MEN'S BASKETBALL GAME NOTES VS. NORTHEASTERN
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DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will host Northeastern University on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. The Wildcats and Huskies will meet for the 118th time, with Northeastern leading the all-time series, 82-35. The Huskies have won eight straight games over the Wildcats, dating back to Feb. 5, 2002 when UNH recorded its last victory over NU. The most recent meeting between the two teams came last season.
   
Northeastern guards Adrian Martinez and Bobby Kelly combined for 29 points to lead the Huskies past the Wildcats, 51-41, Dec. 18, 2006 at Solomon Court.
       
Senior co-captain Blagoj Janev recorded 16 points and eight rebounds to lead all scorers en route to scoring in double digits for the sixth time on the season and was named America East Player of the Game for his efforts.
       
Both teams struggled offensively throughout the contest and the Wildcats mustered a season-low 41 points in the loss. The Wildcats brought the score to 29-24 on a trey from Janev with 14:13 remaining in the second half, but Martinez responded with two-straight 3-point buckets in the span of 21 seconds to give the Huskies a 35-24 lead. The Wildcats, who never held a lead during the game, got right back into the game when junior forward Mike Christensen nailed a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 39-36 with 7:32 left to play. After Northeastern’s Eugene Spates made four consecutive foul shots, along with a crucial steal by Martinez that set up an easy layup for Kelly, the Wildcats quickly found themselves down 51-38 with 2:28 to go. The Huskies’ stingy defense forced the ‘Cats to take tough shots all night and the offense scored just enough to capture its third win of the season.
       
The Wildcats shot 6-of-26 beyond the arc (23.1%) as they relied heavily on the 3-point ball to try and beat the Huskies. Freshman forward Dan McGeary posted nine points, hitting on  two of three shots from beyond the arc. Northeastern held a 43-33 advantage on the glass, including a career-high 19 rebounds from Bennet Davis.

LAST TIME OUT

Freshman guard Tyrone Conley scored a career-high 22 points, and senior forward Mike Christensen and junior guard Tyrece Gibbs both scored in double figures, but it was not enough to overcome the hot shooting of the University of Rhode Island and its five double-digit scorers, as the Wildcats fell, 87-76, Dec. 1 at the Ryan Center.
       
The loss evened UNH’s record at 3-3, while the Rams improve to 8-1.
       
Christensen posted 18 points and added five rebounds and four assists, while Gibbs netted 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
       
The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead, scoring the first five points of the game and then using a 10-4 run to craft the biggest lead they would have in the game at 18-7 with 15:02 remaining in the first half.
       
The Rams cooled off the hot shooting of the Wildcats, and caught some fire of their own, scoring 15 unanswered points as part of a 34-6 run that gave them a 41-24 lead with 4:29 left in the half.
       
The ‘Cats, who went into the locker room down 49-28, turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, as compared to only four giveaways in the second stanza.
       
The Rams, who outshot UNH 55 percent (30-55) to 43 percent (28-66) from the floor, grabbed their largest lead at 62-38 with 13:35 remaining in the game, but the Wildcats slowly began to chip away when they scored seven straight points.
       
Led by the hot shooting of Christensen, who was 6-for-6 from the floor in the second half, including 3-for-3 from behind the arc, the Wildcats climbed back into the game. The ‘Cats got as close as 83-73 with 2:29 left, but it was too little, too late, as the clock ran out on UNH, who outscored URI, 48-38 in the second half.
       
Junior guard Eric Gilchrese added a career-high seven assists in the loss.
       
The Rams were led by Joe Mbang, Will Daniels, Kahiem Seawright, Parfait Bitee and Jimmy Baron, who had 23, 14, 13, 13, and 12 points, respectively. Seawright recorded a double-double by pulling down 10 boards, while Daniels recorded eight rebounds and Bitee tallied seven assists.
       
UNH, which only got to the free throw line 10 times in the entire game, did manage to shoot 52 percent from 3-point land (14-27).

'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.
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