December 4, 2010

Men's Basketball Opens December at Cotterell Court against Colgate (Dec. 4)

COMPLETE GAME NOTES

DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will play the second half of its two-game road set when it meets Colgate University at Cotterell Court on Saturday, Dec. 4 (2 p.m.). Links to live audio and live video, as well as live stats, will be available at www.UNHWildcats.com. 

The Wildcats and Raiders meet for the 31st time in the history of the two programs, with UNH holding an 18-12 advantage. The 'Cats have won three of the last four overall, including two straight, and five of seven in the decade. Before 2002, the teams had not squared off in 12 years after meeting every season from 1976-1990. While the series is tied 7-7 at Colgate, the Wildcats have won two straight and three of the last four at Cotterell Court, including the last meeting there Dec. 3, 2008 when UNH erased a four-point deficit with 2:04 remaining to score a 57-54 victory. In the most recent meeting Dec. 30, 2009, UNH grabbed a 63-55 win at Lundholm Gymnasium.

Junior Alvin Abreu led the 'Cats with 24 points.

The Wildcats, who improved to 5-0 at Lundholm to match their best home start since the 1968-69 season and also extend their home winning streak to eight games, evened their record at 5-5. That marked the first time the 'Cats had reached New Year's Day at .500 or better since they started the 1997-98 season at 5-5. UNH dropped the Raiders to 1-10 on the season by beating them for the third time in four contests and the first time at home since Jan. 5, 2002.

With the win, head coach Bill Herrion earned his 50th career victory at UNH and became just the second coach in program history to record 50 wins in less than five full seasons. Gerry Friel, UNH's all-time winningest coach, won 61 games in his first five years in Durham.

Abreu was named the America East Player of the Game on his birthday after he was 7-for-13 from the field and made a career-best 10 of his 12 free throws to go along with a career-high tying eight rebounds and a pair of assists. Classmate Tyrone Conley added 13 points and four rebounds as both he and Abreu extended their double-digit scoring streaks to five games apiece.

Ben Johnson and Kyle Roemer led Colgate with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

UNH opened the game on a 6-0 streak that was capped by a Conley 3-pointer at 15:49. The Raiders were held without a field goal until 14:06 when a Nick Pascale layup sparked a 9-0 run that gave Colgate a three-point lead at 11:42. Abreu completed a three-point play 1:15 later to cap a 5-0 Wildcat run that put them back on top, 11-9.

Roemer answered back with a 3 at 9:54, but that was the last lead Colgate would have as an alley-oop dunk from sophomore Russell Graham to Conley at 7:07 gave UNH a 14-12 lead that it would hold for the remainder of the game. The play was part of an 8-0 run, capped by a Graham jumper at 4:42, which put the Wildcats up 19-12. The Raiders scored the next six to slice their deficit to one, but a trey from senior Colbey Santos jump-started another 8-0 run that would close the first-half scoring and give UNH a 27-18 lead heading into the break. UNH is now a perfect 5-0 when leading at the half.

After Colgate started the second half with a pair of free throws, respective layups by junior Dane DiLiegro and sophomore Brian Benson bookended a 12-2 UNH run that opened up a 39-22 Wildcat lead at 16:47. The Raiders cut it to 41-27 before a Santos three-point play and DiLiegro layup gave UNH its largest lead of the night at 46-27 with 12:23 remaining.

From there, however, a Roemer jumper ignited an 11-0 run that spanned 6:51 and cut Colgate's deficit to eight with 6:47 on the clock. Abreu scored UNH's next six points as the Wildcats went up 52-41 with 3:26 left. After Roemer drilled a deep 3 with 1:10 on the clock to cut it to eight, Colgate began fouling and received 3-pointers from Johnson and Mitch Rolls to climb within 59-55 with 32 seconds remaining. The Wildcats made four of their final six free throws and forced the Raiders to miss all four of their shots the rest of the way to seal the 63-55 win.

