DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will take on Stony Brook University on Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at Pritchard Gymnasium. The game will be broadcast live on 90.1 FM WUSB, with the link available at www.UNHWildcats.com. The Wildcats and Seawolves meet for the 16th time in their relatively young conference rivalry, with UNH leading the all-time series, 10-5. The Wildcats have won six of the last seven meetings, including two straight against the Seawolves. UNH, which swept the season series last year for the second time in three seasons, has been victorious in two of the last three games on the road against the Seawolves. The ‘Cats have been even more dominant at home against SBU, winning six of their last seven, including five straight. In the most recent meeting Feb. 20, 2008, the Wildcats scored a 74-67 victory at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Senior forward Mike Christensen recorded his second double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds, and freshman guard Alvin Abreu nearly posted a triple-double to propel the Wildcats.
UNH completed the season sweep of the Seawolves – the Wildcats were 68-60 victors Jan. 30 – to improve to 8-18, including 5-9 in America East. SBU fell to 5-21 overall and 2-12 in the conference.
Abreu, who was one of four Wildcats to reach double-digits in the game, netted 18 points, tied his career high with eight rebounds and dished out a career-best nine assists to garner America East Player of the Game honors for the ‘Cats. Christensen pulled down his 500th career rebound with his 11th board of the night and also handed out two assists, leaving him one shy of 200 helpers for his career.
The Wildcats finally jumped out to the quick start they had been looking for, getting 3-pointers from freshman guard Tyrone Conley, Abreu and Christensen, to take a 9-0 lead 2:26 into the game. UNH used three more treys to craft a 10-2 run and went on top 22-9 with 11:22 left in the opening half. The ‘Cats knocked down a season-high 15 trifectas, which is just two shy of the school record, and extended their streak to 485 consecutive games with at least one 3.
Stony Brook’s Ricky Lucas scored all 10 of his first-half points in the final 4:51 of the frame to help the Seawolves cut the deficit to eight (34-26) heading into the break.
A 12-3 Wildcat run, highlighted by 3s from Conley, Christensen and two from junior guard Tyrece Gibbs, opened up a 53-37 advantage 6:56 into the second frame. Conley scored 15 points in a career-high 39 minutes, while Gibbs tallied 13 points, three rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal.
With UNH’s lead at a game-high 17 (62-45) with 6:07 remaining, the Seawolves – much like in the previous meeting between the two teams – used a 15-5 run to close the gap to 67-60 with 1:27 left. The Wildcats made 7-of-10 from the line the rest of the way, however, to close out the game.
Lucas, Stony Brook’s America East Player of the Game, finished with 24 points, four rebounds and two assists.
UNH, which out-rebounded Stony Brook, 35-31, shot 43 percent (20-47) from the field, including 48 percent (15-31) from behind the arc. The Seawolves shot 45 percent (24-53) from the floor and 42 percent (8-19) from long range.
LAST TIME OUT
Sophomore guard Alvin Abreu scored 19 points and senior guard Tyrece Gibbs notched his second career double-double, but the Wildcats were downed by the University of Vermont, 72-56, Jan. 25 at Patrick Gymnasium.
The Wildcats fell to 7-11 on the season, including 2-4 in America East, while the Catamounts upped their record to 14-6 overall and 5-2 in the conference
Abreu added three rebounds, an assist and a steal in a season-high 40 minutes, while Gibbs, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, tallied 10 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block.
UNH started the game out on the right foot when local product Tyrone Conley returned to his hometown and drained a 3-pointer 1:36 into the game to stake his team to a 3-0 lead. After a Colin McIntosh jumper, a Marqus Blakely free throw dissolved UNH’s lead – the final one it would hold on the day. Blakely and Abreu would trade a pair at the line before the teams swapped buckets to tie the game at seven with 15:47 remaining.
An Evan Fjeld jumper and Maurice Joseph trey opened up a five-point lead for UVM – a lead it would never give up – but after Mike Trimboli and Gibbs traded layups, the Wildcats received back-to-back baskets from sophomore center Dane DiLiegro and Gibbs to cut their deficit to one. An old fashioned three-point play by Fjeld and a Trimboli jumper quickly pushed the lead up to six for Vermont, but a put-back by freshman forward Brian Benson and a 3 from junior guard Colbey Santos again sliced the lead to one.
The Catamounts responded once more, however, going on a 9-0 run to take a 28-18 lead with 8:14 left in the opening half. The two teams kept trading blows and with Vermont up 39-29 with 2:14 to go, the Catamounts kicked their lead up to 14 with a free throw from Garvey Young and a 3-pointer by Trimboli with 1:07 on the clock. Vermont took a 45-31 lead into the break.
