December 20, 2009

MEN'S HOOP CAPS DEC. 20 DOUBLEHEADER VERSUS INTRASTATE RIVAL DARTMOUTH

COMPLETE GAME NOTES

DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will look to put together the second longest home winning streak since the 1960-61 season when they cap a UNH basketball doubleheader Dec. 20 with a 3:30 matchup versus intrastate rival Dartmouth at Lundholm Gymnasium. The game will be broadcast live on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network. Links to live audio and video, as well as live stats, will be available at www.UNHWildcats.com.

The Wildcats and Big Green meet for the 58th time in their intrastate rivarly, with Dartmouth leading the all-time series, 31-26. UNH has recently had the upper hand in the series, however, winning three of the last four meetings and seven of the past 10. The ‘Cats have won two of the last three and seven of nine at Lundholm, and have also been victorious in four of the last five matchups at Leede Arena. In the most recent meeting, the Wildcats pulled out a 68-59 win on the road Jan. 17, 2009.

Sophomore guard Tyrone Conley and senior guard Tyrece Gibbs scored 17 and 15 points, respectively, to lead the Wildcats in head coach Bill Herrion’s 275th career victory.

The Wildcats, who picked up their fourth win in five games with the win, 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.

LAST TIME OUT

Junior Alvin Abreu scored 16 points, but the Wildcats fell at Hofstra University, 75-58, Dec. 12 at the Mack Sports Complex.

The Wildcats fell to 3-4 on the season, while the Pride improved to 7-3.

Abreu, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, added four rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal, while classmate Dane DiLiegro tallied nine points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Fellow junior Tyrone Conley chipped in with 11 points.

Conley opened the game with a 3-pointer that quickly put the Wildcats on top, but Hofstra scored the next seven points before Abreu knocked down a 3 to pull UNH within one at 15:33. The Pride went on another 7-0 run, however, sparked by a Cornelius Vines trey and capped by a David Imes dunk that put Hofstra on top 14-6 with just under 13 minutes remaining in the opening half.

Still trailing by eight with 9:20 left, the Wildcats cut it to five when freshman Ferg Myrick converted a three-point play to make it 18-13. After the teams traded baskets, Charles Jenkins drained a 3-pointer and came back down the floor and sank a jumper 40 seconds later to push the Pride lead to 25-15 at 6:52.

UNH sliced into Hofstra’s advantage the next trip down the floor when sophomore Brian Benson grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a jump hook in the lane. The Wildcats then cut it to six when Abreu came up with a block on a Vines layup and DiLiegro’s long outlet pass hit Conley, who finished with a one-handed slam. After a Nathaniel Lester three-point play, Abreu nailed a 3 and sophomore Russell Graham followed with a layup that made it 28-24 with 4:05 to play.

That was the closest UNH would get to having another lead, however, as Hofstra went on a 10-2 run that was highlighted by 3-pointers from Chaz Williams, Jenkins and Vines, and gave the Pride a 38-26 advantage with 1:46 left. With three seconds left at the end of the half, Graham hit Abreu with a long pass that led to a layup as Abreu drew the contact. Abreu hit the free throw to cut the deficit to nine, but as time expired, Vines knocked down a 3 from the top of the key to send the Pride into the locker room with a 43-31 lead. Abreu had nine at the break, while Jenkins and Vines each recorded 10.

The teams opened up the second half by trading points, but a Jenkins jumper and a Vines 3 sparked an 8-0 run that opened Hofstra’s lead up to 53-33 with 15:51 remaining. The lead was 18 when Vines hit another 3 to stretch it to 21 at 9:36. After a Conley layup cut it to 66-49, Jenkins sank a 3-pointer that touched off a 7-0 run that gave his team its largest lead of the game at 73-49 with 4:19 to go.

That would be the final field goal for the Pride, as UNH closed the game on a 9-2 run, capped off by another long outlet pass from DiLiegro to Abreu for a layup that made it 75-58 with nine seconds on the clock.

