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DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will meet Harvard University for the 34th time in history Nov. 28 when they meet at Lavietes Pavilion at 7 p.m. Harvard, which has put together a two-game winning streak against the Wildcats, leads the series, 19-14, including last season’s overtime win in Durham.
Senior co-captain Jermaine Anderson posted a game-high 28 points with nine assists and sophomore guard Tyrece Gibbs registered his first career double-double, but it wasn’t enough as the ‘Cats fell to Harvard, 83-81, in an overtime thriller played at Lundholm Gymnasium on Nov. 29, 2006.
The Wildcats dropped to 1-5 on the season, while the Crimson climbed to 3-3.
In a game that featured 13 ties and 12 lead changes, the Crimson capitalized on two key UNH turnovers during the extra stanza. Gibbs, who finished the night with ten points and ten rebounds, drilled a 3-pointer with 3:10 remaining. Harvard’s Drew Housman, however, tied the score up at 76 apiece with a trey of his own from beyond the arc with 2:59 on the clock. The two teams exchanged three pointers in the closing minute as junior forward Mike Christensen nailed a shot from beyond the arc to put the ‘Cats up 81-78 with 1:32 to go. Harvard responded right away with a 3-pointer from captain Jim Goffredo to even the score at 81 apiece. Crimson guard Jeremy Lin capitalized on a costly UNH turnover en route to scoring the game-winning basket on a layup with 23 seconds remaining.
UNH shot 30-of-64 (45.5%) for the game, while the Crimson shot 26-of-56 (46.4%). Harvard outrebounded the Wildcats by a margin of 33-25, while each team made 21 turnovers. The UNH bench outscored their opposition, 29-8, as Christensen delivered 19 of those points off the bench. Jermaine Anderson was named the America East Player of the Night for his 28 points, nine assists and two steals.
Harvard was led by senior center Brian Cusworth, who posted a team-high 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Evan Harris notched 17 points and eight boards. Housman and Goffredo each tallied 14 points apiece in the victory.
LAST TIME OUT
Senior forward Mike Christensen scored 23 points, including a career-high five 3-pointers, and added seven rebounds to lead the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team to a 78-70 victory over Central Connecticut State University on Saturday night at Detrick Gymnasium.
The win raises the Wildcats’ record to 2-1, while the Blue Devils fall to 0-3.
Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs, who finished with 13 points five, rebounds and five assists, scored all of his points in the second half and hit a few big shots, including a 3-pointer that iced the game for the ‘Cats.
With UNH leading 73-68, Gibbs drilled a 3-pointer with 1:04 remaining to effectively shut the lights out on CCSU.
Tied at six 5:49 into the game, the Wildcats reeled of a 9-0 run to put distance between themselves and the Blue Devils. The 19 second span that the game was tied marked the only time in the game the Wildcats did not have the lead.
The Blue Devils, led by Tristan Blackwood’s 13 first-half points, stormed back to cut the Wildcat lead to one. The game stayed tight until the ‘Cats scored eight straight points, capped by a Christensen trey with 2:07 left in the half.
UNH, which had three players – including Christensen – who scored 10 points in the opening half, went into the locker room with a 40-33 lead.
Junior guard Eric Gilchrese netted 10 of his 12 points in the first half, while freshman guard Alvin Abreu had 10 of his in the first. Gilchrese and Abreu also handed out four and three assists, respectively.
The two teams traded shots in the opening five minutes of the second half until Christensen and Gibbs drained back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Wildcats a game-high 13 point advantage.
Freshman forward Dane DiLiegro chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds for UNH.
New Hampshire shot 45 percent from the field, including 54 percent from behind the arc (14-26).
Blackwood finished with 19 points to lead the Blue Devils.
'CATS INK PLAYER DURING EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
The Wildcats announced Wednesday, Nov. 14 that Brian Benson has signed a National Letter of Intent during the early signing period, and will attend UNH and play for the program beginning in the 2008-09 academic year.
Benson, a 6-foot-8-inch forward from Greece-Athena High School in Rochester, N.Y., was a 2007 All-Greater Rochester all-star selection after averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Section V Class AA champions.
Benson should help the ‘Cats in the frontcourt, with senior forward Mike Christensen graduating in the spring.