The Catamounts did not let up in the second half, opening with a 9-1 run – capped by a Blakely layup – to grab their largest lead of the game (54-36) just 2:09 in. With the lead still at 22 three and a half minutes later, UNH used an 8-1 run – finished off with an Abreu basket – to slice its deficit to 59-44 midway through the frame. UNH whittled it down to 13 with 3:40 to play, but five straight points from Vermont pushed its lead to 70-52 just one minute later. The teams traded baskets before Abreu closed the scoring with a layup with 50 seconds left.
Conley chipped in with seven points and four assists, while DiLegro added 10 points and four rebounds. Benson recorded two points, nine boards and a block in 24 minutes.
Gibbs finished the day with 1,141 career points and moved past Dave Pemberton (1,136) for 13th place on UNH’s all-time scoring list.
Fjeld, Vermont’s America East Player of the Game, led four Catamount scorers in double digits with 18 points. Trimboli tallied 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Blakely notched 14 points and seven boards and McIntosh added 10 points.
The Wildcats were outshot 47 percent (26-55) to 39 percent (19-49), but again won the battle on the boards, 35-34.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR CAPTAIN GIBBS
Tyrece Gibbs recorded his second career double-double when he netted 10 points and matched his career high with 10 rebounds at Vermont on Jan. 25. Gibbs’ previous double-double came in an overtime contest against Harvard on Nov. 29, 2006 at Lundholm Gymnasium when he tallied the same 10 and 10.
Tyrece Gibbs, who set a career high with seven straight double-digit scoring games from Feb. 20, 2008-Nov. 29, 2008, has now scored in double figures in 19 of his last 22 games dating back to last season, including 15 of 18 this season. Gibbs has his eye on setting a new mark again as he currently has scored in double digits in five straight games.
DANE TRAIN: NOW BOARDING...AND SCORING
Dane DiLiegro, who is currently second in the conference in offensive rebounds per game (3.2) and is tied for fourth in rebounding overall (7.3 rpg), is averaging 5.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, better than his numbers of 4.9 points and 5.9 boards per contest at this point last season. After posting one double-digit scoring game and six double-digit rebounding games in 29 contests last year, the center has notched four double-digit scoring games and four double-digit rebounding games in just 18 tilts this season.
UNH is ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in a pair of categories. The Wildcats are 55th in 3-point field goals per game (7.6) and 86th in scoring defense (63.8 papg).
TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS
Heading into tonight’s contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 511 consecutive games, a streak that spans 17 years. The last time the ‘Cats did not tally a trey was in a 59-47 loss to Dartmouth College on Jan. 8, 1991, when they were 0-for-3 from behind the arc. The NCAA record is currently 688 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.
HOLDING DOWN THE FORT
UNH has had a knack for holding down the opposing team’s leading scorer this season. In 15 games when the opposition has had its leading scorer play in the game, the Wildcats have held him under his season average 11 times, including the last eight straight.
After being away from the team since the beginning of December, Eric Gilchrese rejoined the squad Jan. 17, but has yet to appear in a game. Gilchrese, who has missed 13 games, 9.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
Tyrece Gibbs scored 10 points at Vermont on Jan. 25 to move past Dave Pemberton (1,136) and into 13th place on UNH’s all-tme scoring list with 1,141 points. Next up for Gibbs: Matt Acres, who sits in 12th with 1,169 points.
Tyrece Gibbs is penciling his name in all over UNH’s record books. Last season, Gibbs drained 83 3-pointers, which is the second most in a single UNH season and just four off the record. Gibbs also registered the third most 3-point attempts (204) in a season and played the third most minutes (1,038) in a season. The guard is currently third all-time on UNH’s 3-pointers made list (190), third in 3-point attempts (484), sixth in blocks (48), sixth in minutes played (3,273) and seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (.393). Gibbs, who became the 26th Wildcat to score 1,000 points in a career Dec. 13 at Long Island, is also close to moving into the top 10 in field goals made, field goals attempted, assists and games played.
Tyrece Gibbs has done it all during his time in a UNH jersey, filling the stat line night in and night out. The effort paid off as Gibbs is just the second Wildcat in history to amass at least 1,000 points, 400 rebounds, 200 assists, 80 steals and 45 blocks. With 1,141 points, 453 rebounds, 217 assists, 86 steals and 48 blocks, Gibbs joins Eric Montanari (92-95), who totaled 1,038 points, 418 rebounds, 217 assists, 93 steals and 47 blocks, on the exclusive list.
