MEN'S BASKETBALL EXTENDS LONGEST RIVALRY AT MAINE ON JAN. 19

COMPLETE NOTES | LIVE STATSLIVE AUDIOLIVE VIDEO

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will continue its longest rivalry when it takes on the University of Maine on Monday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. at Alfond Arena. The game will be broadcast live on Yahoo! radio, with the link available at www.UNHWildcats.com. The Wildcats and Black Bears meet for the 170th time, with Maine leading the all-time series, 108-61. The Black Bears have won eight of the past 10 meetings, The squads have split the season series the past two years and with each team winning its game on the road, the Wildcats roll into Orono with a two-game winning streak at Alfond Arena. In the most recent contest, the Wildcats dropped a 75-72 overtime thriller to Maine on Feb. 9, 2008 at Lundholm Gymnasium.

Junior guards Tyrece Gibbs and Eric Gilchrese scored 20 and 16 points, respectively, to lead UNH.

The Wildcats fell to 7-16, including 4-7 in America East, while the Black Bears improved to 7-16 overall and 3-7 in the conference.

After trailing by as many as 19, the Wildcats found themselves down 52-50 with 7:01 remaining in the game when Gilchrese drilled a 3-pointer that gave UNH just its second lead of the day. After a Brian Andre layup gave Maine a 54-53 advantage, a powerful Dane DiLiegro dunk recaptured the lead for the ‘Cats at 5:35.

The two teams traded free throws – and then layups – to tie the game at 59 with 3:03 remaining. Gibbs made one-of-two from the line to give UNH a 60-59 lead with 2:51 left, before Mark Socoby also made one-of-two from the stripe to tie the game with 26 seconds left. The Wildcats called timeout with 12 ticks left to draw up its final play, which seemed to work when Gibbs drove and kicked the ball underneath to a wide open DiLiegro. The 6-8 freshman went up to dunk the ball two seconds left, but Maine’s Phil Bofia blocked the ball off a Wildcat and out of bounds with two-tenths of a second on the clock. Socoby’s try from 80 feet at the buzzer fell short.

Gibbs opened up the overtime session with a trey that put UNH up 63-60. With the Wildcats on top, 64-62, Maine ran off six points in a row to take a 68-64 lead with 2:31 left. Another Gibbs 3 cut the Maine lead to one. With just under a minute to go, Socoby converted a three-point play that put the Black Bears up four. UNH made it 71-69 on two Alvin Abreu free throws, before a Sacoby jumper gave Maine its four-point lead back. A pair of free throws gave Maine a 75-69 lead with eight seconds to go before Gibbs hit a 3 as time expired.

Senior forward Mike Christensen scored 11 points, giving him 999 for his career. Christensen also added three rebounds and four assists. Abreu chipped in with 10 points and four rebounds. DiLiegro recorded six points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block. Gibbs tallied five rebounds and two assists, while Gilchrese, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, added four rebounds and five assists.

Maine built a 45-28 halftime lead thanks in part to Socoby’s 21 first-half points. Socoby, Maine’s America East Player of the Game, finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Kaimondre Owes added 20 points, four rebounds and four assists for the Black Bears. UNH outscored Maine 32-15 in the second half to erase the 17-point deficit.

UNH had half as many turnovers (10) as Maine (20), but shot just 32 percent (22-68) compared to the Black Bears’ 44 percent (23-52).

LAST TIME OUT

Sophomore guard Tyrone Conley and senior guard Tyrece Gibbs scored 17 and 15 points, respectively, to lead the Wildcats to a 68-59 road win against intrastate rival Dartmouth College on Jan. 17 at Leede Arena in the team’s non-conference finale. The win was the 275th career victory for head coach Bill Herrion.

The Wildcats, winners of four of their past five games, improved to 7-8 on the season as they beat Dartmouth for the seventh time in the past 10 meetings. UNH moved to 6-1 when holding its opponents to 60 or less and did not allow more than 59 in any of its past four wins. The Big Green fell to 2-13.

Conley, who was 6 of 10 from the floor, knocked down a career-high five 3-pointers and added three rebounds. Gibbs was also 6 of 10 from the field to go along with two rebounds and a block.

Tied at four to start the game, the Wildcats went on a 10-4 run – sparked and capped by Conley treys – to take a 14-8 lead midway through the opening half. Dartmouth came back with an 8-3 run to cut its deficit to one, but UNH struck back and scored seven straight points to open up a 24-16 lead with 3:26 to play before the half.

