DURHAM, N.H. – Sophomore guard Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) scored 10 points and junior forward Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) nearly posted his second career double-double, but the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team fell to the University of Vermont, 83-39, Saturday afternoon in front of 1,256 fans – the largest crowd this season – at Lundholm Gymnasium.
The Wildcats, who lost at Vermont, 72-56, just six days prior, fall to 8-12 on the season, including 3-5 in America East play. The Catamounts improve to 16-6 overall and a conference-best 7-2.
Conley was 4-for-6 from the floor, including 2 of 3 from behind the arc to go along with two rebounds and a steal. Onguetou, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, scored nine points and ripped down a season-high 10 boards.
The first half was closely contested most of the way, with the Wildcats as close as three with 4:18 to go. A jumper by sophomore guard Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) that tied the score at two just 1:24 into the game was the closest UNH would come to taking the lead, however. After Vermont went up 6-2, senior guard Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) answered with a 3-ponter that cut the deficit to one with 17:44 remaining.
With the lead still at one for Vermont later in the half, Marqus Blakely gave his team some breathing room with back-to-back baskets that made the score 12-7 with just under 11 minutes on the clock. After the teams traded free throws, a Conley jumper sliced the Vermont lead to three. The lead was at four a minute later when Mike Trimboli knocked down a 3 to give the Catamounts their largest lead of the game at that point, 19-12 with 6:50 left in the half.
Four UNH free throws whittled its deficit to three, but a three-point play from Garvey Young pushed the lead to six before Trimboli capped the 5-0 run with a layup that made it 26-18 with 2:41 to play. After the teams traded field goals, a ferocious two-handed slam from freshman forward Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) seemed to put the ‘Cats in a good position on the scoreboard (28-22) and in the energy department as the crowd came to life and forced Vermont to call a timeout. An old fashioned three-point play by Joey Accaoui, however, opened up Vermont’s largest lead of the half (31-22) with 52 seconds left and that was the way the teams went into the break.
The Wildcats came out and looked like they might have a second-half comeback in them when Onguetou knocked down a jumper to cut the deficit to two. After a Colin McIntosh layup, Gibbs drained a jumper to make it 33-26 with 19:13 remaining. From there, however, Vermont caught fire and outscored UNH, 50-13, the rest of the way. A 12-2 Vermont run, with eight points from McIntosh, widened the lead to 45-28 with 14:14 left.
After a layup from sophomore center Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) stopped the run at 14:01, the Catamounts went back to work, using an 18-0 run, with six points apiece from McIntosh and Accaoui, to grab a 63-30 lead with 8:40 to play. A 3-pointer from Conley stopped the bleeding at 8:23, but was answered with a trey from Nick Vier 23 seconds later. Conley then hit a jumper to make it 66-35 at 7:12, but the Catamounts put together another 8-0 run to open their lead up to 74-35 with 4:27 to play.
Conley drained another trey to halt the momentum with 4:00 left, but a 9-1 by Vermont the rest of the way closed the scoring with its largest margin of the afternoon – 44.
Benson tallied six points, matched his career high with nine rebounds and added a block and a steal in a career-high 29 minutes, which led UNH. DiLiegro scored two points and pulled down eight boards.
After shooting 39 percent (10-26) in the first half, the Catamounts were 69 percent (20-29) from the field in the second half, including 5 of 5 from behind the arc, to equal 55 percent (30-55) for the game. Vermont was also 55 percent (6-11) from 3 in the game and 85 percent (17-20) at the line. The ‘Cats were 24 percent (12-50) from the field and 63 percent (12-19) at the stripe.
McIntosh poured in 16 points – all in the second half – to be named Vermont’s America East Player of the Game. Trimboli also netted 16 for the Catamounts, while Blakely and Accaoui, recorded 13 and 12, respectively.
The Wildcats return to action Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. when they look to sweep the season series from Hartford at Chase Arena.