DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will play host to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County on Wednesday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium. The game will be broadcast live on Yahoo! radio, with the link available at www.UNHWildcats.com. The Wildcats and Retrievers meet for the 12th time in their conference rivarly. UNH leads the all-time series, 6-5, despite the fact that UMBC has won three of the last four meetings. Prior to that run, the Wildcats had won five of the first seven metings. The ‘Cats have won three of the last four meetings at Lundholm Gym. In the most recent meeting Feb. 23, 2008, UMBC won a 71-68 overtime thriller in front of a record crowd at RAC Arena.
Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs matched his career high with 22 points and freshman guard Alvin Abreu added 18 in the loss.
The Wildcats fell to 8-19, including 5-10 in America East, while the Retrievers moved to 20-7 overall and 12-2 in the conference, and clinched the America East regular season title.
Gibbs also matched his career high with six 3-pointers, and added six rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block. Abreu was 7-of-14 from the floor, including 4-of-9 from behind the arc. Both players played all 45 minutes of the game.
In a back-and-forth contest that UNH led by as much as seven (54-47) with 5:46 left, the Wildcats found themselves down by three with 17 seconds left when freshman guard Tyrone Conley drilled one of his four 3-pointers to tie the game at 57. A missed 3 by Ray Barbosa sent the contest to overtime.
The Retrievers were not about to let the 3,712 fans that came to see them clinch the regular season title and celebrate Senior Night, go home unhappy, and opened the overtime session with eight straight points. In what has been their calling card all season long, however, the ‘Cats would not lie down. Gibbs, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, hit a 3 to make it 65-60 with 45 ticks remaining, before a pair of free throws by Barbosa pushed the lead back to seven. After the teams traded free throws, Conley hit another trifecta to cut the lead to 69-65 with 13 seconds left.
After a UMBC miss, senior forward Mike Christensen knocked down a 3 with three seconds left to slice the deficit to one. Two more Barbosa free throws made it 71-68 before Christensen’s heave from half court hit the front of the rim as time expired.
Just three days after establishing a new season high for 3-pointers in a game with 15 against Stony Brook, the Wildcats knocked down 16 against UMBC, just one shy of the school record.
Christensen tallied 11 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Conley scored 12 points and equaled his career high with the four treys.
Christensen recorded his 200th career assist with his first helper of the night. The captain, who netted his 1,000th point Feb. 14 at Binghamton, and grabbed his 500th rebound Feb. 20 against Stony Brook, became just the second player in school history to have at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists in a career. Dan Nolan amassed 1,258 points, 826 rebounds and 219 assists from 1980 to 1984. Christensen passed Eric Montanari (1,038) and to move into 17th place on UNH’s all-time scoring list with 1,043 points.
Christensen opened the game with a 3 and the ‘Cats hung with UMBC until a 17-3 run gave the Retrievers a 19-9 advantage. UNH came right back with a 9-1 run that got it back into the game. A Christensen layup with 4:24 left before the half gave UNH its first lead in nearly 14 minutes. The Wildcats went into the break with a 28-27 lead.
The Wildcats held UMBC scoreless for nearly six minutes early in the second half, and used a 10-2 run to open up a 45-38 lead with 11:19 remaining. UMBC then reeled off seven in a row to tie the game at 45 with 8:20 left. A pair of treys by Abreu and one by Conley then gave UNH its 54-47 lead with 5:46 left.
Freshman center Dane DiLiegro ripped down a game-high nine rebounds.
Barbosa, UMBC’s America East Player of the Game, led five Retriever scorers in double-digits with 21 points.
LAST TIME OUT
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.
Tyrece Gibbs played in his 100th game as a Wildcat on Jan. 11 versus Boston University. The senior needs to play in 14 more games to become the all-time leader in program history.
UNH is ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in three categories. The Wildcats are 40th in 3-point field goals per game (7.9), 93rd in scoring defense (64.1 papg) and 100th in turnovers per game (13.5).
