MEN'S BASKETBALL GAME NOTES VS. BROWN
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DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will square off with Brown University on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at Pizzitola Sports Center. The two teams are meeting 40th time, with the Wildcats holding a slim 20-19 edge in the all-time series. The Bears, however, have won three straight games over the Wildcats, dating back to Nov. 14, 1998 when UNH recorded its last victory over Brown on opening day. The two teams have not met since the 2004-05 season.
   
The Wildcats played scrappy basketball but fell to 4-3 overall on the season after being defeated at Brown University on Dec. 8, 2004, 76-64. The Wildcats had three players score in double digits with sophomore forward Blagoj Janev scoring 14 points, and senior center Ben Sturgill and sophomore guard Jermaine Anderson each chipping in 12 points.
   
The Bears, who improved to 4-4, were led by Mark McDonald’s 25 points and 11 from P.J. Flaherty and Damon Huffman.
   
UNH held a 5-4 lead with 14:39 remaining in the first half but trailed the rest of the way as the Bears went on a 15-6 run to take a 19-11 advantage with 10:55 remaining before the intermission. The Wildcats stayed close and chipped the home team’s advantage down to just three points (24-21) on a jumper by Anderson. However, Brown went on a 21-11 run to finish the half up by 13 points (45-32).
   
The Wildcats continued to scratch and claw their way back into the game in the second stanza. A basket by freshman forward Mike Christensen  cut the home team’s lead to six points (68-62) with just 3:24 remaining. Next Anderson did it again, burying a jumper with 1:51 left on the clock to make it 68-64.
   
The Bears quickly responded, however, scoring three straight baskets, including two by McDonald, to open up a 10-point lead (74-64) with 34 seconds to go and ice the win.
   
UNH shot 42.6 percent from the floor (26-51) as compared to 47.3 by Brown (28-59). The Wildcats won the rebounding war (40-33), but turnovers were the key as UNH committed 17 to the Bears’ nine. Bears will square of for the 40th time, with the Wildcats holding a slim 20-19 edge in the all-time series. The Bears, however, have won three straight games over the Wildcats, dating back to Nov. 14, 1998 when UNH recorded its last victory over Brown on opening day. The two teams have not met since the 2004-05 season.
   
The Wildcats played scrappy basketball but fell to 4-3 overall on the season after being defeated at Brown University on Dec. 8, 2004, 76-64. The Wildcats had three players score in double digits with sophomore forward Blagoj Janev scoring 14 points, and senior center Ben Sturgill and sophomore guard Jermaine Anderson each chipping in 12 points.
   
The Bears, who improved to 4-4, were led by Mark McDonald’s 25 points and 11 from P.J. Flaherty and Damon Huffman.
   
UNH held a 5-4 lead with 14:39 remaining in the first half but trailed the rest of the way as the Bears went on a 15-6 run to take a 19-11 advantage with 10:55 remaining before the intermission. The Wildcats stayed close and chipped the home team’s advantage down to just three points (24-21) on a jumper by Anderson. However, Brown went on a 21-11 run to finish the half up by 13 points (45-32).
   
The Wildcats continued to scratch and claw their way back into the game in the second stanza. A basket by freshman forward Mike Christensen  cut the home team’s lead to six points (68-62) with just 3:24 remaining. Next Anderson did it again, burying a jumper with 1:51 left on the clock to make it 68-64.
   
The Bears quickly responded, however, scoring three straight baskets, including two by McDonald, to open up a 10-point lead (74-64) with 34 seconds to go and ice the win.
   
UNH shot 42.6 percent from the floor (26-51) as compared to 47.3 by Brown (28-59). The Wildcats won the rebounding war (40-33), but turnovers were the key as UNH committed 17 to the Bears’ nine.

LAST TIME OUT

Despite freshman forward Dane DiLiegro recording the first double-double of his career, and senior forward Mike Christensen scoring 17 points, the Wildcats dropped a hard-fought battle with Northeastern University, 62-57, Dec. 3 at Lundholm Gymnasium.
       
The loss, their third straight, dropped the Wildcats’ record to 3-4, while Northeastern improved its record to 3-4.
      
DiLiegro, the America East Player of the Game, submitted a career night in both points and rebounds, recording 12 apiece, while posting UNH’s first double-double of the season. Eight of those rebounds were on the offensive end of the floor.
      
After being down by as many as 18 points, the Wildcats found themselves trailing by just one, 56-55, with 4:30 to play in the game. A free throw, followed by a Matt Smith 3-pointer opened the Northeastern lead up to five points a minute later. Freshman Alvin Abreu sunk a pair of free throws to cut the UNH deficit down to three with 2:24 on the clock, but a missed Christensen 3-pointer, combined with a pair of free throws by Chris Alvarez, sealed the game for the Huskies.
      
Christensen, who scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, added five rebounds and three assists.
      
After Northeastern jumped out to an 11-point lead (18-7) just seven minutes into the game, the Wildcats used a 9-1 run to get back into the contest. The Huskies, however, came right back with a 16-2 run of their own to take a 35-18 lead with 3:16 remaining in the first half. The ‘Cats shaved three points off their deficit and went into the break trailing, 38-24.
      
The Husky lead, which reached as large as 16 in the second half, was 50-34 with 13:02 left in the game when the Wildcats ripped off a 14-2 run, highlighted by eight points from Christensen, to close the gap to 52-48 with 8:05 remaining.
      
Abreu chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds in the game, and buried a pair of 3-pointers for the sixth time this season.
      
One large area the ‘Cats can point to for reasons they lost the game is their 3-point shooting. Despite coming into the game shooting 41 percent (59-145) from behind the arc, the Wildcats shot just 17 percent (5-29) from long distance in the game.
       
Matt Janning, who netted 16 points, was the high scorer for Northeastern.
      
The Wildcats, who shot 36 percent (22-61) from the field, forced 13 Northeastern turnovers, while the Huskies caused 12 UNH giveaways.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR DOUBLE D

Freshman forward Dane DiLiegro recorded the first double-double of his career Dec. 3 versus Northeastern when he posted career-highs in points and rebounds, with 12 apiece. The double-double was the first this season for the Wildcats.

DIALING LONG DISTANCE

Freshman guard Alvin Abreu has hit a pair of 3-pointers in six of the first seven games of his career. The only game Abreu has not recorded exactly two treys in was the Nov. 14 tilt versus Suffolk when he was 0-for-5 from behind the arc.

DOUBLE DIGIT DUO

Senior forward Mike Christensen has scored in double digits in five consecutive games. The stretch matches the longest Wildcat streak this season. Freshman Alvin Abreu recorded at least 10 points in the first five games of his career.

'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.

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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