WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Freshman Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored 13 points, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team dropped a 57-38 decision to the University of Vermont in an America East Championship semifinal contest Sunday night at the University of Hartford's Chase Arena.
The Wildcats, who were playing in their seventh semifinal and second in as many years for
the first time in 15 seasons, wrap up their season at 13-17. The Catamounts improved to 24-9 and will play host to No. 4 Boston University in the America East championship game at noon next Saturday at Patrick Gymnasium on ESPN2.
Myrick went 7-for-8 at the line, pulled in a team-high five rebounds and added a block in 26 minutes off the bench. Junior Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) tallied nine points, three boards, an assist and a block.
Garvey Young netted a game-high 15 points to go along with eight rebounds for Vermont, while Evan Fjeld posted 14 points and six boards.
After Young started the scoring with a layup 2:05 into the game, the Wildcats struck back with an 8-0 run that was sparked with a jumper by senior Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon). Senior Colbey Santos (Onset, Mass.), who played in his last collegiate game, followed with a 3-pointer before junior Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) converted a three-point play to cap the stretch at 15:22.
From there, however, the UNH offense, which was without junior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) due to injury, went stagnant for an eight-minute stretch. Vermont capitalized with a 17-0 run that was sparked by a jumper from Fjeld, who added six points during the run, which made it 19-8 at 8:02. A Marqus Blakely layup at 10:31 gave the Catamounts the lead for good.
Santos snapped the run with a jumper and Myrick followed with a pair of free throws that brought the score to 19-12 with 6:34 remaining. Young made 1 of 2 at the line before a runner from sophomore Russell Graham (Norristown, Pa.) cut the deficit to 20-14 at 4:46. Vermont still led by six when Abreu's jumper with 21 seconds on the clock capped the scoring and brought the Wildcats to within 24-20 at the break.
Santos chipped in with five points, two rebounds and an assist, while DiLiegro added five points and four boards.
Vermont scored the first nine points of the second half to widen its advantage to 33-20 with 15:51 remaining. A layup from Abreu and a three-point play from Myrick sliced the deficit to eight at 14:01, before Fjeld and DiLiegro traded baskets to make it 35-27 with 12:38 to play. Graham then fed classmate Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) for an alley-oop dunk to cut it to six at 11:33, but a 6-0 spurt from the Catamounts made it 41-29 midway through the half.
With the lead still at 12 (45-33) with 6:44 to play, Young sparked a 7-0 run that was capped by a Nick Vier 3-pointer, which gave Vermont its largest lead of the night at 52-33 with 3:24 left. Abreu followed with a 3, but Vier answered it with one of his own and the Wildcats would not get any closer.
UNH again did a good job defending Blakely, the two-time America East Player of the Year, as he was held to eight points and four rebounds.
Vermont outshot the Wildcats, 47.1 percent (24-51) to 27.7 percent (13-47), including 56.5 percent (13-23) to 24 percent (6-25) in the second half. The Catamounts also held a 36-18 scoring advantage in the paint and won the battle on the glass, 37-30.
Abreu finished with 1,144 points to pass Dave Pemberton (1,136) for 14th place on UNH’s all-time scoring list.