DURHAM, N.H. - Junior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) scored 17 points, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team fell to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 79-50, Wednesday evening at Lundholm Gymnasium.
The Wildcats fall to 11-16 on the season, including 5-10 in America East play, while the Retrievers snap a three-game skid to improve to 4-25 overall and 3-13 in the conference. The ‘Cats drop to 8-4 at home and have lost two straight at Lundholm for the first time since Jan. 22-Feb. 7, 2009, when they lost three in a row.
Conley, UNH's America East Player of the Game, shot 6-for-13 from the field and pulled in six rebounds. Freshman Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) added 15 points, five boards and a block in a career-high 30 minutes.
Chris De La Rosa earned America East Player of the Game honors for UMBC as he led six Retrievers in double digits with 23 points and added seven assists.
After UMBC built a 13-8 lead to start the game, Myrick buried a 3-pointer from the left wing to close the gap to two at 14:30. UNH, which held their only lead - 2-0 to start the game - until Matt Spadafora nailed a 3 to give UMBC the lead for good, would never get closer as the Retrievers rattled off a 9-0 run - with seven points from De La Rosa - to take a 22-11 lead at 11:13.
UMBC still led by 11, 29-18, with 7:14 remaining in the opening half when an 8-1 run made it 39-21 at 3:54. Three straight points from the Wildcats cut it to 15, but a 5-0 spurt from the Retrievers made it 44-24 with 1:31 to go. A dunk by junior Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) closed the scoring at 38 seconds and cut it to 44-26 at the break.
DiLiegro posted four points and eight boards. DiLiegro finished the game with 611 rebounds and moved past Pete Smilikis (603) on the Wildcats' all-time rebounding list.
De La Rosa hit a jumper to start the second half and spark a 13-0 run that ran the score to 57-26 with 15:28 remaining. A 3-pointer from Conley, followed by an alley-oop dunk from Abreu to Conley cut it to 57-31, but a 10-0 run - capped by a Robbie Jackson dunk - gave the Retrievers their largest lead of the game at 67-34 with 10:07 to play.
Back-to-back layups from Myrick and a 3 from junior Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) cut it to 67-41 at 6:20. The UMBC lead was still 26 when consecutive layups from Jackson and Chauncey Gilliam made it 77-47 with 2:11 to play. Three free throws cut it to 77-50 before Shawn Grant's jumper closed the scoring with 48 seconds left.
Abreu tallied seven points, three rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal as he saw his career-best 10-game double-digit scoring streak come to an end. Abreu finished the night with 1,107 points and passed Erie Feragne (1,105) for 17th on UNH's all-time scoring list.
Sophomore Russell Graham (Norristown, Pa.) handed out seven assists, while classmate Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) recorded four points and three boards in a solid 16 minutes off the bench.
UMBC outshot UNH, 55.2 percent (32-58) to 30.2 percent (16-53), including 50 percent (8-16) to 21.4 percent (3-14) from behind the arc. The Wildcats made it to the line 34 times, but hit just 15 of their shots (44.1 percent), while the Retrievers were 7 of 8 (87.5 percent) from the stripe. UMBC outrebounded the Wildcats, 43-33, and outscored them in the paint, 32-20. UNH did hold a 14-8 edge on the offensive glass and turned the ball over just five times, while forcing nine UMBC turnovers.
Gilliam tallied 11 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Brian Neller, Spadafora, Jackson and Grant each added 10 for the Retrievers.
The ‘Cats wrap up their regular season when they play host to Stony Brook University on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. on Senior Day. Alumni Eric Gilchrese and Tyrece Gibbs return to Lundholm following the game when their Manchester Millrats take on Keith Friel and the Rochester RazorSharks at 5 p.m.