey spent the last five 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.
View: Mobile | Desktop