MEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYS HOST TO BOSTON UNIVERSITY ON FEB. 7

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DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will look for some revenge when it battles conference rival Boston University on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium. The game will be broadcast live on the UNH Sports Network, with the link available at www.UNHWildcats.com. The Wildcats and Terriers meet for the 120th time ever in the history of the two programs, with BU leading the all-time series, 84-35. The Terriers have controlled the series lately, winning 13 of the past 15 meetings. Despite BU having won three straight in the all-time series, UNH has grabbed a pair of wins in the past six games. At home, the Wildcats have won two of the past three matchups. Playing the role of visitor, however, the Wildcats have dropped 15 straight to the Terriers, grabbing their last win in Boston on Feb. 10, 1994 in a 64-56 triumph. In the most recent meeting Jan. 11, the Wildcats fell 68-37 to the Terriers at Case Gymnasium.

Sophomore guards Tyrone Conley and Alvin Abreu scored nine and eight points, respectively, but the Wildcats fell to Boston University, 68-37, Jan. 11 at Case Gymnasium.

The loss stopped the Wildcats’ two-game string of wins and dropped their record to 5-8 on the season, including 1-1 in the America East. The Terriers halted their five-game losing skid to improve to 6-8 overall and 1-1 in the conference.

Conley, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, and Abreu each added four rebounds and a steal.

Boston University led from the start, opening the game on an 18-4 run that was capped by a Matt Wolff jumper with 12:19 remaining in the first half. BU immediately followed with a 12-4 run that was finished off with a John Holland dunk with just under eight minutes left. Conley ended the run with a 3-pointer that cut the BU lead to 30-11 with 6:18 on the clock, but the Terriers scored seven of the next nine points and 10 of the final 16 of the half to take a 40-17 advantage into the break. Holland, BU’s America East Player of the Game, finished the opening stanza with 16 points.

The two teams opened the second half trading points for the first two-plus minutes until BU put together a 15-4 run – with six points from Holland, five from Corey Lowe and four from Scott Brittain – that increased its lead to the largest of the game at 63-27 with 7:52 remaining.

A 3-pointer and a layup from junior guard Colbey Santos sparked a 7-0 Wildcat run that cut their deficit to 63-34 with 5:41 to play. The Terriers scored five straight points before UNH closed the scoring with the final three points of the contest. Santos finished with six points, two rebounds, an assist and a steal.

Freshman Brian Benson played a solid game, especially down the stretch, tallying five points, eight rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal. Sophomore center Dane DiLiegro chipped in with five points and four boards.

The Terriers outshot the Wildcats, 52 percent (24-46) to 24 percent (14-58).

Holland finished the game with 25 points, eight rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal. Brittain added 15, while Lowe and Jake O’Brien each netted 10.

Senior guard Tyrece Gibbs played in his 100th game as a Wildcat.

LAST TIME OUT

Sophomore guard Alvin Abreu scored 20 points and junior forward Radar Onguetou netted a career-high 16 to lift the Wildcats past the University of Hartford, 62-55, Feb. 4 at Chase Arena.

The Wildcats improved to 9-12 on the season, including 4-5 in America East play, and equaled their win total from all of last season. The Hawks fell to 6-18 overall and 2-8 in the conference. UNH, which beat Hartford, 55-47, at Lundholm Gymnasium on Jan. 7, swept the season series from the Hawks for the first time since the 2001-02 season. The ‘Cats also won at Chase Arena for the first time in their last seven tries, with their previous win coming in an 80-78 triumph Jan. 12, 2002.

Abreu, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, scored his points on 5 of 10 shooting, including 2 of 5 from behind the arc. Abreu was also 8 of 10 from the line to go along with three rebounds and two assists in 37 minutes. Onguetou, whose previous career high of 15 points came at Hartford on Feb. 8, 2007, was 4-for-7 from the floor and 8-for-10 at the stripe. Onguetou added nine boards, three assists and a block.

