PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Freshman Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored a career-high 11 points, but the University of New Hampshire lost a defensive struggle to the University of Pittsburgh, 47-32, Friday night at the Petersen Events Center.
The Wildcats fall to 2-3 on the season, while the Big East's Panthers improve to 7-1. Pitt now leads the series 2-0 after also winning the first meeting, 53-38, at Petersen in 2003. UNH held Pitt to its lowest scoring output since March 10, 2007 when Georgetown only allowed 42 points in a 65-42 win against the Panthers in the Big East title game at Madison Square Garden.
Myrick, UNH's America East Player of the Game, scored his points on 5 of 8 shooting, including 1 of 1 from behind the arc, in a career-high 18 minutes. Juniors Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) and Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) chipped in with eight and six points, respectively, for the Wildcats, while DiLiegro grabbed eight boards and sophomore Russell Graham (Norristown, Pa.) handed out three assists.
After senior Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) knocked down a 3-pointer and junior Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) sank a jumper, UNH led 5-0 with 16:21 remaining in the opening half. Pitt scored its first points on a pair of free throws from Ashton Gibbs at 14:49, and made its first field goal at 13:23 when Brad Wanamaker's jumper made it 5-4.
Myrick's layup put UNH's lead back to three, but Wanamaker hit another jumper and then added a free throw to tie the game at seven with just under eight minutes to play. The Panthers seized the lead for good with a pair of free throws from Chase Adams at 4:30 before Gibbs scored the final six points of the half to cap an 11-0 run that gave Pitt a 15-7 lead at the break.
ESPN reported that the 22 combined points were the fewest in a first half of a Division I game since the shot clock era began in 1985 - when there was a 45-second clock, rather than the 35-second clock that was adopted in 1993. The teams broke the previous record held by Mississippi (15 points) and South Carolina (13 points), which combined for 28 points on Jan. 8, 2003. South Carolina ended up winning 55-49.
Conley opened the second half with a 3 from the left wing at 18:24 to cut UNH's deficit to five. Pitt still led by five, 19-14, exactly two minutes later when it went on a 12-3 run - with seven points from Gibbs and five from Wanamaker - to take a 31-17 advantage midway through the half.
Myrick then converted consecutive baskets, and after a Dwight Miller free throw, junior James Valladares (Kaufman, Texas) grabbed an offensive rebound and put the ball back to make it 32-23 with 7:17 to play. The Panthers then reeled off a 15-4 run to open its lead up to 18 (45-27) with just under two minutes to play before a DiLiegro dunk and Myrick's trey cut it to 13 with a minute to play. Gibbs capped the scoring with a jumper that made it 47-32 with 34 seconds left.
Pitt outshot UNH, 40.5 percent (17-42) to 23.5 percent (12-51), and held a 36-31 edge on the glass, but the Wildcats outscored Pitt in the paint, 14-10, and turned the ball over 14 times, while forcing 16 Pitt turnovers.
Gibbs led the Panthers with a career-best 23 points and Wanamaker netted a career-high 19 as the two combined for 42 of Pitt's 47 points.
The Wildcats return to action Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. when they play host to Central Connecticut State University at Lundholm Gymnasium.