December 18, 2010

Men's Basketball Returns From Exam Break to Battle Rhode Island (Dec. 18)

COMPLETE GAME NOTES

DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will travel to take on the University of Rhode Island on Dec. 18 (2 p.m.) at Ryan Center, fresh off an eight-day layoff. The game will be aired live on Cox Sports Online, as well as broadcast live on WHJJ 920 AM. Links to live audio and live video, as well as live stats, will be available at www.UNHWildcats.com. 

The Wildcats and Rams meet for the 106th time in the history of the two programs, with URI leading the all-time series 88-17. URI has had the upper hand recently, winning seven straight against UNH. The Wildcats' last win against the Rams came in an 81-72 victory at Lundholm on Dec. 6, 1983. The 'Cats have not been victorious at Rhode Island since a 48-46 triumph Dec. 18, 1973. In the most recent matchup, URI downed UNH, 88-56, at the Ryan Center on Dec. 9, 2008.

Alvin Abreu and Tyrece Gibbs netted 13 and 12 points, respectively, for UNH.

The Wildcats, who had won two straight coming into the game, fell to 3-4 on the season, while the Rams improved to 7-3.

Rhode Island scored the first six points of the game, but UNH grabbed the next seven to take a one-point lead nearly five minutes in. URI then scored four straight before Gibbs – the America East Player of the Game – drilled a 3-pointer to tie the game at 10 with 12:24 remaining in the half.

A 12-0 run by the Rams gave them a 22-10 lead with 8:51 to play. The teams then traded baskets before sophomore guard Tyrone Conley, who netted a career-high 22 points versus Rhode Island last season, knocked down a 3 to cut URI's lead to 24-15 with 6:29 left in the opening frame. A 9-1 URI run brought the score to 33-16 with 2:40 on the clock. The Wildcats outscored URI 7-4, capped by a Gibbs jumper as time expired, to close out the first-half. The Rams led 37-23 at the break.

URI came out and scored the first nine points of the second half before Gibbs stopped the bleeding with his last of three treys on the night, bringing the score to 46-26 4:35 in. Gibbs, who added two rebounds, three assists and a steal, finished the contest 13 points shy of 1,000 for his career.

Another 9-2 run by the Rams later in the half stretched their lead to 62-34 midway through the second stanza. The Wildcats put together a 9-4 run of their own that cut the deficit down to 24 (71-47), but URI came back with four straight to regain its 28-point lead. UNH scored the next four to make it 75-51 with 3:17 left, but an 8-2 URI run made it 83-53 nearly two minutes later. The Rams took their largest lead of the night (88-56) on a three-point play with 22 seconds remaining that capped the scoring.

Freshman guard Russell Graham, who started his third straight game at the point, finished with career highs in points (9), assists (5), steals (2) and minutes (29). Freshman forward Brian Benson, who continues to see more minutes, put up career bests in three categories as he recorded six points and five rebounds in 25 minutes. Conley chipped in with six points, three rebounds, an assist and a steal. Junior forward Radar Onguetou posted four points, five rebounds, an assist and a steal, while sophomore center Dane DiLiegro tallied four points and four boards.

The Rams, who outshot the Wildcats 47 percent (28-60) to 35 percent (20-57), had five players – Keith Cothran (14), Jimmy Baron (11), Delroy James (11), Kahiem Seawright (10) and Lamonte Ulmer (10) – who scored in double digits.

LAST TIME OUT

Sophomore Ferg Myrick recorded 13 points and seven rebounds, and senior Dane DiLiegro posted his third double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds, but the Wildcats dropped a 71-63 decision to Army on Dec. 9 at Lundholm Gymnasium.

The Wildcats fell to 5-3 on the season, including 3-1 at home after losing for just the fifth time in the previous 20 games at Lundholm. The Black Knights improved to 5-4 overall, including 3-1 on the road.

DiLiegro, the America East Player of the Game, was 3-for-4 from the field and 4-for-6 at the line, in addition to matching his career high with three assists in just 23 minutes due to foul trouble.

Ella Ellis led Army with 21 points and 10 boards.

Leading 12-10 just over six minutes into the game, the Wildcats scored five straight, with a 3 from Myrick and a tip-in by freshman DeAndray Buckley pushing the lead to seven with 10:39 to play. Army followed with a 9-0 run over the next 1:28, however, to take a 19-17 lead.

UNH followed with a 5-0 run, capped by a Myrick basket, that put the home team on top 22-19 with 6:18 to play in the opening half. Jeremy Hence and freshman Scott Morris traded 3-pointers before four straight points from Chris Welker put Army up, 26-25, with just under four minutes left. Morris answered with another 3 to put the Wildcats back up by two, but Army went on a 7-2 to close the half and take a 33-30 lead into the locker room.

Julian Simmons opened the second-half scoring with a 3 that stretched the lead to six just 29 seconds in. Army still led by six, 51-45, when a 3-pointer by Ellis and a layup by Simmons opened it up to an 11-point game at 56-45 with 10:14 on the clock.

