MEN'S BASKETBALL GAME NOTES VS. BOSTON UNIVERSITY
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DURHAM, N.H.
-- The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team play host to Boston University in a game that can be seen live on NESN on Saturday, Feb. 2. The Wildcats and Terriers meet for the 117th time ever, with BU leading the all-time series, 82-35. In their most recent meeting, freshman guard Alvin Abreu junior guard Tyrece Gibbs combined for 39 points, but the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team fell to Boston University, 82-72, Jan. 9, 2008 at Case Gymnasium.
   
The loss dropped the Wildcats to 4-10, including 1-2 in America East, while the Terriers improved to 4-10 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
   
Corey Lowe scored 30 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including 6-of-16 from behind the arc, for the Terriers. Eighteen of Lowe’s points came in the first half.
   
The Wildcats found themselves down 9-2 to begin the game after three Lowe 3-pointers. A fourth Lowe trey made it 12-6. A 14-3 Terrier run, highlighted by seven points from Carlos Strong, gave BU a 29-13 lead with 6:50 to go in the first half. The Terriers went into the break with a 44-28 lead.
   
With 9:46 remaining in the contest, the Terriers opened up their largest lead of the game at 70-49. The Wildcats clawed back, however, using an 11-2 run – including five points from Gibbs – to cut the deficit to 12 with 4:15 left. The ‘Cats were down nine (78-69) with 1:24 remaining, but that was as close as they would get.
   
Freshman guard Tyrone Conley netted 14 points off the bench, while junior guard Eric Gilchrese chipped in with nine points and a career-high seven rebounds.
   
The shooting was pretty even for both teams, with UNH edging BU 45 percent (26-58) to 43 percent (26-60).

LAST TIME OUT

Senior forward Mike Christensen scored 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting to lead the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team to a 68-60 victory Jan. 30 at Stony Brook Arena.
   
With their second consecutive win, the Wildcats improved to 7-13, including 4-4 in America East, while the Seawolves fell to 4-16 overall and 1-7 in the conference.
   
Christensen, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, added five rebounds, two assists and a block.
   
After being down by as many as 14 points in the second half, Stony Brook used an 11-2 run to cut the UNH lead to 60-55 with 2:24 remaining. A Michael Tyree 3-pointer cut the Seawolves’ deficit to a pair with 1:44 left, but that was as close as they would come as the Wildcats locked down and hit 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.   
   
Junior guard Eric Gilchrese, who was 5-of-6 from the line in the final minute, tallied 17 points, five rebounds and three assists.
   
After trailing 9-0 to begin the contest, the Wildcats climbed back into the game, using a 15-5 run to take a 25-22 lead with 3:38 left in the first half. A Gilchrese jumper in the paint with 5:37 left put the ‘Cats on top for good. UNH went into the break with a 32-27 lead.
   
The Wildcats slowly pulled away in the second half, eventually opening up a 14-point lead with 6:01 remaining when Christensen knocked down one of his three treys and then hit a jumper on the next possession.
   
Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs chipped in with eight points, six rebounds and four assists, while freshman center Dane DiLiegro added five points and eight rebounds – six of them on the offensive boards.
   
Ricky Lucas, Stony Brook’s America East Player of the Game, netted 22 points – all in the second half - and added five rebounds.
   
UNH shot 44 percent (22-50) compared to Stony Brook’s 35 percent (18-51).

OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN

Senior captain Mike Christensen has stepped up his game as of late, leading the Wildcats on the court when they need it most. After a scoreless first half against Hartford on Jan. 27, Christensen scored 18 points on 4-of-5 shooting from behind the arc in the second half to lead the ‘Cats to a 74-59 victory. Christensen again helped his squad pick up a W Jan. 30 at Stony Brook, netting 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while adding five rebounds, two assists and a block en route to a 68-60 win.