Benson finished with eight points and six boards, while Graham tallied four points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Myrick and classmate Chandler Rhoads each finished with five points to go along with two rebounds and two assists, respectively.

Hofstra outshot UNH 47.3 percent (26-55) to 34.5 percent (19-55), led by its 66.7 percent (10-15) effort from behind the arc. The Wildcats, however, won the battle on the boards, 37-33, and outscored the Pride in the paint, 30-20.

Jenkins finished with a game-high 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting, including 3 of 4 from deep, while Vines added 16 on 5 of 6 shooting from behind the arc.

HOME, SWEET HOME

Dating back to the end of last season, the Wildcats have won six consecutive games at home, which is tied for the second longest streak since the 1960-61 season. If the ‘Cats are victorious against Dartmouth, only one time in the last 49 years will they have won more home games in a row. UNH won 12 straight games at Lundholm from Nov. 30, 1982-Jan. 2, 1984. The program then recorded six straight home W’s from Nov. 25, 1997-Jan. 10, 1998 before the current streak that began Feb. 18, 2009.

MORE HOME COOKIN'

The Wildcats have started out the season 3-0 at home for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The last time they started out 4-0 at home was the 1968-69 season when the ‘Cats won their first five games in Durham.

TOP-NOTCH OPPONENTS

The combined record of the four teams UNH has lost to this season is 28-10 (.737). The Wildcats have suffered all of their defeats on the road at Maryland (6-3), Harvard (7-2), Pitt (8-2) and Hofstra (7-3).

NATIONALLY RANKED (AS OF DEC. 19)

UNH is ranked within the top 100 teams in scoring defense (62.9 ppg) at 75th. Individually, Russell Graham is 51st in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.55).

TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS

Heading into tonight’s contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 530 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 747 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.

3-POINT THREAT

Senior Radar Onguetou is leading the Wildcats in 3-point shooting after sinking 47.4 percent (9-19) of his attempts. Onguetou, who also leads the conference in that category, came into the season a career 20 percent (9-45) shooter from long range.

DEFENSIVE SPECIALISTS

The Wildcats have built on their solid defensive year a season ago and have only allowed 60 or more points in a game three times – to then 25th-ranked Maryland, to 7-2 Harvard, which is averaging 76.9 points per game and has wins at Boston College and Boston University, as well as a six-point loss at 13th-ranked UConn, and Hostra, which is averaging 71.6 ppg. The ‘Cats, who held the Big East’s Pitt to 47 points Dec. 4, are second in the league in scoring defense at 62.9 ppg. UNH is also third in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage defense at 33.0 percent.

'CATS DON'T GIVETH, BUT DO TAKETH AWAY

A combination of taking care of the ball and forcing turnovers, has placed the Wildcats fourth in the conference in turnover margin (+0.3). Only three times have the ‘Cats coughed the ball up more than their opponent, and their defense is fifth in the conference in forced turnovers per game (15.0). Sophomore Russell Graham also ranks first in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at (+2.5).

SOMETHING GOOD ABREU-IN'

Junior Alvin Abreu erupted for a season-high 25 points in the Wildcats’ 67-55 win against Central Connecticut State on Dec. 9. The total was Abreu’s second highest of his career and most since he dropped 28 on Santa Clara at Lundholm Gymnasium on Jan. 4, 2009.

TICKLING THE TWINE

After a defensive struggle in their previous game at Pitt in which the Wildcats scored 32 points, they came in on fire versus Central Connecticut State and stayed hot throughout the game. The ‘Cats set season highs in shooting percentage from the field (.500), behind the arc (.429) and at the line (.750).

HERRION VS. WILDCATS' 2009-10 OPPONENTS

Coming into the season, Bill Herrion owned a 115-67 (.632) record against the Wildcats’ 2009-10 opponents.

CAGING THE PANTHERS

In their 47-32 loss Dec. 4, the Wildcats 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. Against UNH, Pitt was held scoreless for the first 5:15 of the game, did not convert its first field goal until 6:37 in, and went 15:30 before grabbing its first lead.