Tyrece Gibbs played in his 100th game as a Wildcat on Jan. 11 versus Boston University. The senior needs to play in nine more games to become the all-time leader in program history.
D.J. REJECTED BY WILDCAT D
Binghamton’s D.J. Rivera, who came into the Jan. 22 matchup against UNH ranked 23rd in the country in scoring at 20.6 points per game, only managed to score six points versus the Wildcats. It was the first time in 19 games that Rivera had been held to single digits, with 11 being his previous season low in points.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR DOUBLE D
Dane DiLiegro notched his third career double-double and second of the season at Maine on Jan. 19 when he matched his career high with 12 points and ripped down 12 boards. One game earlier, the sophomore tore down 13 rebounds at Dartmouth on Jan. 17. DiLiegro recorded 10 points and 11 rebounds against Hofstra on Dec. 27 for his first double-double of the season.
In his Jan. 18 “Bracketology” column on ESPN.com where he predicts the NCAA tournament bracket and updates it weeky, Joe Lunardi picked the Wildcats to win the America East and play the MEAC’s Florida A&M in the opening-round game. If the Wildcats were to win that game, Lunadri has them advancing to play No. 1 Pitt, where head coach Bill Herrion’s brother, Tom, is the associate head coach.
NON-CONFERENCE SLATE SUCCESS
After beating Dartmouth, 68-59, Jan. 17 to close out their non-conference slate at 5-7, the Wildcats finish with their best non-conference record since the 2003-04 season when they had an identical 5-7 record.
LEADING AT THE BREAK
After beating Dartmouth, 68-59, Jan. 17, the Wildcats are now 5-0 when leading at halftime.
After their 65-47 win against UMBC at Lundholm Gymnasium on Jan. 14, the Wildcats improved to 5-2 at home this season, marking the best home start for UNH since it began the 1997-98 season 6-1 in Durham.
With their 65-47 victory against UMBC on Jan. 14, the Wildcats are now 2-1 in America East play for the first time since the 1994-95 season when they recorded two wins against Hofstra before losing to Delaware. The last time the ‘Cats started a conference slate 3-1 was during the 1991-92 campaign.
WILDCATS KEEP ON DEFENDING
When UNH defeated UMBC, 65-47, Jan. 14, it was once again the defense that came up big down the stretch for the Wildcats. After a Darryl Proctor layup with 9:11 left in the second half, the ‘Cats held UMBC scoreless during a 6-0 run that spanned the next 5:54. UNH, which has the second best scoring defense in the conference and 93rd best in the country at 62.6 papg, is 5-1 when holding its opponents to 60 points or less and 1-7 when allowing 61 or more.
KNOCKING OUT THE CHAMP
After beating UMBC, 65-47, Jan. 14, the Wildcats, who last season knocked off defending champion Albany, 75-66, have now recorded a victory over the reigning conference champions in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 1992-93 and 1993-94 campaigns when they notched wins over Delaware.
BENSON HELPS PUT BOUNCE IN WILDCATS' STEP
Brian Benson provided a surge of energy off the bench during UNH’s 11-2 to start the second half in its 65-47 win versus UMBC on Jan. 14. Benson threw down a monstrous two-handed slam off a feed from sophomore forward Rony Tchatchoua at 18:22, and just moments later came up with a huge rejection of Darryl Proctor that kept the team feeding off the noisy Lundholm crowd’s liveliness.
ESPN'S KATZ WEIGHS IN ON 'CATS
In his blog on ESPN.com, Andy Katz had this to say about the Wildcats and their fourth-year leader: “Bill Herrion may have finally hit a consistent stride in his rebuilding job at New Hampshire. Like Harvard, UNH took out Santa Clara at home by four and then opened up America East play by beating Hartford at home. A trip to Boston University is next for the Wildcats. A win there for UNH might be a significant turning point for Herrion.“
DILIEGRO LEADS WINDEXING WILDCATS
Dane DiLiegro tore down a career-high 17 rebounds, including 10 in the first half, in UNH’s 55-47 win against Hartford on Jan. 7. DiLiegro, who tallied more offensive rebounds (8) than Hartford’s entire team (5), led the Wildcats to a 44-29 rebound advantage. The 17 boards are also a season-high in America East this season, beating out Stony Brook’s Tommy Brenton, who had 15 against Maryland Eastern Shore on Nov. 14. The rebound total is the most anyone in the conference has recorded since Vermont’s Marqus Blakely had 29 at UNC-Wilmington on Feb. 23, 2008, and most in a conference game since Blakely had 20 against Hartford on Feb. 20, 2008.
