BALTIMORE-Junior forward Blagoj Janev (Sydney, Australia) scored 23 points (one short of his career high) and sophomore forward Mike Christensen (Reston, Va.) added 17 points to lead the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team to a 72-58 America East victory over UMBC on Wednesday evening at RAC Arena. It marked the second consecutive victory for the Wildcats, who improved to 4-11 overall and 2-3 in the conference, while UMBC falls to 6-9 and 2-2 in the conference. UMBC was 5-1 at home heading into the contest.
The game remained close until the end of the first half when Christensen scored the final eight UNH points to give the Wildcats a 28-19 lead and the Wildcats led 28-20 at the intermission. UNH trailed 19-18 before the eight points by Christensen. The Retrievers led by as many as six points with the score 10-4 with 12:30 to go in the opening stanza.
In the second half UNH continued to open its lead, outscoring UMBC early and opening up a 15-point advantage with the score 39-24 and 16:27 to play in the contest. The Wildcats outscored UMBC by a 11-2 margin during that stretch. Although the home team managed to close to within seven points (46-39) in favor of UNH, the Wildcats responded, thanks to some very hot shooting, and built an 18-point advantage (59-41) with 5:43 to play and never looked back. The hot shooting was key in the second half, as the squad shot 66.7 percent from the floor in that stanza (12-18). UNH also connected on 14-15 free throws in the second half to preserve the win.
UNH did an outstanding job on the boards, outrebounding the home team by a 35-24 margin. Leading the way in rebounding for the 'Cats was Janeve with eight, while junior forward Jamaal Caterina (Portland, Maine) pulled down six and Christensen (5). UNH shot 50.0 percent from the floor for the game (22-44).
The leading scorer for UMBC was Brian Hodges with 16 points, while Jay Greene added 13.
The Wildcats return to action on Jan. 14 at Stony Brook before returning home to play five of six games at Lundholm Gymnasium.