UNH led 50-49 with 4:21 remaining when a 6-0 run, sparked by a Tyrone Conley jumper, opened up a 56-49 advantage with 1:20 to go. The Wildcats made six of eight free throws the rest of the way to widen their lead to nine with 24 seconds left before a Michael Turner layup closed the scoring and allowed Abreu to dribble out the final 10 seconds. Conley added six points, five boards and an assist.

After a seesaw beginning to the game, Hartford took its largest lead of the contest (19-15) with 7:07 to play in the first half on a Morgan Sabia three-point play. UNH answered, however, crafting a 15-2 run to grab a 30-21 lead – its largest of the game – with 1:33 remaining. Senior guard Tyrece Gibbs started the run with a 3-pointer that was followed by a pair of treys from junior guard Colbey Santos. A pair of Abreu free throws and back-to-back jumpers by Onguetou capped the run.

Turner and Onguetou swapped free throws before Jaret von Rosenberg knocked down a 3 from 30 feet to beat the buzzer and send Hartford into the locker room trailing 32-26. UNH is now a perfect 6-0 when leading at the break. Gibbs tallied five points, three rebounds, three assists and a block, while Santos chipped in with eight points, two rebounds, an assist and a block.

Following an Abreu jumper that pushed the UNH lead to eight just 39 seconds into the second half, Hartford went on 8-0 run – with all eight points coming from Turner – to tie the game at 34 with 16:55 remaining. A Conley jumper stopped the bleeding and put UNH back on top 1:50 later, but Sabia answered with a trey that gave Hartford its first lead (37-36) since 6:21 of the first half. A pair of Onguetou free throws gave UNH the lead until a David Bookman layup put Hartford back in front. Onguetou came threw once again, however, scoring a bucket with 12:51 left that sparked a 7-1 run and gave the Wildcats a 40-39 lead – one they would hold for good.

A layup by Abreu gave UNH a 47-42 lead with 7:22 on the clock, but a 5-1 Hartford run – capped by a 3 from Turner – sliced its deficit to one at 48-47 with 5:21 left. Abreu made two at the line to push the lead back to three, but Turner was relentless, hitting another jumper to keep his team within one. The field goal was Hartford’s last for the next 4:10 until Turner’s layup that closed the scoring.

In his first start since returning to the team Jan. 17, senior guard Eric Gilchrese tallied six points, two rebounds and two assists.

Gibbs finished with 1,169 career points, tying Matt Acres for 12th on UNH’s all-time scoring list. The captain’s block was the 50th of his career, moving him past Blagoj Janev and into fifth place on the program’s all-time blocks list.

UNH shot 43 percent (18-42) from the field and a season-high 77 percent (20-26) from the line. The Wildcats, who are now 8-2 when holding their opponents to 60 points or less, held Hartford to 37 percent (18-49) from the floor and won the battle on the boards, 31-30.

Turner, Hartford’s America East Player of the Game, poured in a game-high 22 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Sabia recorded 10 points and five boards.

STAY FOR AWHILE

UNH Athletic Director Marty Scarano announced Feb. 5 that  head coach Bill Herrion has been signed to a new five-year contract.

“We have great confidence in Bill Herrion and what he is accomplishing at UNH,” Scarano said. “Bill, his staff and the student-athletes are building a strong foundation for future success. We knew that this building process was a long-term proposition, and I see daily tangible evidence that our program is advancing. We are fortunate to have Bill leading this program. He knows what it takes and is dogged in his pursuit to make our program competitive.”

Herrion added, “I just want to thank UNH, particularly President Huddleston and Marty Scarano, for their support of our men’s basketball program. We have worked extremely hard to build this program, and with this commitment we will continue to pursue our goal of winning the America East championship.”

RANDOM "UNH RECORD WHEN..." TIDBITS

The Wildcats are 8-2 when holding their opponents to 60 points or less and are 5-1 when forcing their opponents to shoot under 40 percent from the floor. The tenacious defense pays off as the Wildcats are 6-0 when leading at halftime. The ‘Cats are tough to beat when their barrage of 3-point shooters are on, owning a 5-1 record when shooting over 40 percent from deep. The squad also must like playing in the middle of the week as they are 5-1 on Wednesdays.

