CHESTNUT HILL, MASS-- It would have been one of the bigger upsets in Division I men's basketball this season, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team lost by just three points (80-77) to 17th ranked Boston College on Wednesday afternoon at Conte Forum.
The Wildcats (0-2) pieced together a tremendous comeback after finding themselves down 23 points (78-55) with 7:42 to play in the contest. But that is when the Wildcats took control, running off an impressive 22-0 run to make it 78-77 with just 27 seconds to play in the contest following a Chris Brown free throw. However, a UNH foul sent Troy Bell to the line for BC with 8 seconds to play and he buried two shots to make it 80-77 in favor of Boston College (2-0). UNH, trying to tie the game in the closing seconds, saw a desperation three-pointer by junior guard John Dullea fall short, as did all hopes of the huge UNH upset.
UNH had four players score in double figures and was led once again by senior forward Austin Ganly, who scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed eight boards. Sophomore center Kyle Peterson had his best game to date after scoring a career-high 13 points and five boards, while sophomore guard Marcus Bullock also added 13 and junior guard Shawn Collette contributed 12 to the effort.
Several UNH players helped the Wildcats in the comeback, but two players made the key plays. Ganly was fouled in the act of shooting a three-pointer at 3:24 and hit all three attempts to make the score 78-70. He then returned to the line to make it five consecutive free throws, sinking two at 2:57 to close the gap to just six points (78-72). Immediately following Ganly's performance at the line, Collette buried an important three-pointer with 1:43 to play that closed the margin to just three points (78-75) and brought the UNH bench to its feet.
In the first half, the Wildcats kept the game fairly close early and played to a 17-17 tie with 13:48 left before the intermission. However, the Eagles regained the advantage and held a 46-33 lead at halftime. The largest lead of the game for Boston College was 23 points two different times.
Leading the way for the Eagles was Bell with 22 points and Ryan Sidney with 21 points.
One of the key stats of the game came in the rebounding column, as UNH tied the much bigger BC squad 37-37. The Wildcats also were successful taking advantage of free throw opportunities, making 27 of 33 from the charity stripe.
The Wildcats will play their home-opener this Saturday (Nov. 24) when cross-state rival Dartmouth comes to Lundholm Gymnasium. Game time is 12 p.m.