PAIR POURING IN POINTS FOR 'CATS
The Wildcats are one of just three teams in the conference to have two players in the top 12 in scoring. Alvin Abreu is 11th at 12.8 points per game, while Tyrece Gibbs is 12th at 12.7 ppg.
TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS
Heading into today’s contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 506 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 684 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.
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 1,055 points, 424 rebounds, 204 assists, 81 steals and 45 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.
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 (178), fifth in 3-point attempts (451), seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (.395), ninth in blocks (45) and ninth in minutes played (3,094). 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, field goals attempted, assists and games played.
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. DiLiegro is currently tied for first in the conference in offensive rebounds per game (3.1) and is fourth in rebounding overall (6.9 rpg).
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Tyrece Gibbs scored a season-high 21 points against Hartford on Jan. 7 to move past Eric Montanari (1,038) and into 18th place on UNH’s all-tme scoring list with 1,055 points. Next up for Gibbs: former teammate and fellow captain Mike Christensen, who sits in 17th with 1,087 points.
SCORE, DEFEND, REBOUND: BASICS EQUAL W's
After beating Hartford on Jan. 7, the Wildcats are now 3-0 when leading at halftime and 3-1 when outrebounding their opponent.
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.
Tyrece Gibbs reached a pair of career highs and a handful of milestones against Hofstra on Dec. 27. Gibbs recorded a career-high four steals and and also matched his career high with three blocks, which moved him into ninth place on UNH’s all-time blocks list with 45. Gibbs posted the 200th assist of his career, becoming just the second Wildcat in history to amass 1,000 points, 200 assists and 45 blocks. The co-captain also moved into a third-place tie with Blagoj Janev on UNH’s all-time 3-point field goals made list (172) with his lone trey of the game. Gibbs, who finished the game with 1,020 points, moved past Marcus Bullock (1,015) and Eric Thielen (1,019) for 22nd on UNH’s all-time scoring list.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR DOUBLE D
Dane DiLiegro notched his second career double-double versus Hofstra on Dec. 27 when he poured in 10 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. The center is now averaging 5.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, better than his numbers of 4.8 points and 5.7 boards per contest at this point last season.
PLAYING WITH PRIDE
Brian Benson knocked down his first career 3-pointer en route to recording a career-high seven points against Hofstra on Dec. 27.
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.
NEW 3-POINT THREAT FOR WILDCATS?
Radar Onguetou might be spending a little too much time with Tyrece Gibbs and the rest of the Wildcats’ dangerous perimeter shooters. After sinking a total of three 3-pointers in his career, Onguetou knocked down a career-high two in three of four games from Dec. 3-13. The powerful forward was 2-for-4 from behind the arc Dec. 3 at Colgate, 2-for-3 Dec. 6 versus Brown and 2-for-3 Dec. 13 at Long Island. Onguetou was hitting them in the clutch as well, tying the game at 51 with 7:18 to go against Brown and then giving UNH a 62-58 lead with 1:36 left.
Russell Graham, making his third consecutive start at the point, put together a career night against powerhouse Rhode Island, setting personal bests in points (9), assists (5), steals (2), free throws made (3) and minutes (29).
Rhode Island is the highest RPI-ranked team the Wildcats have played this season at 37th. The Rams have also played some opponents that are on UNH’s schedule, including Penn State (W 77-72), Brown (W 76-74) and Hartford (W 94-72). The Wildcats, who are ranked 197th out of 343 teams in the rankings, a big improvement thus far over last year’s finish of 300 out of 341, lost to Penn State, 70-50, beat Brown, 64-61, and will meet Hartford twice in conference play.
'CATS "BEAR" DOWN AGAINST BROWN
UNH’s 64-61 win versus Brown on Dec. 6 was the Wildcats’ first win in five tries against the Bears. UNH’s most recent win before that came in a 77-71 victory at Lundholm on Nov. 14, 1998.
BREAKING THE ICE
Not only was UNH’s win against Colgate on Dec. 3 its first victory versus a Division I team this season, but it also marked a first in numerous other categories, including its first win on the road, in December, on a Wednesday, in a night game, against a team under .500, when its opponent scores first, in a game decided by less than six points, when outscored in the paint and off the bench, when outrebounded and when committing more turnovers than its opponent.