ON THE RADAR

Radar Onguetou is picking up his play as of late. The co-captain played his best game of the season at Hartford on Feb. 4, scoring a career-high 16 points to go along with nine boards and three assists. Onguetou’s previous career high came in the same building nearly two years to the day when he netted 15 at Hartford on Feb. 8, 2007. Onguetou also narrowly missed his second career double-double Jan. 31 against Vermont. Onguetou scored nine points and pulled down a season-high 10 boards against the Catamounts, en route to being named America East Player of the Game. It is the first Player of the Game award for Onguetou since he garnered the honor nearly two years ago in an America East quarterfinal game against Albany on March 3, 2007.

NATIONALLY RANKED

UNH is ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in a pair of categories. The Wildcats are 58th in 3-point field goals per game (7.5) and 92nd in scoring defense (64.1 papg).

TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS

Heading into tonight’s contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 514 consecutive games, a streak that spans 17 years. The last time the ‘Cats did not tally a trey was in a 59-47 loss to Dartmouth College on Jan. 8, 1991, when they were 0-for-3 from behind the arc. The NCAA record is currently 690 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.

HOLDING DOWN THE FORT

UNH has had a knack for holding down the opposing team’s leading scorer this season. In 18 games when the opposition has had its leading scorer play in the game, the Wildcats have held him under his season average 12 times, including nine of the last 11.

POINTS CHASE

Tyrece Gibbs scored five points versus Hartford on Feb. 4 to bring his career total to 1,169 points and move into a 12th-place tie with Matt Acres on UNH’s all-time scoring list. Next up for Gibbs: Jim Rich, who sits in 11th with 1,180 points. Greg Steele is 10th at 1,187.

CENTURY MARK

Tyrece Gibbs played in his 100th game as a Wildcat on Jan. 11 versus Boston University. The senior needs to play in six more games to become the all-time leader in program history.

TOTAL PACKAGE

Tyrece Gibbs has done it all during his time in a UNH jersey, filling the stat line night in and night out. The effort paid off as Gibbs is just the second Wildcat in history to amass at least 1,000 points, 400 rebounds, 200 assists, 80 steals and 45 blocks. With 1,169 points, 461 rebounds, 223 assists, 86 steals and 50 blocks, Gibbs joins Eric Montanari (92-95), who totaled 1,038 points, 418 rebounds, 217 assists, 93 steals and 47 blocks, on the exclusive list.

TY-RRIFIC

Tyrece Gibbs is penciling his name in all over UNH’s record books. Last season, Gibbs drained 83 3-pointers, which is the second most in a single UNH season and just four off the record. Gibbs also registered the third most 3-point attempts (204) in a season and played the third most minutes (1,038) in a season. The guard is currently third all-time on UNH’s 3-pointers made list (196), third in 3-point attempts (502), fifth in blocks (50), sixth in minutes played (3,366), seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (.390), ninth in field goals attempted (986) and 10th in games played (108). Gibbs, who became the 26th Wildcat to score 1,000 points in a career Dec. 13 at Long Island, is also close to moving into the top 10 in field goals made and assists.

DANE TRAIN: NOW BOARDING...AND SCORING

Dane DiLiegro, who is currently second in the conference in offensive rebounds per game (3.0) and fifth in rebounding overall (7.2 rpg), is averaging 5.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, better than his numbers of 4.6 points and 6.0 boards per contest at this point last season. After posting one double-digit scoring game and six double-digit rebounding games in 29 contests last year, the center has notched four double-digit scoring games and four double-digit rebounding games in just 21 tilts this season.

WELCOME BACK

After being away from the team Dec. 6-Jan. 17, Eric Gilchrese played in his first game Jan. 28 at Stony Brook and looked like he had not missed a beat. Gilchrese led the ‘Cats to a 71-60 come-from-behind win with 22 points on 6 of 10 shooting, including 5 of 7 from behind the arc.

