MEN'S BASKETBALL SHOOTS ITS WAY PAST ALBANY, 78-59

BOX

ALBANY, N.Y. – Sophomore guards Alvin Abreu  (Lynn, Mass.) and Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) and senior guard Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) scored 19, 17 and 16 points, respectively, to lead the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team past the University at Albany, 78-59, Sunday afternoon at SEFCU Arena.
 
The Wildcats, who have won three of their last four road games, pick up their second win of the season against an above-.500 team to improve to 10-14 on the season, including 5-7 in America East play, while the Great Danes fall to 13-13 overall and 5-8 in the conference. The ‘Cats surpass their win total from last season and post their third double-digit win season in the past four years under head coach Bill Herrion, marking just the fourth time in school history that has happened. The last time UNH attained the feat was from 1982-83 to 1985-86 when the program put together three 10-win seasons in four years under legendary head coach Gerry Friel.
Tyrone Conley
 
Abreu, selected as UNH's America East Player of the Game, scored his points on 5 of 7 shooting, including 2 of 4 from behind the arc. Abreu was also a perfect 7-for-7 from the line to go along with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Conley was 5-for-8 from the floor, including 4-for-6 from 3, while Gibbs was 5 of 7 from deep and added three rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 36 minutes.
 
UNH led from the start to record its first wire-to-wire win of the year over a Division I opponent. The Wildcats hit their first four field goals and first two free throws to build a 12-1 just 2:54 in. Abreu and Conley bookended the run with 3-pointers. Albany sliced its deficit to seven at 16-9 with 12:25 remaining in the first half, but a 3-pointer by Gibbs sparked an 8-2 run that pushed the lead up to 24-11 at 10:30.
 
The Great Danes climbed back to within six at 26-20 with just over five minutes to play in the half, but a 9-0 run – capped by a Conley trifecta – opened the UNH lead up to 35-20 with 2:14 to go. After a layup by Will Harris, another Gibbs 3 and a jumper by sophomore center James Valladares (Kaufman, Texas) helped the Wildcats close the half on a 5-2 run and take a 40-24 lead into the locker room. The ‘Cats improve to 7-1 when leading at the break. Gibbs netted 12 first-half points on 4 of 5 shooting from behind the arc.
 
The two teams spent the first five minutes of the second frame going back and forth, with Albany closing to 45-31 at 14:59. Conley then knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to make it 51-33 at 13:57. An 8-2 Albany run would slice UNH’s lead to 53-41 at 10:32, but the Wildcats would respond with an 8-1 run of their own – capped with an Abreu trey – to grab their biggest lead of the game at 61-42 with 9:13 remaining.
 
After three straight points from Albany, Abreu converted an old fashioned three-point play to push the lead back to 19 at 17:57. A 6-1 Albany run – capped by a Harris jumper – cut UNH’s lead to 14 at 65-51 with 7:07 to go, but that was the closest the Great Danes would get as Conley capped an 8-3 Wildcat run with a fast-break dunk that put the lead back at 19 (73-54) with 4:26 on the clock.
 
Albany cut into UNH’s lead at 75-59, but with the shot clock running down and a man draped over him, Gibbs banged a 3-pointer that closed the scoring with 1:20 to play. Abreu scored all 12 of his second-half points in a five-minute span from 9:50 to 4:50.
 
Senior guard Eric Gilchrese (Springfield, Ill.) also scored in double digits for the Wildcats with 11 points to go along with five assists and two rebounds. Sophomore forward Rony Tchatchoua (Douala, Cameroon) chipped in with four points and seven boards, while junior guard Colbey Santos (Onset, Mass.) added five points on 2 of 2 shooting, including a big 3-pointer, in four minutes. Valladares reached season highs in points (4) and minutes (13).
 
Gibbs finished the game with 1,221 career points and is just seven points shy of passing Billy Pappas (1,228) for eighth place on UNH’s all-time scoring list.
 
The Wildcats posted their second highest point total of the season by shooting 57 percent (25-44) from the floor and 60 percent (12-20) from behind the arc – both season highs. The ‘Cats held Albany to 40 percent (19-48) shooting from the field, including nine percent (1-11) from 3 – UNH’s best mark of the season. The Wildcats improve to 9-2 when limiting their opponent to 60 points or less and 6-1 when shooting better than 40 percent from deep.

Harris led the Great Danes with 18 points and seven rebounds. Jerel Hastings was named Albany's America East Player of the Game with 11 points, three rebounds and three steals.
 
The Wildcats return to action Thursday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. when they play host to the University of Maine at Lundholm Gymnasium in a game that can be seen live on NESN.

 

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