JUST BE YOURSELF
In their win against Colgate on Dec. 3, the Wildcats finally looked like the same team from last year that was seventh in the country in 3-pointers per game (9.5) and 81st in 3-point field goal percentage (37.2). The ‘Cats shot 50 percent (12-24) from behind the arc against Colgate and were shooting it so well in the first half that seven of their eight field goals in that frame were 3s.
DOING A LOT WITH A LITTLE
Although Rony Tchatchoua only recorded one point and four rebounds in UNH’s win at Colgate on Dec. 3, he may have had the biggest point and rebound of the game. With the Wildcats up by two with 13 seconds remaining, Colgate’s Mike Venezia took a 3-pointer to try and put his team in front, but he missed and Tchatchoua ripped down the rebound in a sea of Colgate players. Tchatchoua then went to the line and hit one of two to force Colgate to drain a 3 just to tie. Venezia’s attempt went long as time expired, making Tchatchoua’s effort stand up.
Alvin Abreu broke out for the first time this season Nov. 29 at Marist, scoring a UNH season-high 22 points – one shy of his career high – on 7 of 14 shooting. Abreu, who netted 17 of his points in the second half to lead the UNH comeback, hit a career-high seven free throws and was 6 of 7 from the stripe down the stretch.
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.
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.
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.
MAKE THE MOST WITH WHAT YOU'RE GIVEN
Abby Kabba received his first dose of major playing time against Penn State on Nov. 23 as he played a career-high 26 minutes. Kabba made the most of the playing time as he ripped down a team- and career-high seven rebounds, while also chipping in offensively with two points. Kabba then added a career-high five points Nov. 29 at Marist. In the two games prior, Kabba had solid production for the time he played as he notched seven points and five rebounds in 14 minutes of action.
CONLEY HAS HIS OWN NUMBER
Tyrone Conley scored 21 points versus Harvard on Nov. 19, matching his jersey number. The 21 points tied the season high for a Wildcat this year, and was one point shy of Conley’s personal best.
HITTING THE CENTURY MARK
In their 101-50 win versus Suffolk on Nov. 16, the Wildcats won their second straight home-opener by scoring 100 points for the first time since a 106-103 win at Maine in four overtimes Jan. 19, 1996. The last time UNH compiled at least 100 points in regulation was Nov. 27, 1994 in a 104-97 win at Hofstra. The most recent time a Lundholm crowd witnessed a 100-point game from the Wildcats was in a 113-111 overtime win against Delaware on Feb. 26, 1995. The last time the Wildcats scored 100 points in regulation at Lundholm? You would have to go back to Dec. 29, 1983 in a 102-82 win over Fairfield. The 51-point margin of victory is also the largest for the ‘Cats since the 1941-42 season – and possibly ever. Records prior to that season are incomplete. UNH set the previous mark last season in a 95-46 win versus Suffolk.
GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT
The Wildcats won their first season-opener since the 2004-05 season when they beat Suffolk, 101-50, to open up the 2008-09 campaign Nov. 16. It was UNH’s second straight home-opening win.
ABREU ONE OF TOP FRESHMEN LAST SEASON
At the end of last season, Alvin Abreu was named a CollegeHoops.net Honorable Mention Mid-Major All-Freshman. Abreu, who was a three-time America East Rookie of the Week during the season (Dec. 10, Jan. 7, Feb. 25), was also named to the America East All-Rookie Team before the start of the tournament.
Abreu, who was one of just two freshman, and four players overall, to play in all 29 games for the Wildcats, led all America East rookies and was second on the team in scoring (12.7 ppg). He also led the team in free throw percentage (.818), was second in 3-pointers made (62) and was fourth in rebounding (3.8 rpg) and assists (1.8 apg). The 62 treys are tied for the eighth most in a single season at UNH, while the free throw percentage of 81.8 is the 10th-best single-season mark in school history.
BENSON'S FAMOUS TEAMMATE
Brian Benson was on the court as a sophomore at Greece-Althena 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.