HANOVER, N.H. – Senior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) scored 18 points and classmate Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) recorded his first double-double of the season as the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team erased a 17-point, second-half deficit to defeat Dartmouth College, 55-53, Tuesday night at Leede Arena.
The Wildcats improve to 2-0 for the first time since the 2004-05 season, while the Big Green fall to 0-2. UNH head coach Bill Herrion earned his 60th win with the program, moving into a fourth-place tie on the wins list with Bill Olsen.
Conley, who netted 11 points in the second half, pulled down six rebounds in 35 minutes. DiLiegro posted 13 points and 10 boards, and put back one of his six offensive rebounds with 1.5 seconds remaining in regulation to give his team the eventual two-point winning margin.
Jabari Trotter led Dartmouth with 18 points.
Trailing 40-23 with 15:11 to play in the second half, the Wildcats locked down the Big Green and ripped off a 20-4 run to whittle the deficit to one with 7:19 remaining. During the 8:13 span, which included a 7:13 stretch that featured a 14-0 run, the UNH defense forced Dartmouth to shoot 2-for-12 from the floor and forced four turnovers.
Conley, the America East Player of the Game, sparked the run with a 3-pointer before a jumper by Tyler Melville pushed the lead back to 16. Buckets by sophomore Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.), freshman Jordon Bronner (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) and Conley sliced it to 10, before a Bronner trey from the right wing made it 42-35 with 12:29 to play,
A pair of Myrick baskets cut it to three and a DeAndray Buckley (Romulus, Mich.) free throw drew the Wildcats to within a pair at 8:03. David Rufful's layup pushed the lead to four, before an Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) 3-pointer from straightaway made it 44-43 with 7:19 to go. The lead was back to four at 51-47 with 5:02 on the clock until Myrick's basket at 2:41 cut it to two. Myrick then sank a pair at the line on UNH's next possession to tie the game at 51.
On the following possession, Conley knocked down a jumper from the right elbow that put the Wildcats on top 53-51 with 52 second left – their first lead since they led 3-2 just 1:42 into the opening half. Rufful then answered with a jumper on the other end 14 seconds later to tie it at 53.
After the Wildcats called timeout to reset themselves with 15 seconds on the clock, they were able to get an attempt off just before the shot clock expired with under three seconds on the game clock. The ball hit the rim, which re-set the shot clock, and DiLiegro alertly grabbed the rebound and put it in the hoop with 1.5 seconds remaining to make it 55-53. Clive Weeden's half-court heave hit the front of the rim as time expired.
Myrick finished with 10 points – all in the second half on 4 of 7 shooting. Abreu tallied eight points and five rebounds, while Bronner chipped in with five points and two assists in 10 minutes. Junior Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) ripped down seven boards and blocked a pair of shots, while sophomore Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) added six rebounds and two assists.
Despite being outshot 43 percent (23-53) to 34 percent (21-62) for the game, the Wildcats shot 44 percent (14-32) from the field in the second half, while holding Dartmouth to just 27 percent (7-26) shooting.
After a Conley trifecta six minutes into the game cut Dartmouth's lead to 10-9, a 9-0 Big Green run pushed the advantage to 10 at 9:47. A Conley jumper at 6:25 cut it to 21-15, but another 9-0 run by Dartmouth gave the Big Green a 15-point lead with 2:53 to go before the break. Dartmouth would maintain that lead, heading into the locker room with a 34-19 edge. The lead climbed to 17 on a 3-pointer by Trotter at 16:33 of the second half before the UNH defense took over and helped the 'Cats back into the game.
Dartmouth outshot UNH, 59 percent (16-27) to 23 percent (7-30), in the first half. The Wildcats won the battle on the glass, 44-33.
Abreu finished the night with 1,172 career points and moved past Matt Acres (1,169) for 13th place on UNH's all-time scoring list.
The Wildcats return to action Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. when they play host to the College of the Holy Cross at Lundholm Gymnasium.