DiLiegro recorded eight points and 10 boards, Santos chipped in with seven points and Graham posted five points and six rebounds. Senior Radar Onguetou pulled in eight boards and was the third Wildcat with at least eight rebounds as the 'Cats held a 46-31 advantage on the glass to improve to 5-1 when outrebounding their opponent.

LAST TIME OUT

Sophomore Ferg Myrick poured in a season-high 19 points, including 16 in the second half, as the Wildcats pushed the seventh-ranked University of Connecticut to the brink, but came up short, 62-55, Nov. 30 at Gampel Pavilion.

The Wildcats, who held UConn to its lowest scoring output of the season, dropped to 4-1. UNH, which never trailed in the first half, led at the 14:08 mark in the second half and trailed by just one with 8:24 to play in the contest. Despite the scare from UNH, the Huskies, who jumped to No. 7 in the latest poll after winning the Maui Invitational last week, remained perfect on the year at 6-0.

UConn, which went to the free throw line 20 more times than the Wildcats, entered the contest averaging 81.0 points per game and had not scored fewer than 70 in any game all season. UNH's seven-point margin of defeat was the smallest of any of the America East schools the Huskies have played this season (Vermont – 16, Stony Brook – 27).

UNH lost despite converting three more field goals, including five more 3-pointers, than the Huskies. The Wildcats also held a 39-38 edge in the rebounding department, including 18-12 on the offensive glass, and turned the ball over just 13 times, while forcing 12 UConn turnovers.

Myrick, the America East Player of the Game, was 7-for-17 from the field, including 6-for-9 in the second half. Myrick was also 3-for-4 from deep and 2 of 3 at the line, while matching his career best with eight rebounds and setting a new career high with four steals. Myrick has now scored in double figures all six games to begin the year, the first Wildcat to do so since Austin Ganly in 2000-01.

Kemba Walker, who came in averaging 30.0 ppg, finished with 30 points on 7-for-16 shooting, including 2 of 5 from deep. Walker was also 14 of 16 from the charity stripe to go along with five rebounds, three steals and two assists.

The Wildcats led 7-6 just 4:10 into the contest when baskets by senior James Valladares and freshman Jordon Bronner, followed by a 3-pointer from the right wing by Myrick, extended their lead to 14-6 with 12:14 remaining.

The Huskies closed to within 18-15 when Valladares, who had the final 10 points of the half for UNH, canned a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 4:15 to play to open the Wildcat lead back up to six.

A 6-0 UConn run, including four points from Walker, tied the game, but another Valladares trey with 6.7 seconds on the clock gave UNH a 24-21 lead. Walker knocked down a jumper as time expired to cap the scoring. The Wildcats held their 24-23 halftime lead largely in part due to the 25-19 advantage they owned on the glass, including 9-3 on the offensive end.

Valladares finished with a career-high 12 points – all in the opening half – on 5 of 7 shooting, including 2 of 4 from behind the arc, and also tallied three rebounds and an assist in 24 minutes.

After a Walker layup just 12 seconds into the second half gave UConn its first lead of the game, a layup and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions by Myrick put UNH on top 29-25 with 17:23 remaining. After a pair of Walker free throws, a three-point play from senior Dane DiLiegro pushed the lead to five. DiLiegro then scored another tough bucket inside at 16:01 to stretch the UNH advantage to 34-28.

A put-back dunk and a layup by Alex Oriakhi sliced UConn's deficit to two before a three-point play by Shabazz Napier gave the Huskies the lead for good at 35-34 with 14:08 to play. Another Oriakhi basket capped the 9-0 run before a Myrick layup at 13:24 brought the Wildcats to within 37-36.

Walker then knocked down a 3-pointer before a Napier layup pushed the UConn lead to six with 12:27 to play. The lead was five at 49-44 when a Tyrone Conley 3-pointer followed a Myrick layup to slice the UNH deficit to 49-48 with 8:24 on the clock.

