Hartford, Conn. - Senior forward Patrick Konan (Gainesville, Fla.) scored 15 points, including the 1,000th point of his career, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team fell to the University of Hartford 61-59 on Saturday night at Chase Family Arena.
Trailing by two points with 2.3 seconds left in the game, UNH had a chance to tie the score but ultimately failed to convert on an inbounds play underneath the Hartford basket as the Hawks took the victory.
Mark Nwakamma scored a game-high 25 points and snagged seven rebounds to lead the Hawks, who move to 13-14 overall and 7-5 in America East Conference play.
Konan converted 9 of 10 free throws, all in the second half, and totaled 15 points to pace UNH. Seniors Chris Pelcher (Albany, N.Y.) and Jordon Bronner (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) chipped in with 11 points and 10 points for the Wildcats, who fall to 6-19 overall and 4-8 in the America East.
Hartford got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 7-2 lead just 1:30 into the game. After taking a timeout, the Wildcats answered right back with a 10-2 run to gain a 12-9 lead. Pelcher started the run for the Wildcats when he made a good post move to score a layup. Freshman Daniel Dion (Cedar Park, Texas) took it from there, nailing back-to-back 3-pointers before adding a layup in the paint to give UNH a three-point lead.
The teams went back and forth over the next five minutes. With UNH trailing 16-15, the Wildcats used an 8-2 run to take a 23-18 lead. UNH started it up when Jacoby Armstrong (Sachse, Texas) converted a layup on the left side and Konan followed with a layup of his own. After a Hartford basket, the Wildcats scored four more on jumpers by Konan and Armstrong to give them a 23-18 advantage.
With 4:04 remaining in the first half and trailing 27-26, the Wildcats scored eight of the final 10 points of the period. Dion nailed his third trey of the game and Armstrong followed with a layup and a foul to put UNH ahead 32-27. Hartford came back with two Yolonzo Moore II free throws to cut the lead to 32-29, but UNH scored the last bucket of the half on a Pelcher layup to go into the break ahead 34-29.
Dion led the Wildcats with 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting in the first. Armstrong chipped in with eight points and Konan added six for UNH, which shot 56.0% (14-for-25) during the opening frame.
Nwakamma paced the Hawks in the first period, hitting for nine points on 4 of 10 shooting. Moore II pitched in with seven points and Corban Wroe netted five in the first, as the Hawks shot 45.5% (10 of 22) from the floor.
The teams hung close in a very defensive 10 opening minutes of the second half, yielding only 13 total points during that span. With UNH holding onto a 41-40 lead with 10:47 left in the game, the Wildcats used a 4-2 run to extend the lead to four.
Down by four with 8:10 remaining, the Hawks went on a 5-0 run to take their first lead of the second half, 48-47.
Three lead changes and five ties later, UNH held a 55-54 lead with 3:34 to go. Taylor Dyson took the lead back for Hartford with 26 seconds remaining when he hit a jumper from the free throw line.
Jaleen Smith (Freeport, Texas) responded for the Wildcats, drilling his only bucket of the game, a 3-pointer with 2:37 left to put UNH up 58-56.
Hartford would not be denied, using a 5-1 to regain the lead and take the victory, 61-59.
The Hawks shot 50.0% (11-for-22) in the second half on their way to 45.7% (21-for-46) for the game. The Wildcats were held to just 20.8% (5 of 24) shooting in the second half and shot 38.8% (19 of 49) for the whole contest.
The Wildcats return to action when they host the University of Vermont on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium. For tickets, visit UNHWildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000.