CAN YOU SPARE A BASKET?

When the Wildcats overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat Stony Brook, 71-60, Jan. 28, it was again there defense that came up big. The ‘Cats held the Seawolves to just four field goals and 18 percent shooting (4-22) in the second half, including just one basket and 11 percent shooting (1-9) in the final 10 minutes of the game.

OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION

Trailing 34-25 against Stony Brook at the half Jan. 28, the Wildcats exploded out of the locker room, tying the game with a 13-4 run that was part of a larger 27-8 run, which led the ‘Cats to a 71-60 win. The Wildcats scored more points in the first 8:29 of the second half (26) than they did in the entire first half (25).

DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR CAPTAIN GIBBS

Tyrece Gibbs recorded his second career double-double when he netted 10 points and matched his career high with 10 rebounds at Vermont on Jan. 25. Gibbs’ previous double-double came in an overtime contest against Harvard on Nov. 29, 2006 at Lundholm Gymnasium when he tallied the same 10 and 10.

D.J. REJECTED BY WILDCAT D

Binghamton’s D.J. Rivera, who came into the Jan. 22 matchup against UNH ranked 23rd in the country in scoring at 20.6 points per game, only managed to score six points versus the Wildcats. It was the first time in 19 games that Rivera had been held to single digits, with 11 being his previous season low in points.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR DOUBLE D

Dane DiLiegro notched his third career double-double and second of the season at Maine on Jan. 19 when he matched his career high with 12 points and ripped down 12 boards. One game earlier, the sophomore tore down 13 rebounds at Dartmouth on Jan. 17. DiLiegro recorded 10 points and 11 rebounds against Hofstra on Dec. 27 for his first double-double of the season.

TOURNEY BOUND?

In his Jan. 18 “Bracketology” column on ESPN.com where he predicts the NCAA tournament bracket and updates it weeky, Joe Lunardi picked the Wildcats to win the America East and play the MEAC’s Florida A&M in the opening-round game. If the Wildcats were to win that game, Lunardi has them advancing to play No. 1 Pitt, where head coach Bill Herrion’s brother, Tom, is the associate head coach.

NON-CONFERENCE SLATE SUCCESS

After beating Dartmouth, 68-59, Jan. 17 to close out their non-conference slate at 5-7, the Wildcats finish with their best non-conference record since the 2003-04 season when they had an identical 5-7 record.

HOME COOKIN'

After their 65-47 win against UMBC at Lundholm Gymnasium on Jan. 14, the Wildcats improved to 5-2 at home this season, marking the best home start for UNH since it began the 1997-98 season 6-1 in  Durham.

CONFERENCE CONQUEST

With their 65-47 victory against UMBC on Jan. 14, the Wildcats are now 2-1 in America East play for the first time since the 1994-95 season when they recorded two wins against Hofstra before losing to Delaware. The last time the ‘Cats started a conference slate 3-1 was during the 1991-92 campaign.

WILDCATS KEEP ON DEFENDING

When UNH defeated UMBC, 65-47, Jan. 14, it was once again the defense that came up big down the stretch for the Wildcats. After a Darryl Proctor layup with 9:11 left in the second half, the ‘Cats held UMBC scoreless during a 6-0 run that spanned the next 5:54. UNH, which has the second best scoring defense in the conference and 93rd best in the country at 62.6 papg, is 5-1 when holding its opponents to 60 points or less and 1-7 when allowing 61 or more.

KNOCKING OUT THE CHAMP

After beating UMBC, 65-47, Jan. 14, the Wildcats, who last season knocked off defending champion Albany, 75-66, have now recorded a victory over the reigning conference champions in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1992-93 and 1993-94 campaigns when they notched wins over Delaware.