From there, however, an 8-0 UConn run, including seven points from Walker, expanded the Huskies' lead to 57-48 with 3:05 remaining. The lead was eight when a Myrick 3-pointer from the left wing with 1:00 on the clock made it 58-53. DiLiegro then followed two Walker free throws with a tip-in to keep the deficit at five with 32 seconds left, but another pair of Walker free throws four seconds later closed the scoring.

DiLiegro posted seven points and 10 boards, while Conley tallied eight points, four rebounds and three assists. Junior Brian Benson added five points and six boards.

UConn outshot UNH, 38 percent (19-50) to 34 percent (22-64), but the Wildcats made 50 percent (8-16) of their 3-pointers, while the Huskies were 30 percent (3-10) from deep.

ONE MORE TO 300

Head coach Bill Herrion needs one more win to reach 300 for his career. The 20-year bench boss will become the 284th college basketball head coach, including the 72nd active head coach, to reach the 300-win plateau. Herrion already has reached one milestone against Colgate, winning his 50th career game at UNH in a 63-55 win at Lundholm Gymnasium on Dec. 30, 2009.

FAST START

The Wildcats have started 4-2 for the first time since the 2004-05 season and just the third time since 1973-74. UNH has not been 5-2 since the 1994-95 season and has been 5-2 just twice since 1940-41.

NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER
The Wildcats closed out the month of November with a 4-2 record, their first ever four-win November and just their ninth winning November in the last 39 years.

UNCONSTITUTIONAL OR JUST ROCK SOLID?

The Wildcats are 0-2 this season in games played in the state of Connecticut, while they are a perfect 4-0 in the rest of their contests, all of which have been played in The Granite State.

DOUBLING UP

Sophomore Ferg Myrick has scored in double-digits in all six games to start the season. The last time a Wildcat began a season with six straight double-digit scoring games was 2000-01 when Austin Ganly scored in double figures the first 12 games of the year. Myrick has now netted 10-plus points in seven straight and nine of 10 dating back to last season.

TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS

Heading into Saturday's contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 559 consecutive games, a streak that spans 20 years. The last time the 'Cats did not tally a trey was in a 59-47 loss to Dartmouth College on Jan. 8, 1991, when they were 0-for-3 from behind the arc. The NCAA record is currently 779 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.

'CATS AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS

The Wildcats are currently leading the America East conference in scoring margin (+4.3), points allowed per game (55.0),  3-point field goal shooting defense (.266) and turnovers per game (12.7), and are second in field goal percentage defense (.384). Individually, a handful of 'Cats are among the top 10 in a number of categories. Dane DiLiegro is first in rebounding (9.2), Tyrone Conley is first in steals per game (2.3), DiLiegro is fifth in free throw percentage (.824), Chandler Rhoads is sixth in assists (2.7), Conley is eighth in assists (2.5), Ferg Myrick is ninth in 3-point field goal percentage (.381), and Conley is ninth in 3-point field goals made per game (1.8) and 10th in minutes per game (32.8).

NEARLY SOMETHING SPECIAL

The Wildcats came very close to knocking off the No. 7-ranked team in the country when they took UConn to the wire before falling 62-55 at Gampel Pavilion on Nov. 30. The Wildcats, who never trailed in the first half, led at the 14:08 mark in the second half and trailed by just one with 8:24 to play in the contest. The 62-point output was the smallest for the Huskies to that point in the season.

THIS CLOSE

How epic would the win against UConn have been for the Wildcats? It would have been the program's first win ever against a ranked opponent, but what's more is that entering the contest, UConn was 112-4 against non-conference New England opponents during the Jim Calhoun era, in addition to owning a 134-18 record, including 65-4 against non-conference foes, all-time at Gampel Pavilion.

