DURHAM, N.H. – Senior guard Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) scored 17 points but it was not enough to propel the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team to victory, as it fell, 60-47, to Binghamton University on Thursday night at Lundholm Gymnasium.
With the loss, the Wildcats drop to 7-10 on the season and 2-3 in America East, while the Bearcats improve to 12-7 and sit atop the conference at 5-2.
Gibbs filled the rest of his stat line with three rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal in 37 minutes to garner UNH’s America East Player of the Game award.
Leading 33-28 coming out of the locker room, Binghamton scored the first five points of the second half to open its advantage up to 10. Gibbs answered with his second 3-pointer of the night 2:04 in, but after the teams traded baskets, a 7-2 run – sparked and capped by Malik Alvin buckets – gave the Bearcats a 47-35 lead with 11:38 remaining.
After a tough basket inside by sophomore center Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.), Gibbs stole the ball at midcourt, beat two Binghamton defenders and was fouled hard to the ground as he made an acrobatic layup that fueled a short 6-2 run by UNH and cut its deficit to eight with 9:21 to play. Binghamton answered with seven straight points, however, six of which were from Alvin, including a jumper at 7:23 that opened a 15-point lead (56-41) – its largest of the night.
The Wildcats came back with another 6-2 run that ended with a layup by sophomore guard Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.), but Alvin put the finishing touches on the win as he closed the scoring with a layup with 1:30 left on the clock. Conley finished with 10 points and three rebounds, while DiLiegro added two points, six rebounds, an assist and a steal. Alvin, Binghamton’s America East Player of the Game, poured in 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second frame.
After a Gibbs pass setup a layup by junior guard Colbey Santos (Onset, Mass.) that tied the game at five in the early going, Binghamton used a 10-2 run to open its largest lead of the half at 15-7 with 13:41 left. Gibbs stopped the bleeding with his first trey of the game, which sparked an 8-2 run that brought the Wildcats within two.
After an Alvin 3-pointer gave Binghamton a 23-18 lead with 9:11 remaining in the opening stanza, a Conley trifecta and a pair of free throws by junior forward Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) tied the game with 7:56 left. After the teams swapped a pair of free throws, two more at the charity stripe by sophomore guard Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) gave UNH its final lead of the night at 27-25 with 5:01 to go.
The Bearcats ripped off eight straight points before another Abreu free throw closed the first-half scoring with Binghamton on top 33-28. Onguetou chipped in with five points and eight rebounds, while sophomore forward Rony Tchatchoua (Douala, Cameroon) notched eight points and five rebounds.
Gibbs finished the night with 1,131 points and moved past Peter Laskaris (1,115) and Austin Ganly (1,127) for 14th place on UNH’s all-time scoring list.
The Wildcats were outshot 46 percent (20-44) to 28 percent (14-51), but won the battle on the glass, 38-30, including 17-6 on the offensive end. UNH also shot its second highest percentage of the season from the line at 71 percent (15-21).
The Wildcats return to action Sunday, Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. when they travel to take on the University of Vermont at Patrick Gymnasium.