THE DANE TRAIN: NOW BOARDING

Freshman center Dane DiLiegro is turning into a consistent presence on the boards night in and night out - especially at home. DiLiegro has pulled down 11 rebounds in the last three consecutive home games, while not touching double figures in the last three road games. The recent rebounding spurt has raised DiLiegro’s average from 5.1 per game, to 6.3

NATIONALLY RANKED

The Wildcats are ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in three categories. Their 9.1 3-pointers per game is good for 19th in the nation, while their 3-point field goal percentage of 37.5 percent ranks them 84th. UNH’s free throw percentage of 71.6 is 91st best in the country.
   
Junior guard Tyrece Gibbs ranks 51st with a 3-point field goal percentage of 41.7 and 58th with 2.8 treys per game. Junior guard Eric Gilchrese owns the 85th best assist-to-turnover ratio in the country at 1.94.

DOUBLE-DIGIT DOWNER

Freshman guard Alvin Abreu snapped his seven-game double-digit scoring streak Jan. 24 versus Binghamton, when he tallied five points.The streak is the longest streak on the team this season. Abreu, who leads all America East Rookies in scoring, has scored in double digits in 10 of his last 14 games, and 15 of 20 overall.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR CAPTAIN CHRISTENSEN

Senior forward Mike Christensen posted the Wildcats’ second double-double of the season Jan. 12 against Vermont when he poured in 17 points and ripped down a career-high 14 rebounds.   
   
Freshman center Dane DiLiegro recorded the first double-double this season when he posted career-highs in points and rebounds, with 12 apiece, Dec. 3 versus Northeastern.

ABREU GARNERS SECOND WEEKLY CONFERENCE HONOR

The America East conference announced Jan. 7 that freshman guard Alvin Abreu was named America East Men’s Basketball Rookie of the Week for the week ending Jan. 6. This is the second time Abreu has garnered the honor this season.
       
Abreu averaged 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists over the course of two games during the week. Abreu helped the ‘Cats win their first conference opener since beating Vermont, 75-68, on Dec. 3, 1997, by scoring 14 points and pulling down six rebounds in 40 minutes of a 75-66 win over Albany on Jan. 3. Abreu then submitted his second 20-point performance of the season, and tallied eight rebounds and four assists in his second consecutive 40-minute effort, as UNH fell to UMBC – the top team in the conference – 86-73 Jan. 6.
      
Abreu also won the award Dec. 10, when he averaged 12.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in games against Northeastern University and Brown University.

THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING

When the Wildcats defeated two-time defending America East champion Albany, 75-66, on Jan. 3, they not only won their conference opener for the first time since Dec. 3, 1997 when they defeated Vermont, 75-68, but they grabbed their first win of the year when trailing at halftime, and when being outscored in the paint. Coming into the game, the ‘Cats were 0-6 in both categories.

'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.”

2007-08 OUTLOOK

University of New Hampshire men’s basketball head coach Bill Herrion enters his third season as the leader of the program and with seven 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 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 three 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 associate head coach Ken Dempsey to the program. Dempsey spent the last six 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.
   
Dempsey is a proven, self-directed and high-profile coaching/recruiting professional with over 24 years of full-time leadership experience at the previous listed Division I institutions. Dempsey has a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the country by numerous national recruiting and coaching publications and boasts a 100-percent graduation rate among student-athletes recruited. Each of Dempsey’s past four recruiting classes at UMKC were ranked as one of the nation’s top 100 by Hoop Scoop Online.
   
As recruiting coordinator for head coach Wayne Szoke at Monmouth for eight seasons, Dempsey’s recruiting efforts produced the school’s all-time Division I scoring co-leaders, seven of the school’s top-10 Division I scoring leaders and a GTE Academic all-American. Dempsey also serves actively on the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Board of Directors.
       
Dempsey earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1983 from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., where he was a four-year letter-winner in basketball and baseball. He also completed a master’s degree in education from Monmouth in 1991.
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