WILDCAT DEFENSE CONTINUING TO IMPROVE
UNH’s defense continues to get better each game and that did not change against Hartford on Jan. 7. Trailing 17-15 with 5:45 to play in the first half, the Wildcats were sparked by a Tyrece Gibbs 3-pointer from the left wing that put them back out in front, 18-17, and sent them on an 8-2 run that would give the ‘Cats a 23-19 lead at the half. UNH carried over its momentum from the first half as it opened the second frame with an 8-0 run that made the score 31-19 at 15:14. Hartford did not record its first point of the second half until a Michael Turner free throw at 13:42 and had its first bucket of the second stanza come on a Jaret von Rosenberg layup at 11:57. Going back into the first half, the Wildcats held the Hawks scoreless for 9:11, and without a field goal for 10:53.
HOME, SWEET HOME AGAINST HARTFORD
After its 55-47 win against Hartford at Lundholm Gym on Jan. 7, the Wildcats have now won five straight at home against the Hawks, dating back to the 2004-05 season.
OPENING UP RIGHT
UNH’s 55-47 win versus Hartford in its conference opener Jan. 7, paired with its 75-66 win at home against Albany in last season’s conference opener, gives the Wildcats victories in league openers in back-to-back years for the first time since the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.
ABREU NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Alvin Abreu had a career day on the offensive end of the floor Jan. 4 against Santa Clara. Abreu propelled the Wildcats to a 58-54 victory on their home court with a career-high 28 points on 8 of 14 shooting. The sophomore guard also knocked down a career-best seven 3-pointers and was perfect from deep on the day, setting a school record for most treys in a game without a miss. Abreu also netted his 500th career point and finished the day with 513. For his efforts, Abreu was named America East Co-Player of the Week the following day. The award is the first for Abreu, who was a three-time America East Rookie of the Week last season, as well as an All-Rookie Team member.
WEST COAST PARTY
UNH’s win against Santa Clara – arguably its biggest non-conference victory in nearly 15 years – was the program’s first ever against a West Coast Conference team. The Wildcats had previously lost to St. Mary’s (Dec. 22, 1988) and Gonzaga (Dec. 27, 1993).
CATS' D BUCKS BRONCOS' BRYANT
In their 58-54 win against Santa Clara on Jan. 4, the Wildcats shut down Bronco big man John Bryant. Bryant, who has received numerous looks from NBA scouts this season, came into the game averaging 18.7 points and 12.6 rebounds per contest, while owning 10 double-doubles, including a pair of 20-20 games. The Wildcats’ post defense, led by center Dane DiLiegro, held the senior to just seven points – his lowest total of the year – and eight rebounds.
Tyrece Gibbs became the 26th Wildcat in program history to score 1,000 points in a career when he knocked down a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left in the game against Long Island on Dec. 13. This marks the third straight season the Wildcats have seen one of their players reach the 1,000-point plateau. Blagoj Janev, who is currently fourth on UNH’s all-time scoring list with 1,340 points, recorded his 1,000th during the 2006-07 season, while Mike Christensen, 17th with 1,087 points, tallied his 1,000th last season.
PLAYING WITH PRIDE
Brian Benson knocked down his first career 3-pointer en route to recording a career-high seven points against Hofstra on Dec. 27.
NEW 3-POINT THREAT FOR WILDCATS?
Radar Onguetou might be spending a little too much time with Tyrece Gibbs and the rest of the Wildcats’ dangerous perimeter shooters. After sinking a total of three 3-pointers in his career, Onguetou knocked down a career-high two in three of four games from Dec. 3-13. The powerful forward was 2-for-4 from behind the arc Dec. 3 at Colgate, 2-for-3 Dec. 6 versus Brown and 2-for-3 Dec. 13 at Long Island. Onguetou was hitting them in the clutch as well, tying the game at 51 with 7:18 to go against Brown and then giving UNH a 62-58 lead with 1:36 left.
Russell Graham, making his third consecutive start at the point, put together a career night against powerhouse Rhode Island, setting personal bests in points (9), assists (5), steals (2), free throws made (3) and minutes (29).
Rhode Island is the highest RPI-ranked team the Wildcats have played this season at 37th. The Rams have also played some opponents that are on UNH’s schedule, including Penn State (W 77-72), Brown (W 76-74) and Hartford (W 94-72). The Wildcats lost to Penn State, 70-50, beat Brown, 64-61 and downed Hartford, 55-47, with one more meeting to come.