PHILLY'S FINEST

Freshman Myrick scored a career-high 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting, including 1 of 1 from behind the arc, in a career-high 18 minutes against the Big East’s Pitt on Dec. 4.

DILIEGRO NETS TOP WEEKLY HONOR

Junior Dane DiLiegro was named America East Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 29, the conference announced Nov. 30.

DiLiegro earned the first weekly conference honor of his career after averaging 18.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game in a 78-60 loss at Harvard on Nov. 25, as well as a 72-58 victory at home versus Marist on Nov. 28. DiLiegro also shot 50 percent (15-30) from the field and 78 percent (7-9) at the line in the two games.

At Harvard, DiLiegro posted a solid performance of 10 points and eight rebounds before exploding against Marist. DiLiegro scored a career-high 27 points on 11 of 19 shooting from the floor and 5 of 5 shooting at the line, while pulling down eight boards. DiLiegro had matched his career best after just 14 first-half minutes, and was single-handedly outscoring Marist at the break, 21-20.

POURING BUCKETS

Junior Dane DiLiegro scored a career-high 27 points as he was 11-for-19 from the floor and made all five of his free throws in a season-high 34 minutes against Marist on Nov. 28, making him the first Wildcat to record that many baskets in a game since Blagoj Janev was a perfect 11-for-11 from the field en route to 31 points against Vermont on Jan. 9, 2007. The 11 field goals marked the second time in his career that DiLiegro converted 10 or more field goals, as he knocked down 10 shots when he set his previous career best of 21 points Feb. 19 of last season versus Maine. The 27 points is also the most for a Wildcat since classmate Alvin Abreu netted 28 against Santa Clara on Jan. 4 of last season.

HERRION CLIMBING WINS LIST

By defeating Marist, 72-58, Nov. 28, head coach Bill Herrion recorded his 47th victory at UNH and moved into fifth on the school's all-time wins list, passing Gib Chapman, who won 46 games in four seasons from 1992-96. Herrion moved past Phil Rowe, who won 45 games in six seasons from 1999-05, with his 91-45 win against Suffolk on Nov. 14, and now trails only Gerry Friel (188), William Cowell (119), Henry Swasey (108) and Bill Olsen (60) in the record books.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE ON THE RADAR

Senior Radar Onguetou scored 11 points and tied his career high with 12 rebounds against Marist on Nov. 28 to record his second career double-double. Onguetou's first double-double came at UMBC on Jan. 25, 2007 when he recorded the same 11 points and 12 rebounds.

AMERICA EAST SEASONS BESTS

Against Marist on Nov. 28, a trio of Wildcats submitted three of the best performances in America East this season. Junior Dane DiLiegro poured in a career-high 27 points, the most in the conference at the time. Senior Radar Onguetou matched his career best by grabbing 12 rebounds, which tied for the third best mark in the league. Sophomore Russell Graham surpassed his previous career high by handing out seven assists, the fourth best America East mark on the year at the time.

PICKING IT BACK UP

Senior Colbey Santos picked up where he left off last season in the America East semifinal against Binghamton when he netted a career-high 17 points on 4 of 5 shooting from behind the arc. In the season opener against Suffolk on Nov. 14, Santos scored 10 points, before netting 14 points at 25th-ranked Maryland on Nov. 20. The three-game double-digit scoring streak is the longest of Santos' career and also matches the number of games Santos recorded 10 or more points in the previous 86 games of his career.

MARGINALLY BETTER

In the Wildcats' 82-55 loss at 25th-ranked Maryland on Nov. 20, the 27-point deficit was the Terps' smallest margin of victory of the season to that point.

STANDING TALL

In the Wildcats' 82-55 loss at 25th-ranked Maryland on Nov. 20, sophomore point guard Russell Graham grabbed a game-high and career-best eight rebounds. Graham, who measures an even 6-feet tall, was the only player under 6-2 to play in the game.

