February 2, 2011

DiLiegro's Double-Double Downs Danes

DURHAM, N.H. – Sophomore Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) scored 14 of his team-leading 15 points after halftime, and Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) registered his fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds as the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team outlasted the University at Albany, 62-59, in overtime Wednesday night at Lundholm Gymnasium.

With the win – the Wildcats' fifth in their last six games and fourth straight at home against the Great Danes – UNH improves to 10-13 on the season, 4-7 in America East conference play. It is the first time UNH has put together three straight double-digit win seasons since 1973-74 and also the first time they have crafted a streak of eight straight nine-plus win seasons in program history. Albany now stands at 11-14, 4-6 in the league. The 'Cats even their record at 1-1 in overtime games this season and are now 7-2 in games decided by five or less. UNH betters its home record to 7-3 and is now 19-7 (.731) over its last 26 dating back to 2008-09.

Rhoads led four Wildcats in double figures and tallied five rebounds, three assists and three steals. DiLiegro, UNH's America East Player of the Game, was 6-for-13 from the field and pulled down four of his rebounds on the offensive end of the floor. Freshman Scott Morris (Walkersville, Md.) matched a career high with 14 points on 5 of 10 shooting, including 4 of 9 from behind the arc, in a career-best 27 minutes. Senior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) netted 10 points and tallied three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block, playing 32 minutes after fouling out with 3:30 to go in regulation.

Tim Ambrose led Albany with 15 points and nine rebounds, while Luke Devlin earned America East Player of the Game honors for the Great Danes with 10 points, 14 boards, two blocks and two steals.

Morris banked in a 3-point field goal from the left wing early in overtime to lift the Wildcats to a 53-49 advantage. DiLiegro added a two-handed dunk on a no-look pass from Rhoads and a turnaround in the lane for a 57-53 lead with 44 seconds to go in the extra session.

Logan Aronhalt drained a deep 3, reducing UNH's lead to 60-59 with seven seconds to go. Freshman Jordon Bronner (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) made a critical steal with two seconds left and knocked down both subsequent free throws for a 62-59 lead. New Hampshire held on when Aronhalt, who shot only 2-for-15 in the game, missed a potential game-tying 3 as time expired.

Bronner set a career high with six assists to go along with five points and three steals in a career-high 37 minutes. Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) led all players with 14 rebounds. The junior also swatted six shots and is now sixth on UNH's all-time and single-season blocks lists. It also marks the first time a pair of Wildcats have recorded 10-plus rebounds in the same game since DiLiegro and Mike Christensen pulled down 12 and 11, respectively, March 8, 2008 in an America East quarterfinal tilt against the University of Hartford.

The game was tied five times over the first 13 minutes, and UNH did not claim its first lead until DiLiegro's putback with 5:30 remaining in the opening half gave the Wildcats a 19-17 lead. That bucket came in the midst of a 12-2 run that built New Hampshire's lead as high as seven points at 26-19. The Danes responded by scoring eight of the final 11 points of the half, with Devlin and Ambrose burying 3-pointers to reduce UNH's halftime lead to 29-27. The 'Cats are now 8-4 when leading at the break.

UNH increased its lead to as many as nine points twice in the second half, including 43-34 on a Morris 3-pointer with 10 minutes left in regulation. That's when Albany came alive, going on a 15-3 run to reclaim the lead, 49-46. Rhoads hit three of four free throws, however, to knot the game with a minute left. After the Wildcats missed a pair at the line, Ralph Watts had a chance to put his team in front, but missed both of his shots at the stripe with 3.8 seconds on the clock. Rhoads' half-court heave was just off the mark as time expired.

Albany outshot UNH, 32.8 percent (22-67) to 31.9 percent (22-69), including 40 percent (8-20) to 29.2 percent (7-24) from beyond the arc. Both teams shot a combined 18 of 44 (40.9%) from the line. Albany won the battle on the glass, 56-48, but the Wildcats turned the ball over just eight times while forcing 17 Great Dane turnovers.

Conley finished with 1,177 points and moved past Matt Acres (1,169) and teammate Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.; 1,172), who is currently out for the season with a knee injury, for 13th place on UNH's all-time scoring list.

The Wildcats visit Binghamton University on Saturday, Feb. 5, for a 7 p.m. game before returning home to entertain Stony Brook University on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. For tickets, CLICK HERE or call (603) 862-4000, x 5.

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