BALTIMORE, Md. - Junior Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) scored a game-high 22 points to lead the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team to a 62-58 win against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Thursday evening at RAC Arena.
The Wildcats grab their first road win of 2009-10 to improve to 7-10 on the season, including 2-4 in America East play. They also snapped a three-game losing streak at the RAC, which featured contests that were decided by a total of nine points. The Retrievers drop their ninth straight game to fall to 1-18 overall and 0-6 in the conference.
Abreu, UNH's America East Player of the Game, was 7-for-18 from the floor, including 2-for-6 from behind the arc, and tallied four rebounds and an assist. Freshman Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) added a career-best 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting, including 2 of 3 from deep, while recording two rebounds, a block and a steal in 19 minutes. Junior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) posted 14 points, six boards, a block and a steal.
Chauncey Gilliam led UMBC with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Matt Spadafora earned America East Player of the Game honors for the Retrievers with seven points and 10 boards.
UNH led 30-29 at halftime - improving to 7-1 when ahead at the break - but UMBC jumped on top when Gilliam opened the second half with a jumper. Conley responded with a 3-pointer to regain the lead for the Wildcats at 33-31. The ‘Cats led 40-35 after a steal in the open court and a dunk from Abreu, but an 8-0 run - sparked by a Chris De La Rosa jumper - gave the Retrievers a 43-40 lead with 10:22 to play.
Myrick then stopped the bleeding and sparked a 12-0 run when he drove to the hoop, took contact, made the layup and converted the three-point play at the line. Conley followed with a 3 that gave the Wildcats the lead for good before Myrick had a hand in the final three plays to end the run. After making a steal in the open court, Myrick took it in for a layup, then set up junior Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) with a quick pass that led to a dunk before hitting a runner in the lane to cap the run and make it 52-43 with 7:08 remaining.
UMBC came back with an 8-0 run, however, that was capped by a Spadafora layup, which sliced the UNH lead to 52-51 with 2:44 left. Abreu then stepped up and made what might have been the biggest shot of the night when he drained a 3-pointer from the right wing that gave the Wildcats some breathing room at 2:14.
After De La Rosa made 1 of 2 at the line, Abreu sank both of his free throws to open the Wildcat lead to 57-52 with 38 seconds left. Gilliam then hit 1 of 2 at the stripe before Abreu made another pair to bring the score to 59-53 with 25 seconds on the clock. Robbie Jackson's baseline jumper cut UMBC's deficit to four and Abreu made 1 of 2 at the line to make it 60-55 with 13 ticks left. Gilliam nailed a 3 to cut it to two with six seconds remaining, but sophomore Russell Graham (Norristown, Pa.) sealed the victory with a pair of free throws with 1.8 to go.
Senior Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) kicked off the scoring with a basket inside before a pair of jumpers from Abreu put the Wildcats on top 6-2 to start the game. The teams battled back and forth, with neither squad going up by more than three until an 8-2 run put UNH up 22-18 with 7:03 remaining in the opening half. Trailing 16-14, Myrick knocked down consecutive 3-pointers and Abreu sank a jumper to build the four-point lead.
Jackson drained a pair at the line, but Abreu responded with a 3 to put the Wildcats up 25-20 with 6:24 left. Gilliam hit a pair at the stripe to cut it to three, but Conley came back and knocked down a trey to make it 30-24. UMBC scored the final five points of the half, however, to climb within one at the break.
DiLiegro and Onguetou each chipped in with four points, while adding six and five rebounds, respectively. Graham tallied two points, four boards and three assists.
Jackson added 13 points for UMBC.
The Wildcats outshot the Retrievers, 37.3 percent (22-59) to 36.4 percent (20-55), including 30.4 percent (7-23) to 11.1 percent (1-9) from behind the arc. UNH also won the battle on the glass, 39-36, and its bench outscored UMBC's, 20-15. The Retrievers outscored the Wildcats, 22-18, in the paint and turned the ball over nine times while forcing 10 turnovers.
The ‘Cats return to action Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. when they play host to the University of Vermont at Lundholm Gymnasium. Both teams will observe Coaches Versus Cancer in a game that will air live on NESN.