DURHAM, N.H. – Juniors Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) and Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) scored 21 points apiece to lead the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team to Sunday afternoon's 69-59 victory against intrastate rival Dartmouth College in non-conference action at Lundholm Gymnasium.
UNH improved to 4-0 at home and 4-4 overall while DC is now 2-8. It is the first time the Wildcats have won the first four home games of a season since the 1968-69 campaign. Dating back to last year, the ‘Cats have won seven consecutive home games to mark the second longest streak in the last 49 years (12 games; 1982-84).
Conley made 8 of 13 field goal attempts, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range, and also recorded a game-high eight rebounds. Abreu was 7-for-12 from the floor and 7 of 9 from the foul line.
Dartmouth was led by David Rufful, who shot 8-for-20 for 18 points.
New Hampshire built a 12-4 lead in the opening six minutes of the game behind nine points from Conley. After Rufful's three-point play trimmed the deficit to five points, UNH extended the lead to double digits, 17-7, on a Conley 3-pointer and Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.; nine points; four rebounds) layup.
The Big Green pulled within five points at 25-20, but senior Colbey Santos (Onset, Mass.) drilled a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats an eight-point advantage with six minutes remaining in the half. The teams then traded scores to push the game to 30-22 before UNH matched its largest lead of the half - 10 points - with four minutes remaining when Conley backed his defender in the left post and scored over a double team.
Following a basket by Kirk Crecco with 2:30 remaining, Mbiyimoh Ghogomu followed his own miss at 2:00 to pull the Big Green within 32-26 and then consecutive Ronnie Dixon layups reduced the margin to two points with 45 seconds to go in the first half.
Trailing 32-30 at halftime, Dartmouth took its first lead of the game on a three-point play by Matt LaBove (nine points, six rebounds) on the opening possession of the second half. Abreu responded with a 3-point play for the Wildcats to put the home team back in front, 35-33.
Dartmouth regained the lead, 42-41, on a layup and led by three points when DiLiegro's layup made it a one-point margin at 12:39. A Griffin jumper reestablished a three-point advantage, but then DiLiegro made another basket in the paint and completed the three-point play to level the score, 46-46. Freshman Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) stole the ensuing inbounds pass and Conley's 3-pointer put UNH back in front, 49-46, with 11:20 remaining.
The ‘Cats led by one point, 49-48, midway through the second half when they went on a 7-0 run. Onguetou sparked the spurt when he pulled down an offensive rebound and drove the right baseline for a layup. On the next possession, Abreu cut through the lane for a layup and completed the three-point play to give UNH a 54-48 advantage at 9:32. Freshman Chris Matagrano (Sayreville, N.J.) then made a pair of free throws to push the margin to eight points.
Crecco halted the run at 6:42 when his pair of foul shots lifted the Big Green within 56-50. Abreu ended a stretch of five missed consecutive UNH foul shots and then he hit a jumper in the lane to extend the lead to 59-50 with 5:03 remaining.
With UNH leading 59-52, Conley hit a jumper from the right elbow to push the advantage to nine points with 2:39 to play, but DC's Rufful responded with a basket 15 seconds later to make the score 61-54.
Abreu was fouled on an acrobatic layup at 2:03 and his subsequent free throw gave New Hampshire a double-digit lead of 64-54. Another Rufful basket in the paint pulled the Big Green within 64-56, but Rhoads made a jumper with 82 seconds to go to once again create a 10-point margin.
Rufful's 3-pointer lifted the visitors within 66-59 at 1:08. Rhoads made 1 of 2 free throws, then Abreu stole the ball and went the length of the court for a layup that gave the Wildcats a 69-59 lead with 52 seconds on the clock to secure the victory.
The Wildcats outshout Dartmouth, 53.3 percent (24-45) to 38.1 percent (24-63), including 44.4 percent (4-9) to 25 percent (2-8) from behind the arc, and also edged the Big Green, 36-30, on the glass.
New Hampshire returns to action Dec. 22 (2 p.m.) at Army. The Wildcats' next home game is Dec. 30 against Colgate. Game time at Lundholm Gymnasium is 7 p.m.