MEN'S HOOPS DROPS 56-54 THRILLER; CHRISTENSEN NETS 1,000TH POINT

BOX


VESTAL, N.Y.
– Freshman guard Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) netted a game-high 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-10 from behind the arc, and senior forward Mike Christensen (Reston, Va.) reached the 1,000-point plateau for his career, but the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team dropped a heartbreaker to Binghamton University, 56-54, Thursday night at the Events Center.

Mike Christensen

With the loss, the Wildcats fall to 7-17, including 4-8 in America East, while the Bearcats improve to 11-14 overall and 7-6 in the conference.

Abreu, whose five treys set a career high, also recorded five rebounds and a career-high six assists.

UNH trailed 50-44 with five minutes left in the game before a 7-0 run gave the Wildcats their second lead of the half. A pair of free throws by freshman center Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) and a 3 by Abreu, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, set the stage for Christensen’s layup that gave the ‘Cats a 51-50 lead with 1:13 to go. Lazar Trifunovic answered with a jumper to put Binghamton on top with 46 seconds remaining. DiLiegro, who was fouled with 26 ticks left, missed both free throws, but was saved when junior guard Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) came away with the offensive rebound and kicked to an open Abreu, who knocked down a 3-pointer to give UNH a 54-52 lead with 23 seconds left. Mike Gordon hit a jumper just seven seconds later, however,  to tie the game.

After Gibbs missed one in close, DiLiegro fouled Reggie Fuller, who pulled down the rebound, with nine seconds on the clock. Fuller made both from the stripe to give the Bearcats a 56-54 lead. Gibbs was fouled with just two seconds left, but came up empty on his first attempt at the line. After Gibbs missed the second, freshman guard Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) came down with the offensive board and put up a 15-footer that did not fall as time expired.

Christensen, who entered the game with 999 career points, surpassed the 1,000-point threshold on a layup with 12:30 left in the first half. The captain becomes the 25th player in program history to attain the feat. Christensen, who finished the game with 10 points and four rebounds, passed Pat Manor (1,000) and now has 1,009 points, which is good for 24th on UNH’s all-time scoring list.

DiLiegro posted eight points and nine rebounds, while Gibbs tallied eight points, four rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Conley chipped in with seven points, two steals and a block.

The game was tight for most of the opening frame until an 8-0 Bearcat run put them up, 20-13, with 4:45 left. UNH whittled down the deficit and went into the break trailing 25-22.

Gordon, Binghamton’s America East Player of the Game, led three Bearcats in double figures with 18 points. He also tallied six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

UNH, which shot 35 percent (20-58) from the floor, committed just 12 turnovers as compared to 14 for Binghamton, which hit on 45 percent (23-51) of its shot from the field.

The Wildcats return to action Sunday, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. when they travel south to take on the University of Hartford at Chase Arena. The next home game for the 'Cats is Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. when they play host to Stony Brook University at Lundholm Gymnasium.

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