KINGSTON, R.I. – Guards Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) and Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) netted 13 and 12 points, respectively, but it was not enough as the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team fell to the University of Rhode Island, 88-56, Tuesday night at the Ryan Center.
The Wildcats, who had won two straight coming into the game, fall to 3-4 on the season, while the Rams improve to 7-3.
Rhode Island scored the first six points of the game, but UNH grabbed the next seven to take a one-point lead nearly five minutes in. URI then scored four straight before Gibbs – the America East Player of the Game – drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game at 10 with 12:24 remaining in the half.
A 12-0 run by the Rams gave them a 22-10 lead with 8:51 to play. The teams then traded baskets before sophomore guard Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.), who netted a career-high 22 points versus Rhode Island last season, knocked down a 3 to cut URI’s lead to 24-15 with 6:29 left in the opening frame. A 9-1 URI run brought the score to 33-16 with 2:40 on the clock. The Wildcats outscored URI 7-4, capped by a Gibbs jumper as time expired, to close out the first-half. The Rams led 37-23 at the break.
URI came out and scored the first nine points of the second half before Gibbs stopped the bleeding with his last of three treys on the night, bringing the score to 46-26 4:35 in. Gibbs, who added two rebounds, three assists and a steal, is now 13 points shy of 1,000 for his career.
Another 9-2 run by the Rams later in the half stretched their lead to 62-34 midway through the second stanza. The Wildcats put together a 9-4 run of their own that cut the deficit down to 24 (71-47), but URI came back with four straight to regain its 28-point lead. UNH scored the next four to make it 75-51 with 3:17 left, but an 8-2 URI run made it 83-53 nearly two minutes later. The Rams took their largest lead of the night (88-56) on a three-point play with 22 seconds remaining that capped the scoring.
Freshman guard Russell Graham (Norristown, Pa.), who started his third straight game at the point, finished with career highs in points (9), assists (5), steals (2) and minutes (29). Freshman forward Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.), who continues to see more minutes, put up career bests in three categories as he recorded six points and five rebounds in 25 minutes. Conley chipped in with six points, three rebounds, an assist and a steal. Junior forward Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) posted four points, five rebounds, an assist and a steal, while sophomore center Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) tallied four points and four boards.
The Rams, who outshot the Wildcats 47 percent (28-60) to 35 percent (20-57), had five players – Keith Cothran (14), Jimmy Baron (11), Delroy James (11), Kahiem Seawright (10) and Lamonte Ulmer (10) – who scored in double digits.
The Wildcats will try and get back to .500 when they play their second of three straight road games Saturday, Dec. 13 at 4 p.m. against Long Island University.