DURHAM, N.H. – Junior guard Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) scored 12 of his team-leading 16 points in the second half, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team suffered a 77-59 setback to Sacred Heart University in non-conference action at Lundholm Gymnasium on Thursday night.
Rhoads was selected as the America East Player of the Game, rounding out his evening with two boards, two steals and one assist. Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) chipped in with 10 points and nine boards, narrowly missing his second double-double of the season in 33 minutes.
Shane Gibson led all scorers with 22 points while adding 10 rebounds and two assists for Sacred Heart. Chris Evans registered 19 points, six boards and three helpers.
Sacred Heart shot 52 percent (17-of-33) in the first half to build a 44-22 lead at the intermission. Gibson connected on 7-of-10 shots for 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the stanza.
The Wildcats opened the second half with back-to-back jumpers from Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) and Rhoads, trimming the score to 44-26 at 18:08. Despite the offensive burst, the Pioneers picked up the pace with a pair of unanswered baskets that led to a 15-9 run that lasted just under five minutes, giving the visitors their largest lead of the contest, 59-35, with 11:18 remaining in regulation.
New Hampshire responded with treys from Patrick Konan (Gainesville, Fla.) and Scott Morris (Walkersville, Md.) on consecutive possessions, opening up a streak of 12 unanswered points.
The spurt was interrupted when Evans sank a jumper, but Benson drained a trifecta and Abreu hit a jumper at the top of the key less than a minute apart to cut the deficit to nine, 61-52, with 5:11 on the clock.
After a change of possession, Gibson laced a 3-pointer, setting off a 16-7 run to close out the contest. Morris was the only Wildcat to register a field goal in the last five minutes of play, netting a pair of treys.
UNH closes out the non-conference portion of its schedule Saturday with a 1 p.m. game against Colgate at Lundholm Gymnasium. The game will be televised live on WBIN-TV and broadcast on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network. For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com.