FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Sophomore Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) recorded 10 points and six rebounds, and senior Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) posted eight points and eight boards, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season, 50-42, at Sacred Heart University on Tuesday evening at the William H. Pitt Center.
The Wildcats fall to 3-1 on the young season, while the Pioneers improve to 1-4 in their home opener.
Jerrell Thompson poured in 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead Sacred Heart.
Leading 10-8 just 5:51 into the game, Sacred Heart, which never trailed in the contest, used a 5-0 spurt to push its lead to seven with 11:15 to play in the opening half. The Wildcats answered, however, with a three-point play from DiLiegro and a layup from Myrick, the America East Player of the Game, that made it 15-13 with 9:06 to go.
From there, however, the Pioneers used an 18-3 run to open the game up and grab a 33-16 lead with 1:38 to play in the half. Thompson netted 11 of his 13 first-half points during the run, including a 3 to cap it. A 3-pointer by freshman Scott Morris (Walkersville, Md.) just 14 seconds later stopped the bleeding, but the Pioneers scored the final three points of the half to take a 36-19 advantage into the break. Sacred Heart was winning the battle on the glass, 27-13, including 10-3 on the offensive end, at halftime.
UNH stormed out of the locker room on a 15-2 run, scoring eight straight before Thompson hit Sacred Heart's first shot of the half, 5:05 in. That was followed by seven straight Wildcat points that cut their deficit to 38-34 with 11:56 to play. With the gap still at four 1:57 later, Sacred Heart scored four straight – all at the line – to push its lead up to 44-36 with 4:58 remaining.
Despite allowing just one field goal the rest of the way, the Wildcats would not get closer than six as the Pioneers snatched five offensive rebounds in the final 3:32 to whittle away the clock. The 'Cats held Sacred Heart to 2 of 14 (14 percent) from the field in the second half.
Morris chipped in a season-best six points on 2 of 4 shooting from deep. Senior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) added nine points and three assists.
Sacred Heart won the rebounding battle, 44-30, including 15-11 on the offensive glass. The Pioneers also held a slight shooting edge at 33 percent (14-43) to 28 percent (14-50).
The Wildcats return to action Saturday, Nov. 27 at 1 p.m. when they play host to Brown University at Lundholm Gymnasium.