Although they wound up losing to Marist, 63-61, Nov. 29, the Wildcats fought hard the final 12 minutes to claw their way back into the game. UNH trailed by 19 – 54-35 – with 12:21 to play, but ripped off a 17-2 run to pull within 56-52 with 4:24 on the clock. Eight points from Alvin Abreu, six from Dane DiLiegro and a 3-pointer from Russell Graham, combined with stifling defense that held Marist without a bucket for 8:51, powered the run. An Abreu trey with four seconds left put the Wildcats down 62-61, but that was close as they would get.
UNH held the lead against Penn State for the greatest length of time of any of the Nittany Lions’ first four opponents of the season. The Wildcats led for 12:25 in their game with PSU, which won all four games. UNH’s America East-foe Hartford held the advantage for just 1:18, NJIT led for 26 seconds and William & Mary never led in their contest.
HITTING THE CENTURY MARK
In their 101-50 win versus Suffolk on Nov. 16, the Wildcats won their second straight home-opener by scoring 100 points for the first time since a 106-103 win at Maine in four overtimes Jan. 19, 1996. The last time UNH compiled at least 100 points in regulation was Nov. 27, 1994 in a 104-97 win at Hofstra. The most recent time a Lundholm crowd witnessed a 100-point game from the Wildcats was in a 113-111 overtime win against Delaware on Feb. 26, 1995. The last time the Wildcats scored 100 points in regulation at Lundholm? You would have to go back to Dec. 29, 1983 in a 102-82 win over Fairfield. The 51-point margin of victory is also the largest for the ‘Cats since the 1941-42 season – and possibly ever. Records prior to that season are incomplete. UNH set the previous mark last season in a 95-46 win versus Suffolk.
GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT
The Wildcats won their first season-opener since the 2004-05 season when they beat Suffolk, 101-50, to open up the 2008-09 campaign Nov. 16. It was UNH’s second straight home-opening win.
TACKLING THE TOP COMPETITION
Head coach Bill Herrion is not afraid to take on some of the toughest competition in the country. Since his arrival in Durham prior to the 2005-06 season, the Wildcats have taken on Big East foes UConn, Providence and Rutgers, as well as ACC power Boston College on two occassions. This season, UNH continues down that road with matchups against Big Ten member Penn State and Atlantic 10 foes Rhode Island and Fordham. The Wildcats also faced URI last season when the A10 was ranked the seventh-best conference in the nation; the Big Ten was sixth.
BENSON'S FAMOUS TEAMMATE
Brian Benson was on the court as a sophomore at Greece-Althena High School when team manager Jason “J-Mac” McElwain, who was diagnosed with autism at an early age, knocked down six 3-pointers in their division title game versus Spencerport on Feb. 16, 2006. The story quickly made national headlines, while McElwain turned into a celebrity overnight. McElwain met President Bush and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, and also appeared on various talk shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, and Today. McElwain even won an ESPY Award for the Best Moment in Sports in 2006.
DILIEGRO TO REPRESENT COUNTRY, RELIGION
In September, Dane DiLiegro was named one of 12 members of the United States men’s basketball team that will compete at the 18th Maccabiah Games in Israel from July 12-23, 2009. The announcement was made by the head coach of the U.S. men’s basketball Maccabiah team, Bruce Pearl, who is also the men’s basketball head coach at the University of Tennessee.
The Maccabiah Games, also referred to as the “Jewish Olympics,” are held in Israel every four years and include the top Jewish athletes from around the world. The 17th games in 2005 attracted the largest Maccabiah attendance in history. With over 50 countries represented by 7,700 athletes, including 900 from the U.S., the Maccabiah Games became the third largest sporting event in the world. This year, the U.S. is looking to take over 1,000 athletes, including Olympic athletes such as swimmers Dara Torres and Jason Lezak.
DiLiegro becomes the sixth UNH athlete to participate in the Maccabiah Games, including the first basketball player.
DiLiegro joins Duke’s Jon Scheyer and Arizona State’s Derek Glasser on the team, which won gold in 2001 and bronze at the previous Games in 2005. By making the U.S. squad, DiLiegro joins some elite company, including Dolph Schayes, one of the 50 Greatest NBA players of all-time, Hall of Fame basketball coach Larry Brown, and Mark Spitz, who won a then-record seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, an achievement surpassed only when Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal of the 2008 Olympics.