“We are happy with Brian’s decision to join our basketball program,” UNH men’s basketball Head Coach Bill Herrion said. “He comes from a very successful high school program and has been very well-coached. Brian really fits one of our recruiting needs. He is athletic, can run the floor and is a good rebounder. He also gives us depth with our frontcourt.”
University of New Hampshire men’s basketball head coach Bill Herrion enters his third season as the leader of the program and with six newcomers added to the program, this could be his most difficult challenge to date. UNH compiled a 10-20 record last season, which translated into a seventh-place finish in the America East Conference. The Wildcats fell for a second straight season to the eventual America East champions - the University at Albany.
Despite losing two talented America East All-Conference performers in Blagoj Janev and Jermaine Anderson, the Wildcats bring back three starters from the 2006-07 campaign. Senior Mike Christensen (Reston, Va.), along with junior Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) and sophomore Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) look to lead a very young group of ‘Cats to the promise land as the captains for the 2007-08 season. Christensen returns from a season-ending foot injury, which he suffered on Jan. 9 during a pivotal conference match up with Vermont. The senior forward posted 13.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in 15 appearances, including a 28-point performance the game before he endured the injury. Gibbs, who started 28 of 29 games last season, averaged 9.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. He stepped his game up in a major way offensively when Christensen went down with his foot injury. Gibbs scored in double-digits in eight of the last 13 games. Onguetou showed the greatest improvement over the course of the season. He made 18 starts in 30 appearances and became the team’s leading offensive rebounder. Onguetou posted a double-double against Dartmouth College and scored a career-high 15 points against Hartford.
The Wildcats also bring back senior Shawn Tobey (Eliot, Maine). Tobey’s work ethic landed him in coach Herrion’s starting lineup towards the end of the season, including a start in the America East Quarterfinal round. Sophomore Joe Cheslock (Dover, N.H.) also returns to the program, and will vie for playing time at the shooting guard and small forward positions.
In addition to the returning veterans, Herrion introduces seven newcomers to the program. Junior college-transfer Eric Gilchrese (Springfield, Ill.) comes to New Hampshire after two years at Lewis & Clark Community College. The Trailblazers finished fourth in the 2007 NJCAA Men’s Division II National Tournament and had Gilchrese named to the All-Tournament Team. Gilchrese averaged 14.0 points, 4.0 rrebounds and 5.0 assists per game during the 2006-07 season. Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) and Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) add depth at the guard position. Conley is a 6-foot-2-inch wing player from Burlington High School. Conley is BHS’ all-time leading scorer with 1,566 points an was named to the All-State Team during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Conley averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds per game during his high school career. Abreu joins the Wildcats out of Boys to Men in Chicago. Abreu averaged 20 points and eight rebounds per game while at Lynn Classical High School, and was a North Eastern Conference All-Star. He averaged 14.0 points per game in 2006-07 at Boys to Men, which was ranked one of the top five schools in the nation that season.
In addition to the two guards, UNH adds forwards Rony Tchatchoua (Douala, Cameroon), Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) and James Valladares (Kaufman, Texas). Tchatchoua is a 6-6 power forward from Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, who was league MVP when his high school, Little Rock Christian Academy, captured the state championship in 2005. He was named to the All-State Team, as well as being selected a McDonald’s All-American in 2006. DiLiegro, a 6-8 power forward/center from Worcester Academy, was three-time Middlesex League Champion while at Lexington High School. DiLiegro was a Middlesex League All-Star his senior year after he averaged 11.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game. Valladares is a 6-8 forward out of Kaufman High School, where he averaged 19.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game last season. Valladares was District MVP his senior year, District Defensive Player of the Year his junior year and District Newcomer of the Year his sophomore year when he was also named First Team All-Region. The Wildcats also welcome junior transfer Colbey Santos (East Wareham, Mass.) from James Madison University. Santos will sit out the 2007-08 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.
The Wildcats also made a coaching staff change as they welcomed newly appointed assistant coach Ken Dempsey to the program. Dempsey spent the last five seasons as the men’s basketball Associate Head Coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Dempsey also served as the University of North Carolina-Greensboro assistant coach from 1999-2001. Dempsey is familiar with the Northeast region, having served as the assistant coach at Northeastern University from 1994-1999. Prior to joining the staff at Northeastern, Dempsey was an assistant coach at Monmouth (N.J.) University from 1984-94. The players he recruited earned 21 all-conference selections and helped the team to three conference championship game appearances.