VESTAL, N.Y. - Junior Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) scored 21 points, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team suffered a 76-73 overtime defeat at Binghamton University on Saturday evening in front of 4,811 fans at the Events Center.
The Wildcats, who also absorbed a 70-69 overtime loss at the Events Center last year, fall to 8-11 on the season, including 3-5 in America East play. The last four games in Binghamton between the two teams have now been decided by a total of nine points, including the two overtime tilts. The Bearcats improve to 10-13 overall and 5-3 in the conference.
Abreu, UNH's America East Player of the Game, scored his points on 7 of 17 shooting, including 3 of 7 from beyond the arc, while making all four of his free throws and adding five rebounds. Classmate Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) shot 5-for-10 from the floor and 7-for-8 at the line en route to 17 points. DiLiegro also pulled in eight rebounds, including five on the offensive end. Freshman Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) added a career-high 16 points on 5 of 9 shooting, including 2 of 2 from deep, while going 4-for-5 from the line and recording four rebounds in 18 minutes.
Greer Wright, Binghamton's America East Player of the Game, led the Bearcats with 29 points, eight boards, five assists and two steals.
UNH trailed 58-51 with 6:00 remaining in regulation when it ripped off an 11-1 run to get back in the game. A baseline jumper from senior Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) cut it to five before Dylan Talley made 1 of 2 at the line to make the lead six with just under five minutes to go. Consecutive 3-pointers from Abreu, followed by another from Myrick, put the Wildcats in control with a 62-59 lead at 2:32.
Binghamton responded, however, receiving a three-point play from Moussa Camara to knot the game at 62 just 21 seconds later. DiLiegro then pulled down an offensive rebound and was sent to the line where he sank both to put UNH up by a pair with 1:11 left. Just 16 seconds later, Chretien Lukusa drilled a 3 from the left corner to give Binghamton a 65-64 lead.
Myrick then got to the line where he knocked down two and put the Wildcats up one with 36 seconds remaining. Wright then was fouled on a drive to the hoop, but after making the first he missed the next one and left the game tied at 66 with 25 ticks on the clock.UNH pushed the ball and found Myrick near the right baseline where he had a good look at the game-winner, but it hit the back of the rim and sent the game to an extra session.
Abreu kicked off the overtime scoring with a pair of free throws at 2:59 before back-to-back layups, including a three-point play, from Pina Guillaume gave the Bearcats a 71-68 lead with 2:01 to play. A Myrick jumper then pulled UNH within one with 58 seconds to go before a three-point play from Talley opened up a 74-70 lead for Binghamton with just 21 seconds remaining.
Myrick came up huge again, however, burying a step-back 3 with 12 seconds left to slice the deficit to one. The Wildcats fouled and sent Wright to the line where he made both and put Binghamton up 76-73 with nine seconds to go. UNH had one final shot at it, getting the ball to Abreu, who set up for a straightaway 3-pointer, but looked to be hit as he released, sending the ball straight into the air as the final horn sounded.
Onguetou posted six points and tied his career high with 12 rebounds, including four on the offensive end.
After Binghamton began the game on a 6-0 run, the Wildcats pulled to within 12-8 before a 3-pointer from junior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) sparked a 14-1 run that gave his team a 22-13 lead with 8:36 to go in the first half. DiLiegro followed with a basket that gave UNH its first lead at 13-12 with 11:53 remaining, and then a Myrick jumper and DiLiegro layup widened the advantage to 17-12. Lukusa's free throw cut it to four before a three-point play from Myrick and a layup from Onguetou closed the run and gave the Wildcats what ended up as their largest lead of the night.
Still up by nine, 28-19, with 4:11 left in the opening half, UNH saw its lead cut to five after four straight points from the Bearcats. DiLiegro and Talley traded buckets, followed by free throws from sophomore Russell Graham (Norristown, Pa.) and DiLiegro that pushed the lead back to seven. Wright knocked down a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left, however, to cut the deficit to 32-28 at the break. The Wildcats fell to 8-2 when holding a halftime lead.
Graham finished the game with five points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals.
After DiLiegro opened the second-half scoring with a pair of free throws, Binghamton crafted a 7-2 run - capped by a Wright 3-pointer - to climb back within one at 36-35 with 16:52 remaining. UNH answered back with a 7-0 run that featured a jumper from Abreu, a 3-pointer from Conley and a layup from Graham, and opened a 43-35 lead at 14:23.
Binghamton went back to work, however, putting together a 9-0 run with five points from Wright and four from Camara, to grab a 44-43 lead at 11:13. Two free throws from DiLiegro and another from Myrick put UNH up two, but Wright sank a pair at the line to tie it at 46 with 9:34 remaining. A layup from Mahamoud Jabbi put the Bearcats up two, but an Abreu 3-pointer leapfrogged the Wildcats in front, 49-48, at 8:52. Wright and Abreu traded a pair at the line to keep UNH up one, but a Lukusa layup sparked an 8-0 run that gave Binghamton its largest lead of the contest at 58-51 with 6:00 left and set the stage for the Wildcats' furious comeback.
Conley finished with eight points.
Abreu's performance gave him 980 career points and put him within range of becoming the 27th Wildcat in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau in the team's next game.
Binghamton outshot UNH, 45.2 percent (28-62) to 41.4 percent (24-58), but the Wildcats held a 36.8 percent (7-19) to 17.6 percent (3-17) advantage from behind the arc. UNH also shot a season-high 85.7 percent (18-21) from the line and outrebounded the Bearcats, 38-35.
Camara, Lukusa and Talley all chipped in with 10 points apiece for the Bearcats.
The Wildcats return to action Thursday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. when they take on Boston University in their first-ever game against the Terriers at Agganis Arena. The game will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet.