Benson's career-high 19 points propels men's basketball past Albany, 69-64

DURHAM, N.H. – Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) notched his fourth career double-double by scoring a career-high 19 points and pulling down 12 rebounds to help the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team defeat the University at Albany, 69-64, in America East action at Lundholm Gymnasium on Thursday night.

The Wildcats, who avenged a 23-point loss to the Great Danes on Jan. 11, improved to 9-14 on the season and 4-8 in the league. Albany dipped to 15-12 overall and 7-6 in conference action.

Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) highlighted the evening pouring in a season-high 21 points to surpass Wayne Morrison (1,501) to rank third all-time in program history with 1,507 career points. The senior co-captain claimed America East Player of the Game honors for his efforts, adding three boards to his line in 40 minutes of action. He shot an impressive 7-for-13 from the floor, 4-for-6 from deep and 3-for-4 from the free throw line.

Gerardo Suero was named the player of the game for Albany, finishing with 20 points, four boards, four assists and one steal.

Ferg Myrick
(Philadelphia, Pa.) set season-highs in points (19), field goals made (7), assists (4), 3-point field goals made (2) and blocks (1). He shot 7-for-12 from the field, 2-for-3 from beyond the arc and 3-for-4 from the stripe.

UNH led by as many as nine points in the first half, but Albany closed the stanza on a 15-5 run to take a 27-25 lead at the intermission. Benson hit four of his five first-half field-goal attempts for a team-leading nine points at the break.

Both squads traded baskets in the first four minutes of the action until Abreu and Myrick dropped in layups to open up a 10-2 run, as the Wildcats finished off the stretch with six unanswered points to take a 17-8 edge with 10:55 on the clock.

Blake Metcalf drained a jumper in the paint to snap the dry spell, setting off an 11-3 run to trim the lead to one on a run that lasted 3:28. Four different Great Danes scored during the offensive spurt, holding UNH to one field goal to set the score at 20-19 with 7:27 remaining in the first stanza.

After Albany rattled off seven unanswered points, Benson would sink a trey to push the lead to four, but the Great Danes responded with an 8-2 run to close out the half holding a 27-25 advantage.

New Hampshire would pick up the pieces at the start of the second frame, scoring on back-to-back possessions to open up the action, as Benson dropped in a pair of layups to take the lead for the first time in six minutes.

The four unanswered points ignited an 18-6 scoring run, with five different Wildcats registering points during the stretch to give the home team a 43-33 edge with 13:29 remaining in regulation.

Suero sank a pair of shots from the charity stripe to open up a string of six unanswered by Albany, cutting the deficit to four on a stretch that lasted nearly three minutes. Suero and Sam Rowley capped off the stretch by sinking layups to set the score at 42-39 with 10:32 remaining.

Abreu and Myrick helped get UNH out of its offensive rut, tallying six and five points, respectively, on an 11-2 run that gave the home team its largest lead of the contest. Abreu closed out the stretch draining a trifecta to set the score at 54-41 with 7:56 remaining.

The Great Danes would not go away just yet, putting together a 12-2 scoring spurt with Jayson Guerrier and Mike Black sinking treys while Suero dropped in a pair of free throws to close out the stretch, trimming the deficit to just three points.

Chandler Rhoads
(Berryville, Va.) halted a string of eight unanswered points by Albany when he drained a 3-pointer from the right wing to push the lead to six, 61-55, at 3:00. Despite UNH doubling its advantage, the Great Danes kept up their hot shooting, scoring on three straight trips up the floor to knot the action at 61-61 with 1:53 left to play.

Benson stopped the bleeding, sinking a layup to help the Wildcats hold onto the lead. On the next trip up the floor Myrick missed a jumper and followed his shot to grab the offensive board and finish the play with a layup from the left block for two and the hard. He finished the play sinking the free throw that followed, to push the advantage to five, 66-61, with 30 seconds on the clock.

New Hampshire would hold onto the lead the rest of the way, outscoring Albany 8-3 in the final 1:24 of regulation. Abreu and Rhoads combined to shot 3-for-4 from the line down the stretch to help preserve the victory.

The Wildcats take to the road to challenge the University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 1 p.m. For more information, visit
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