Dartmouth sliced the Wildcat lead to three with five consecutive points from Alex Barnett, but another Conley trifecta as time expired gave the ‘Cats a 29-23 lead as the teams headed into the break. UNH is now a perfect 5-0 when leading at the half. Gibbs netted 11 points in the half, while Conley added nine.

A jumper by Conley, the America East Player of the Game, to start the second half sparked an 8-0 run that put the Wildcats ahead 37-23 with 17:32 remaining. Five straight Dartmouth points cut its deficit to nine, but a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Alvin Abreu ended the run and bumped the Wildcat lead back to 40-28 with 16:16 left. Abreu was the third ‘Cat in double digits with 13 points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals.

The two teams went back and forth until consecutive buckets by Gibbs gave UNH its largest lead of the game at 54-39 with 8:32 to go. Dartmouth would not go away, however, crafting an 8-2 run to get back within nine with 4:16 left. A jumper by junior forward Radar Onguetou put UNH back up 11 and the Wildcats went 10-for-12 from the line in the final 2:18 – including 5 of 6 from freshman guard Russell Graham, who tallied seven points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal in the contest – to close out the win. Onguetou posted eight points and five boards.

Sophomore center Dane DiLiegro recorded seven points and 13 rebounds – the second highest total of his career – and filled the rest of the stat line with an assist, a block and a steal.

The Wildcats were outshot 39 percent (19-49) to 36 percent (21-59) from the field, but were 44 percent (8-18) from beyond the arc as compared to 33 percent (3-9) by Dartmouth.

Gibbs finished the game with 1,092 points and moved past Mike Christensen (1,087) for 17th place on UNH’s all-time scoring list.

Dartmouth was led by Barnett with 16 points and Marlon Sanders with 14.

.500 CLUB

With a victory against Maine, the Wildcats would improve to 8-8 on the season. The last time UNH has been .500 or better this late in the season was the 1994-95 campaign when it was 10-6 through 16 games.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE...IS PRETTY GOOD

The Wildcats have won four of their past five games and during that stretch have allowed 55 points per game, including 51.8 in the four wins, well ahead of their 62.6 points allowed per game average for the season.

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.

POINTS CHASE

Tyrece Gibbs scored 15 points against Dartmouth on Jan. 17 to move past Mike Christensen (1,087) and into 17th place on UNH’s all-tme scoring list with 1,092 points. Next up for Gibbs: Erie Feragne, who sits in 16th with 1,105 points.

DANE TRAIN: NOW BOARDING

Dane DiLiegro continues to clean up the glass for the Wildcats as he ripped down 13 boards in UNH’s 68-59 win at Dartmouth on Jan. 17.  DiLiegro is currently second in the conference in offensive rebounds per game (3.0) and is sixth in rebounding overall (7.3 rpg). The center is now averaging 5.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, better than his numbers of 4.2 points and 5.1 boards per contest at this point last season.

LEADING AT THE BREAK

After beating Dartmouth, 68-59, Jan. 17, the Wildcats are now 5-0 when leading at halftime.

FLIPPING THE CALENDAR

Since the calendar has flipped to 2009 the Wildcats are 4-1, recording more victories in five games in the new year as they did in 10 contests in 2008. In other calendar related news, the Wildcats are also 3-1 on Wednesdays.

HOME COOKIN'

After their 65-47 win against UMBC at Lundholm Gymnasium on Jan. 14, the Wildcats are now 5-2 at home this season. It is the best home start for UNH since it began the 1997-98 season 6-1 at Lundholm.

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.

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.

TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS

Heading into tonight’s contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 508 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 686 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.

PAIR POURING IN POINTS FOR 'CATS

The Wildcats are one of just three teams in the conference to have two players in the top 13 in scoring. Tyrece Gibbs is 10th at 13.4 points per game, while Alvin Abreu is 13th at 12.4 ppg.

NATIONALLY RANKED

UNH is ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in three categories. The Wildcats are 43rd in 3-point field goals per game (7.8), 71st in scoring defense (62.9 papg) and 95th in turnovers per game (13.2). Individually, Tyrece Gibbs is 48th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (40.2) and 94th in 3-point field goals per game (2.5).

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.

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.

CENTURY MARK

Tyrece Gibbs played in his 100th game as a Wildcat on Jan. 11 versus Boston University. The senior needs to play in 13 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 1,092 points, 432rebounds, 206 assists, 81 steals and 46 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 (183), third in 3-point attempts (461), sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (.397), seventh in minutes played (3,159)  and seventh in blocks (46). 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.

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.

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.

MULTIPLE MILESTONES

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.

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.

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.

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.

GOLDEN GRAHAM

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).

POWERFUL RAMS

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.

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.

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.

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-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.

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