BENSON HELPS PUT BOUNCE IN WILDCATS' STEP

Brian Benson provided a surge of energy off the bench during UNH’s 11-2 to start the second half in its 65-47 win versus UMBC on Jan. 14. Benson threw down a monstrous two-handed slam off a feed from sophomore forward Rony Tchatchoua at 18:22, and just moments later came up with a huge rejection of Darryl Proctor that kept the team feeding off the noisy Lundholm crowd’s liveliness.

ESPN'S KATZ WEIGHS IN ON 'CATS

In his blog on ESPN.com, Andy Katz had this to say about the Wildcats and their fourth-year leader: “Bill Herrion may have finally hit a consistent stride in his rebuilding job at New Hampshire. Like Harvard, UNH took out Santa Clara at home by four and then opened up America East play by beating Hartford at home. A trip to Boston University is next for the Wildcats. A win there for UNH might be a significant turning point for Herrion.“

DILIEGRO LEADS WINDEXING WILDCATS

Dane DiLiegro tore down a career-high 17 rebounds, including 10 in the first half, in UNH’s 55-47 win against Hartford on Jan. 7. DiLiegro, who tallied more offensive rebounds (8) than Hartford’s entire team (5), led the Wildcats to a 44-29 rebound advantage. The 17 boards are also a season-high in America East this season, beating out Stony Brook’s Tommy Brenton, who had 15 against Maryland Eastern Shore on Nov. 14. The rebound total is the most anyone in the conference has recorded since Vermont’s Marqus Blakely had 29 at UNC-Wilmington on Feb. 23, 2008, and most in a conference game since Blakely had 20 against Hartford on Feb. 20, 2008.

WILDCAT DEFENSE CONTINUING TO IMPROVE

UNH’s defense continues to get better each game and that did not change against Hartford on Jan. 7. Trailing 17-15 with 5:45 to play in the first half, the Wildcats were sparked by a Tyrece Gibbs 3-pointer from the left wing that put them back out in front, 18-17, and sent them on an 8-2 run that would give the ‘Cats a 23-19 lead at the half. UNH carried over its momentum from the first half as it opened the second frame with an 8-0 run that made the score 31-19 at 15:14. Hartford did not record its first point of the second half until a Michael Turner free throw at 13:42 and had its first bucket of the second stanza come on a Jaret von Rosenberg layup at 11:57. Going back into the first half, the Wildcats held the Hawks scoreless for 9:11, and without a field goal for 10:53.

HOME, SWEET HOME AGAINST HARTFORD

After its 55-47 win against Hartford at Lundholm Gym on Jan. 7, the Wildcats have now won five straight at home against the Hawks, dating back to the 2004-05 season.

OPENING UP RIGHT

UNH’s 55-47 win versus Hartford in its conference opener Jan. 7, paired with its 75-66 win at home against Albany in last season’s conference opener, gives the Wildcats victories in league openers in back-to-back years for the first time since the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.

ABREU NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Alvin Abreu had a career day on the offensive end of the floor Jan. 4 against Santa Clara. Abreu propelled the Wildcats to a 58-54 victory on their home court with a career-high 28 points on 8 of 14 shooting. The sophomore guard also knocked down a career-best seven 3-pointers and was perfect from deep on the day, setting a school record for most treys in a game without a miss. Abreu also netted his 500th career point and finished the day with 513. For his efforts, Abreu was named America East Co-Player of the Week the following day. The award is the first for Abreu, who was a three-time America East Rookie of the Week last season, as well as an All-Rookie Team member.

WEST COAST PARTY

UNH’s win against Santa Clara – arguably its biggest non-conference victory in nearly 15 years – was the program’s first ever against a West Coast Conference team. The Wildcats had previously lost to St. Mary’s (Dec. 22, 1988) and Gonzaga (Dec. 27, 1993).

CATS' D BUCKS BRONCOS' BRYANT

In their 58-54 win against Santa Clara on Jan. 4, the Wildcats shut down Bronco big man John Bryant. Bryant, who has received numerous looks from NBA scouts this season, came into the game averaging 18.7 points and 12.6 rebounds per contest, while owning 10 double-doubles, including a pair of 20-20 games. The Wildcats’ post defense, led by center Dane DiLiegro, held the senior to just seven points – his lowest total of the year – and eight rebounds.

