DURHAM, N.H. - Austin Ganly (North Yarmouth, Maine) scored 28 points, including 19 in the first half, to lead the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team to Thursday night's 93-85 America East victory against Drexel University at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Drexel (15-9 overall, 12-4 conference) faced its largest deficit of the game, 26 points at 80-54, with 8:40 left in the game but trimmed the margin to 84-68 with a 14-4 run over the next 4:30. The Dragons continued their comeback run with a 7-0 spurt to close within 84-75 on a Joe Linderman layup with 1:45 remaining.
New Hampshire (7-17, 6-9) used free throws to inch back out to a 12-point lead, 89-77, with 26.3 seconds to play and secured the victory from the foul line the rest of the way.
Mike Kouser netted a career-high 34 points for the visitors. Linderman finished with 19 and Stephen Starks, who recorded his 1,000th career point in the second half, had 18. Ashley Howard also reached double digits with 11 points. UNH's John Dullea (Peabody, Mass.) was the only Wildcat besides Ganly in double figures with 13 points.
UNH utilized its full-court pressure to jump out to a 7-0 lead and the visitors never got closer than five points the remainder of the half. The 'Cats built a double-digit advantage, 38-28, with 4:20 to go when Sean Collette (Westminister, Mass.) hit a pair of free throws. Behind Ganly, who was seven-for-eight from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, the Wildcats continued to pull away. He scored five consecutive points on one of his three first-half 3-pointers and a putbackto put the 'Cats on top 50-33. Marcus Bullock (Cherry Hill, N.J.) knocked down two foul shots with 39.7 seconds left in the half to give the 'Cats their 52-33 halftime advantage.
UNH is now 4-1 when leading at the half at home.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 22 points, 61-39, with 2:30 elapsed in the second half. Drexel closed within 69-54 on a Starks three-point play in which he reached the 1,000-point plateau. New Hampshire responded with 11 consecutive points to build its 26-point advantage.
The Wildcats return to action Saturday at home vs. Hofstra University. Senior Day tip-off at Lundholm Gymnasium will be 1 p.m.