WALKING THE LINE

Against UConn on Nov. 30, Kemba Walker — the nation's leading scorer coming into the game (30.0 ppg) — netted 30 points, but picked up 14 of them at the charity stripe. While Walker was 7 of 16 from the floor, the rest of his team combined for 32 points on 12 of 34 shooting.

LINING UP

Despite converting three more field goals, including five more 3-pointers, holding a 39-38 edge in the rebounding department, including 18-12 on the offensive glass, and turning the ball over just 13 times, while forcing 12 turnovers, the Wildcats suffered a 62-55 loss at No. 7 UConn on Nov. 30. How? UConn sank 18 more free throws after being sent to the line 20 more times than UNH.

SURPRISE!

Prior to tipping off with UConn on Nov. 30, the Wildcats were shooting 24.8 percent (26-105) from behind then arc. The 'Cats then proceeded to shoot 50 percent (8-16) from deep against the Huskies.

FITTING IN

Sophomore Ferg Myrick looked like he belonged, especially in the second half, when the Wildcats battled seventh-ranked UConn on Nov. 30. Myrick poured in a season-high 19 points, including 16 in the second half on 6 of 9 shooting, against the Big East power. Myrick also set career highs in 3-pointers made (3) and steals (4), while matching his career best with eight rebounds.

WHEN THE LIGHTS GO ON

Senior James Valladares scored a career-high 12 points — all in the first half — in the Wildcats' 62-55 loss at No. 7 UConn on Nov. 30. Valladares made five of his first six shots and netted UNH's final 10 points of the half.

MOVIN' ON UP

Senior Dane DiLiegro grabbed 10 boards at UConn on Nov. 30 to move past Matt Acres, who recorded 680 rebounds from 1994-98, and into sixth place on UNH's all-time list.

CLOSE AND LATE

After going 15-32 since the start of the 2005-06 season, the Wildcats are a perfect 3-0 this year in games decided by five points or less.

LOVEABLE LUNDHOLM

The Wildcats are 15-4 (.789) in their last 19 home contests dating back to 2008-09. The 'Cats finished last season 9-4 at home, their best mark since the 1994-95 campaign when they were 8-2 in Durham.

ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR DOUBLE D

In the Wildcats' 70-66 win against Brown on Nov. 27, senior Dane DiLiegro posted his second double-double of the season (10th of his career), as well as his second game-winning basket of 2010-11. DiLiegro reached game and season highs in both points and rebounds with 23 points and 12 boards. DiLiegro, who gave UNH a 55-53 victory at Dartmouth on Nov. 16 with a layup with 1.5 seconds remaining, made the go-ahead bucket with 2.8 seconds on the clock.

STEALING THE SHOW

In the 70-66 win against Brown on Nov. 27, senior Tyrone Conley, who poured in a season-high 19 points, tallied a career-high five steals, including one off a Brown inbounds pass at midcourt with one second remaining that sealed the victory.

HOLDIN' IT DOWN

The Wildcats held their first four opponents of the season under 55 points for the first time since the 1947-48 season when they held their first six opponents under 55.

LATE BLOOMERS

For the second time on the road this year, the Wildcats attempted to erase a 17-point deficit and used a big run to get back into the game at Sacred Heart on Nov. 23. Trailing 36-19 at the half, the 'Cats stormed out of the locker room on a 15-2 run that spanned the first 8:52 of the half. During that stretch, UNH forced 10 turnovers and caused Sacred Heart to shoot 1-for-5 (.200) from the floor. Overall, the Wildcats allowed just two second-half field goals as the Pioneers shot 2-for-14 (.143) and went 12:24 between those two makes. The 'Cats are outscoring their opponents 157-119 in the second half this season, including 31.4-23.8 per game.

FIRST THREE

The Wildcats won their first three games of the season for the first time since the 1971-72 campaign. The 'Cats also held all three oponents under 55 points, the first time they started 3-0 and allowed fewer than 55 points in each game since the 1931-32 season.