GRAND THREE-PEAT

Tyrece Gibbs became the 26th Wildcat in program history to score 1,000 points in a career when he knocked down a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left in the game against Long Island on Dec. 13. This marks the third straight season the Wildcats have seen one of their players reach the 1,000-point plateau. Blagoj Janev, who is currently fourth on UNH’s all-time scoring list with 1,340 points, recorded his 1,000th during the 2006-07 season, while Mike Christensen, 17th with 1,087 points, tallied his 1,000th last season.

COMEBACK KIDS

Although they wound up losing to Marist, 63-61, Nov. 29, the Wildcats fought hard the final 12 minutes to claw their way back into the game. UNH trailed by 19 – 54-35 – with 12:21 to play, but ripped off a 17-2 run to pull within 56-52 with 4:24 on the clock. Eight points from Alvin Abreu, six from Dane DiLiegro and a 3-pointer from Russell Graham, combined with stifling defense that held Marist without a bucket for 8:51, powered the run. An Abreu trey with four seconds left put the Wildcats down 62-61, but that was close as they would get.

HANGIN' TOUGH

UNH held the lead against Penn State for the greatest length of time of any of the Nittany Lions’ first four opponents of the season. The Wildcats led for 12:25 in their game with PSU, which won all four games. UNH’s America East-foe Hartford held the advantage for just 1:18, NJIT led for 26 seconds and William & Mary never led in their contest.

TACKLING THE TOP COMPETITION

Head coach Bill Herrion is not afraid to take on some of the toughest competition in the country. Since his arrival in Durham prior to the 2005-06 season, the Wildcats have taken on Big East foes UConn, Providence and Rutgers, as well as ACC power Boston College on two occassions. This season, UNH continues down that road with matchups against Big Ten member Penn State and Atlantic 10 foes Rhode Island and Fordham. The Wildcats also faced URI last season when the A10 was ranked the seventh-best conference in the nation; the Big Ten was sixth.

BENSON'S FAMOUS TEAMMATE

Brian Benson was on the court as a sophomore at Greece-Athena High School when team manager Jason “J-Mac” McElwain, who was diagnosed with autism at an early age, knocked down six 3-pointers in their division title game versus Spencerport on Feb. 16, 2006. The story quickly made national headlines, while McElwain turned into a celebrity overnight. McElwain met President Bush and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, and also appeared on various talk shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, and Today. McElwain even won an ESPY Award for the Best Moment in Sports in 2006.

DILIEGRO TO REPRESENT COUNTRY, RELIGION

In September, Dane DiLiegro was named one of 12 members of the United States men’s basketball team that will compete at the 18th Maccabiah Games in Israel from July 12-23, 2009. The announcement was made by the head coach of the U.S. men’s basketball Maccabiah team, Bruce Pearl, who is also the men’s basketball head coach at the University of Tennessee.      

The Maccabiah Games, also referred to as the “Jewish Olympics,” are held in Israel every four years and include the top Jewish athletes from around the world. The 17th games in 2005 attracted the largest Maccabiah attendance in history. With over 50 countries represented by 7,700 athletes, including 900 from the U.S., the Maccabiah Games became the third largest sporting event in the world. This year, the U.S. is looking to take over 1,000 athletes, including Olympic athletes such as swimmers Dara Torres and Jason Lezak.   

DiLiegro becomes the sixth UNH athlete to participate in the Maccabiah Games, including the first basketball player.   

DiLiegro joins Duke’s Jon Scheyer and Arizona State’s Derek Glasser on the team, which won gold in 2001 and bronze at the previous Games in 2005. By making the U.S. squad, DiLiegro joins some elite company, including Dolph Schayes, one of the 50 Greatest NBA players of all-time, Hall of Fame basketball coach Larry Brown, and Mark Spitz, who won a then-record seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, an achievement surpassed only when Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal of the 2008 Olympics.

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