RHOAD TO SUCCESS

Freshman Chandler Rhoads was named America East Rookie of the Week for the period ending Nov. 15 the conference announced Nov. 16.

Rhoads shined for the Wildcats in the first collegiate game of his career against Suffolk on Nov. 14 as he scored a game-high 14 points and added five assists, four steals and three rebounds in 23 minutes of action during UNH's 91-45 win at Lundholm Gymnasium.

Rhoads became just the fifth Wildcat since the awards' inception in 1983 to win it the first week of the season, joining Todd Black (Dec. 10, 1983), Joe Spitale (Dec. 5, 1988), Will Chavis (Nov. 22, 1998) and Chris Vetrano (Nov. 21, 2004). The point guard was also the first Wildcat to garner the honor since current junior Alvin Abreu on Feb. 25, 2008.

CRASHING THE GLASS

Against Suffolk on Nov. 14, junior Dane DiLiegro pulled down 15 rebounds, which is the second highest total of his career.

SECOND-HALF STUD

Junior Alvin Abreu continued his pattern from last year of picking up his scoring in the second half. After going into the break with just two points against Suffolk on Nov. 14, Abreu came out and netted 10 in the second stanza to finish with 12. Abreu also added seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.

SOPHOMORE JINX?

Sophomores Brian Benson and Russell Graham both set career highs versus Suffolk on Nov. 14. Benson scored a career-high nine points, while Graham dished out a then career-best six assists.

DROPPING DIMES

The Wildcats dished out an assist on 69 percent (22-32) of their baskets in their 91-45 win against Suffolk on Nov. 14. Last year the ‘Cats assisted on 50 percent (323-647) of their buckets.

BLOCK PARTY

In their 91-45 win against Suffolk on Nov. 14, the Wildcats blocked six shots, including three by freshman big man Chris Matagrano.

GREAT SCOTT!

Head coach Bill Herrion and his staff announced Nov. 11 that Scott Morris has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Wildcats and attend school next fall.

"One of our needs with this year's recruiting class was to get a 2-guard that can shoot the basketball," Herrion said. "Losing Colbey Santos after this year and Alvin Abreu and Tyrone Conley being seniors next year, we have to make sure we have depth at the shooting guard spot. Scott is a tough, athletic kid, who can really shoot the ball from the 3. He is a total student-athlete and we are very happy to have him here at UNH."

Morris, who is currently a senior at Walkersville High School, averaged 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds. 6.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game last season as he led the Lions to the regional finals and an 18-7 record. Morris was named to the Frederick News Post All-County First Team, as well as the All-Gazette First Team, and was First Team All-Piedmont Division. As a sophomore, the 6-foot-2-inch, 190-pound guard averaged 13.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists as an All-Piedmont Division first teamer.     The three-year starter and two-time team MVP also performs well off the court as he is the owner of a 4.0 grade-point-average, which ranks No. 1 in his class of 328.

DEMPSEY ON COLLEGE CHALKTALK

Associate Head Coach Ken Dempsey will be blogging at various points of the season on College Chalktalk. To follow along with Dempsey’s entries, click here.

WILDCAT BASKETBALL ON THE AIR

In the summer of 1999, the University of New Hampshire Athletic Department formed the “UNH Sports Network” — the largest network ever to broadcast UNH sporting events. Wildcats Sports Properties has added WGIN-AM 930 (Rochester) and WQSO-FM 96.7 (Portsmouth) as flagship stations on the Wildcat Sports Network, joining WGIR-AM 610 (Manchester), which was added in 2008. All three stations are part of the Clear Channel family and this change will go into effect at the beginning of the 2009-10 season. These three aforementioned stations – along with WUVR-AM 1490 (Lebanon), WNTK-FM 99.7 (New London) and WCNL-AM 1010 (Newport) – will carry the following: all UNH football & men’s hockey broadcasts and weekly coaches’ shows, a select number of men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and women’s hockey broadcasts, as well as “Wildcat Sports Today”, a three-minute daily update concerning UNH athletics. The games can also be heard on the internet at www.UNHWildcats.com, through a service from Stretch Internet. Stretch has also partnered with UNH to develop a podcast page for UNH fans to listen to archived broadcasts.  Veteran play-by-play man Jim Jeannotte will return for his 29th year broadcasting UNH men’s basketball. Jeannotte will be joined by color analyst Mike Murphy, who enters his 10th season calling Wildcat men’s hoop.