HERRION CLIMBING WINS LIST

By defeating Holy Cross, 55-52, Nov. 20, head coach Bill Herrion recorded his 61st victory at UNH and moved into fourth on the school's all-time wins list, passing Bill Olsen, who won 60 games in six seasons from 1960-66. Herrion now trails only Gerry Friel (188), William Cowell (119), and Henry Swasey (108) in the record books.

FEAT CONFIRMED

The Wildcats held their opponents to 62.4 ppg last year, the lowest since the 1950-51 season when they limited foes to 60.3 ppg. Records prior to 1960-61 were incomplete at the end of last season.

TOUGH BREAK

The Wildcats and senior guard Alvin Abreu were struck by some unfortunate luck in theit game at Dartmouth on Nov. 16. Abreu tore the ACL in his right knee during the second half and will miss the rest of the season.

WELL AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

With their 55-53 win at Darmouth on Nov. 16, the Wildcats recorded their first road win of the year in just their second game of the season and first on the road. Last season, the 'Cats were not victorious away from Durham until Jan. 21 at UMBC, which was their 17th game overall and 10th on the road.

COMEBACK KIDS

In their 55-53 win at Dartmouth on Nov. 16, the Wildcats erased a 17-point, second-half deficit to grab the win. It was the team's largest comeback since Jan. 18, 2007 when it demolished a 15-point deficit at Binghamon to record a 75-72 victory. 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.

DOUBLE DOWN

Senior Dane DiLiegro posted the ninth double-double of his career and first of 2010-11 with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the Wildcats' 55-53 win at Dartmouth on Nov. 16. DiLiegro also had a put-back basket with 1.5 seconds remaining in regulation to give his team the win.

HOME, SWEET HOME

With their 79-47 victory against Lesley on Nov. 13, the Wildcats  win their fourth straight home opener and start the season at Lundholm Gymnasium 1-0.

LOCKDOWN DRILL

The Wildcats, who were second in the league last season with 62.4 points allowed per game - a mark that was the program's lowest since the 1950-51 season, once again set the tone for the season on the defensive end of the floor in their opener versus Lesley on Nov. 13. The 'Cats held the Lynx to 37.3 percent (19-51) shooting, including 12.5 percent (1-8) from deep, and forced 25 turnovers. During a 14-0 run early in the second half, UNH caused five turnovers and forced Lesley to shoot 0-for-5 from the field.

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

Coming off a 2009-10 campaign which saw him earn America East All-Conference Second Team honors after bumping his scoring average to 14.4 ppg, Alvin Abreu kicked off the season with a 20-point performance against Lesley on Nov. 13. Abreu was 5-for-11 from the field, including 2 of 5 from deep, and went a perfect 8-for-8 from the line.

PICKING UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF

After a 2009-10 season in which he earned America East All-Rookie Team honors and led the team in points per minute (0.53) after playing well down the stretch, Ferg Myrick made just his second career start against Lesley on Nov. 13 and dropped 18 points on 8 of 14 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, including five on the offensive end.

FILLIN' IT UP

In his first collegiate game, DeAndray Buckley filled the stat line in a solid 15 minutes. Buckley tallied three points, seven rebounds, two assists, a pair of blocks and a steal.

HERRION VS. WILDCATS' 2010-11 OPPONENTS

Coming into the season, Bill Herrion owns a 112-78 (.589) record against the Wildcats' possible 2010-11 opponents.

CONFERENCE COACHING CONQUESTS

Head coach Bill Herrion is currently tops among active coaches and third overall in America East regular season conference victories. Herrion's 137 conference wins are far and away better than the league's other eight coaches, with Albany's Will Brown the next closest with 64. Overall, Herrion sits behind only former Boston University head coach Dennis Wolff (152) and long-time Vermont head man Tom Brennan (147).

