HAMILTON, N.Y. – Senior Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) scored 20 points and sophomore Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) added 17 as the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team defeated Colgate University on Saturday afternoon at Cotterell Court.
The victory was number 300 of his career for head coach Bill Herrion. The 20-year head man is the 72nd active head coach and 284th all time to reach the milestone.
The Wildcats improve to 5-2 on the season, the program's first 5-2 start since 1994-95 and just its third since the 1940-41 campaign. The team's 2-2 start on the road is also its best since 1994-95. The Raiders fall to 0-6 on the season.
DiLiegro, the America East Player of the Game, narrowly missed his third double-double of the season as he pulled in nine rebounds. DiLiegro was an efficient 4 of 7 from the field and tallied three steals in 31 minutes. He was also a perfect 12-for-12 at the line, tying Jermaine Anderson, Chris Brown and Matt Alosa for the school record for most free throws made in a game without a miss.
Myrick was 5-for-10 from the floor and 6 of 8 at the line, while recording five rebounds and two blocks in 31 minutes. Myrick has now scored in double figures the first seven games of the year, as well as eight straight and 10 of the last 11 dating back to last season.
Joe Hoban, Yaw Gyawu and Nick Pascale led Colgate with 16, 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Buckets by Myrick and DiLiegro led UNH to a 4-0 lead before Gyawu made 1 of 2 at the line to break the short run. Myrick then sank his only 3-pointer of the game to make it 7-1 just 2:47 in. Junior Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) then answered a Gyawu layup with a baseline jumper with 15:52 remaining.
Sophomore point guard Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) made 1 of 2 at the stripe to push the UNH lead to 10-3 at 15:24. The lead was still seven after a pair of DiLiegro free throws when a Myrick layup made it 14-5 with 14:02 left. Gyawu and Benson traded baskets before a 3-pointer from Joe Hoban sliced the deficit to 16-12 at 11:11.
The UNH lead was still four (18-14) when a 7-0 run pushed it to 11. Benson sparked the run with a 3 from the top of the key and after a pair of Myrick free throws, capped the run with an emphatic two-handed put-back dunk off a missed 3-pointer that made it 25-14 with 7:49 to play.
Freshman Jordon Bronner (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) pushed the lead to 13 with a jumper from the right elbow with 3:50 remaining before a three-point play from Pascale made it 29-19. A Rhoads basket, followed by two DiLiegro free throws, pushed the lead to 14 before Sterling Melville closed the first-half scoring with a dunk that made it 33-21 with 37 seconds to play. The Wildcats improved to 4-1 when leading at the half.
DiLiegro scored the first four points of the second half, overall, and the first six points for UNH to make it 39-23 just two minutes in. Myrick followed with a jumper at 17:37 that gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the game at 18.
After Mike Venezia and senior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) traded 3-pointers, Colgate went on a 16-5 run that was capped by a Brandon James 3-pointer with 10:53 to play. Myrick stopped the bleeding with a jumper before Venezia sank 1 of 2 at the line and Hoban's layup sliced it to 51-45 with 8:20 left.
Four straight points from DiLiegro stretched the lead back to 10, but Gyawu answered with four straight points of his own to make it 55-49 with 4:23 remaining. DiLiegro hit two more from the line before Mitch Rolls knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 57-52 with 3:50 to go. Myrick made a pair at the line and then sunk 1 of 2 on the following possession to push the lead back to eight at 60-52 with 55 seconds on the clock.
The lead was still eight at 61-53 when a Hoban 3 sliced it to five with 36 seconds left. Colgate fouled the rest of the way, but the Wildcats hit four free throws to offset the Raiders four points. UNH is now 4-0 this season in games decided by five points or less.
Benson finished with a season-high nine points and matched his career best with nine boards. Conley scored 11 points and added two assists, two rebounds and two steals, while Rhoads tallied six points, four rebounds and two assists.
UNH was outshot 41 percent (21-51) to 39 percent (19-49), including 35 percent (6-17) to 24 percent (4-17) from deep, but made 79 percent (23-29) of its free throws. The battle on the glass was even at 33, but the Wildcats turned the ball over just nine times and forced 14 turnovers.
The Wildcats return to action Thursday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. when they play host to Army at Lundholm Gymnasium.