WILDCAT BASKETBALL STREAMING LIVE

UNHWildcats.com, via Stretch Internet Broadcast, will carry 11 UNH men’s basketball games, as well as a pair of road contests this season. If you cannot attend Wildcat basketball, you can still tune into the game from anywhere you can gain access to the internet. Fans can get to the UNH men’s basketball broadcast site by going to the men’s basketball schedule page at www.UNHWildcats.com.

UNH HOOPS ON WILDCATS.TV

UNH and Pack Network have once again partnered to provide online video streaming of UNH’s seven ticketed sports for the upcoming 2009-10 season with UNHwildcats.Tv. Wildcat fans are encouraged to buy the “Wildcat All-Access Pass” which is an annual subscription for $79.95 that provides all the live coverage of UNH home athletic events. Fans can also purchase home events on a per game basis of $6.95.

INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT

Juniors James Valladares, Alvin Abreu and Dane DiLiegro all spent part of their summers representing their respective countries while playing basketball internationally. Valladares suited up for the El Salvador National Team at the FIBA COCABA Games in Cancun, Mexico, where he averaged 17.4 points per game. Abreu practiced with the Dominican National Team in Santo Domingo, where he battled with the likes of Francisco Garcia of the Sacramento Kings, Charlie Villanueva of the Detroit Pistons and Edgar Sosa, a senior at Louisville. DiLiegro played for the United States at the 18th Maccabiah Games in Israel. DiLiegro averaged 8.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game en route to helping the Americans capture the gold medal.

HALL CALL

Head coach Bill Herrion was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame as a special honoree with the Clark University High School Basketball Tournament on Oct. 9. Along with the Clark Tournament itself and two major contributors to the success of the tournament, Herrion went in as one of just three players that will represent 70 years of basketball greatness at "The Clark." Herrion's best game came on Feb. 19, 1976 in a 96-79 win against Nashoba that lifted Oxford into the championship. Herrion knocked down 14 baskets and was 19 of 21 from the free throw line en route to scoring 47 points. The 19 free throws still stand as a single-game tournament record, while the 47 points are the third most in a single game and the 14 field goals are sixth most.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

The Wildcats welcome in three newcomers this season. Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.), a 6-foot-4, 190-pound point guard, attended Air Force Prep last season and averaged 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals per game. Rhoads, who has great size, speed and strength and will increase the Wildcats' already solid depth on the perimeter, graduated as the all-time leading scorer at Clarke County High School with 1,638 points. Rhoads, who was named Virginia State A Basketball Player of the Year after averaging 25.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game during his senior campaign, lead Clarke County to a pair of state championships during his four years at the school. Rhoads was also a First Team All-State member his junior and senior seasons, as well as being a McDonald's All-American nominee his final year at Clarke County.

Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.), a 6-6, 180-pound wing, is a very good athlete who has size and is long. Myrick averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks per game last season at Prep Charter High School. Myrick, a McDonald's All-American nominee, led Prep Charter to a 21-7 record.

Chris Matagrano (Sayreville, N.J.) is a 6-9, 250-pound center, who plays hard and brings a great work ethic to the squad. Matagrano averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per game last season for Blair Academy, where he led the school to a 19-4 record, as well as the program's first New Jersey Prep A state championship in school history. Matagrano, who has great size, physical presence and very good skill for a big man, graduated from Sayreville High School, where he led the program to the NJSIAA tournament in 2007-08 for the first time in five years after averaging 12 points and 12 boards per game en route to being voted the squad's MVP.

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