The Black Knights had nudged the lead to 12 at 62-50 with 5:35 to play when a three-point play by senior Tyrone Conley ignited a 7-0 run that closed the gap to five with 3:25 remaining. DiLiegro closed the run with an offensive rebound putback and a pair of free throws.

Hence answered with a basket inside, but a three-point play from senior James Valladares sliced the UNH deficit to 64-60 at 2:23. Simmons and sophomore Chandler Rhoads traded buckets on the following possession to keep it a four-point game with just under two minutes to go. With 56 seconds on the clock, Rhoads sunk 1 of 2 at the line to make it 66-63. From there, however, the Black Knights would hit 5 of 6 from the line to seal the win.

Conley finished with 12 points in 27 minutes, while Rhoads tallied 10 points and a career-high six assists in a career-best 32 minutes.

UNH won the battle on the glass, 36-34, and forced 18 turnovers while turning it over 14 times themselves, but were outshot 53 percent (24-45) to 37 percent (22-59) from the floor, including 47 percent (7-15) to 30 percent (7-23) from behind the arc.

DOUBLE THE FUN

Senior Dane DiLiegro recorded his third double-double of the season when he posted 10 points and 10 rebounds against Army on Dec. 9. DiLiegro, who also matched his career best with three assists in just 23 minutes due to foul trouble, is inching closer to averaging a double-double for the season with 12.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

RHOAD WORK

Sophomore point guard Chandler Rhoads had one of his better games of the season against Army on Dec. 9. Rhoads, who attended Air Force Prep, netted 10 points and dished out a career-best six assists in a career-high 32 minutes.

FAST START
The Wildcats are off to their best start since the 1994-95 season at 5-3. It is just the program's third 5-3 start since 1952-53. The 'Cats have not been 6-3 since '94-'95 and have been 6-3 just three times since '52-'53.

ROAD WARRIORS
The Wildcats are 2-2 on the road for the first time since the 1994-95 season. A win at Rhode Island on Saturday would give the 'Cats a 3-2 road record for the first time since '94-'95.

THREE-HEADED MONSTER
The Wildcats are the only team in America East with three players in the top 14 in scoring. Ferg Myrick (14.3 ppg) is ninth, while Tyrone Conley (12.3) and Dane DiLiegro (12.3) are 13th and 14th, respectively.

DOUBLING UP
Sophomore Ferg Myrick has scored in double-digits in all eight games to start the season. The last time a Wildcat began a season with eight 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 nine straight and 11 of 12 dating back to last season.

NATIONALLY-RANKED (AS OF DEC. 12)
UNH is ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in a handful of categories. The Wildcats are 20th in scoring defense (57.6 ppg), 33rd in turnover margin (+4.5), 56th in turnovers per game (12.4), 90th in field goal percentage defense (.405) and 96th in 3-point field goal defense (.313). Individually, Dane DiLiegro is 52nd in rebounding (9.3 rpg) and 81st in free throw percentage (85.7), while Tyrone Conley is 73rd in steals per game (2.0).

TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS
Heading into Saturday's contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 561 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 783 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 points allowed per game (57.6) and scoring margin (+2.9). They are also second in turnovers per game (12.1), and third in both field goal percentage defense (.405) and 3-point field goal shooting defense (.313). Individually, a handful of 'Cats are among the top 10 in a number of categories. Tyrone Conley is second in steals per game (2.0) and 10th in 3-point field goals made per game (1.8). Dane DiLiegro is second in both rebounding (9.3) and free throw percentage (.857), sixth in field goal percentage (.493) and eighth in steals (1.4). Chandler Rhoads is third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5) and sixth in assists per game (3.0). Ferg Myrick is seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (.414), ninth in scoring (14.1) and 10th in blocks per game (0.9).

LOVEABLE LUNDHOLM
The Wildcats are 15-5 (.750) in their last 20 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.

CLOSE AND LATE
After going 15-32 from 2005-06 through last season, the Wildcats are a perfect 4-0 this year in games decided by five points or less.

UNCONSTITUTIONAL?
The Wildcats are 0-2 this season in games played in the state of Connecticut, while they are 5-1 in the rest of their contests.

300
With the Wildcats' 65-60 win at Colgate on Dec. 4, head coach Bill Herrion recorded his 300th career win. The 20-year bench boss became the 284th college basketball head coach, including the 72nd active head coach, to reach the 300-win plateau. Herrion also reached another milestone earlier in his career against Colgate, winning his 50th career game at UNH in a 63-55 win at Lundholm Gymnasium on Dec. 30, 2009.

PERFECT LINE
In the Wildcats' 65-60 win at Colgate on Dec. 4, senior Dane DiLiegro matched Matt Alosa, Chris Brown and Jermaine Anderson when he tied the school record for most free throws made in a game without a miss after he was a perfect 12-for-12 at the line. A career 54 percent (109-202) free throw shooter entering the season, DiLiegro is hitting at a 86 percent (30-35) clip this year and ranks second in the conference in the category.

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.

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.

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.

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, $484 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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