DUSTING OFF THE RECORD BOOKS

After winning 13 games last year, the Wildcats have now posted four double-digit win seasons in a five-year span for the first time since 1969-70 to 1973-74. They have also put together a streak of seven straight nine-plus win seasons for the first time since 1918-19 to 1926-27.

MORE HOME COOKIN'

With an average of 1,126 fans visiting Lundholm Gymnasium each game last season, it was the largest average attendance since it reached 1,787 during the 1995-96 season. Paired with the 1,002 average attendance of 2008-09, it was the first time the average attendance has reached 1,000 in back-to-back seasons since the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons. The 14,642 total fans to attend games at Lundholm last year also marked the largest total attendance since 21,442 came through the doors in 1995-96. With 13,029 in attendance in 2008-09, it was the first time in consecutive years that the total attendance has reached 13,000 since 1994-95 and 1995-96.

HOOPS FOR HOPE

The University of New Hampshire's Wildcat Sports Properties and Holy Rosary Credit Union (HRCU) have teamed up to create a community-inspired basketball promotion to benefit the St. Charles Children's Home with a donation of $1 for every point scored by the UNH men's basketball team throughout the season.

"We're proud to partner with UNH's Wildcat Sports to provide support for St. Charles Children's Home in Rochester. Hoops for Hope is our way of showing our commitment to sports, education and the children of the communities we serve," said Brian Hughes, President and CEO of HRCU.

After each game, the points scored will be tallied and recorded on a "Hoops for Hope" banner housed in Lundholm Gymnasium. So far this season, $356 has been donated.

DEMPSEY ON COLLEGE CHALKTALK

Associate Head Coach Ken Dempsey will be blogging at various points of the season on College Chalktalk. To follow along with Dempsey's entries, visit www.CollegeChalkTalk.com/coachesDiary/new_hampshire.

UNH HOOPS ON WILDCATS.TV

UNH and Pack Network have once again partnered to provide online video streaming of UNH's seven ticketed sports for the upcoming 2009-10 season with UNHwildcats.Tv. Wildcat fans are encouraged to buy the "Wildcat All-Access Pass" which is an annual subscription for $89.95 that provides all the live coverage of UNH home athletic events. Fans can also purchase home events on a per game basis of $7.95.

WILDCAT BASKETBALL ON THE AIR

In the summer of 1999, the University of New Hampshire Athletic Department formed the "UNH Sports Network" — the largest network ever to broadcast UNH sporting events. Wildcats Sports Properties has added WGIN-AM 930 (Rochester) and WQSO-FM 96.7 (Portsmouth) as flagship stations on the Wildcat Sports Network, joining WGIR-AM 610 (Manchester), which was added in 2008. All three stations are part of the Clear Channel family and this change will go into effect at the beginning of the 2009-10 season. These three aforementioned stations – along with WUVR-AM 1490 (Lebanon), WNTK-FM 99.7 (New London) and WCNL-AM 1010 (Newport) – will carry the following: all UNH football & men's hockey broadcasts and weekly coaches' shows, a select number of men's basketball, women's basketball, and women's hockey broadcasts, as well as "Wildcat Sports Today", a three-minute daily update concerning UNH athletics. The games can also be heard on the internet at www.UNHWildcats.com, through a service from Stretch Internet. Stretch has also partnered with UNH to develop a podcast page for UNH fans to listen to archived broadcasts. Veteran play-by-play man Jim Jeannotte will return for his 30th year broadcasting UNH men's basketball. Jeannotte will be joined by color analyst Mike Murphy, who enters his 11th season calling Wildcat men's hoop.

WILDCAT BASKETBALL STREAMING LIVE

UNHWildcats.com, via Stretch Internet Broadcast, will carry 10 UNH men's basketball home games, as well as a pair of road contests this season. If you cannot attend Wildcat basketball, you can still tune into the game from anywhere you can gain access to the internet. Fans can get to the UNH men's basketball broadcast site by going to the men's basketball schedule page at www.UNHWildcats.com.

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