WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Eric Gilchrese (Springfield, Ill.) posted a career-high 26 points, but it was not enough as the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team was downed by the University of Hartford, 82-63, Sunday afternoon at Chase Arena.
With the loss, the Wildcats fall to 7-18, including 4-9 in America East, while the Hawks go to 15-13 overall and 9-4 in the conference.
Gilchrese, who matched his career high with three treys, was 7-of-12 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. The junior also added four assists and four steals.
Even that performance was not enough to offset the hot shooting of Hartford, however. The Hawks shot 60 percent (29-48) from the floor, including 67 percent (18-27) from behind the arc. Joe Zeglinski led the way for Hartford, pouring in 31 points on 11-of-13 shooting, including a school-record 9-of-10 from long range.
The Wildcats held their own for the first 10 minutes of the contest, matching every shot Hartford put on the board to take a 20-19 lead with 9:09 remaining in the opening frame. The Hawks reeled off a 22-0 run, however, knocking down six of their 11 first-half 3-pointers to grab a 41-20 advantage with left before the half. The teams went into the break with Hartford on top, 44-25.
Five minutes into the second half, Hartford increased its lead to 56-32, before a 15-2 run by the Wildcats cut the deficit to 58-47. Gilchrese netted 10 of his 23 second-half points during that span.
The law of averages never helped the Wildcats out, however, as the Hawks stayed red-hot and used a 20-4 run to take a game-high 27-point lead (78-51) and seal the win with remaining.
The Wildcats played until the end, closing the game on a 12-4 run, including seven points from Gilchrese, UNH’s America East Player of the Game.
Freshman guard Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) played well for the ‘Cats, tallying 13 points, three rebounds, an assist and two steals. Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) tallied six points, three rebounds and two assists, while senior forward Mike Christensen (Reston, Va.) chipped in with five points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Christensen now has 1,014 points in his career, and passed Tom Horne (1,011) for 23rd on UNH’s all-time scoring list. Freshman forward James Valladares (Kaufman, Texas) added five rebounds, an assist and a steal in 14 minutes off the bench.
Zeglinski, Hartford’s America East Player of the Game, was backed up with 20 points from Morgan Sabia.
The Wildcats continue to take care of the ball, turning it over just 11 times compared to Hartford’s 18, but also shot just 37 percent (21-57) from the floor, including 29 percent (9-31) from 3-point land.
The Wildcats return to action Wednesday, Feb. 20 at when they play host to StonyBrookUniversity at Lundholm Gymnasium.