WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Sophomore guard Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) scored 20 points and junior forward Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) netted a career-high 16 to lift the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team past the University of Hartford, 62-55, Wednesday evening at Chase Arena.
The Wildcats improve to 9-12 on the season, including 4-5 in America East play, and have equaled their win total from all of last season. The Hawks fall to 6-18 overall and 2-8 in the conference. UNH, which beat Hartford, 55-47, at Lundholm Gymnasium on Jan. 7, sweeps the season series from the Hawks for the first time since the 2001-02 season. The ‘Cats also won at Chase Arena for the first time in their last seven tries, with their previous win coming in an 80-78 triumph Jan. 12, 2002.
Abreu, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, scored his points on 5 of 10 shooting, including 2 of 5 from behind the arc. Abreu was also 8 of 10 from the line to go along with three rebounds and two assists in 37 minutes. Onguetou, whose previous career high of 15 points came at Hartford on Feb. 8, 2007, was 4-for-7 from the floor and 8-for-10 at the stripe. Onguetou added nine boards, three assists and a block.
UNH led 50-49 with 4:21 remaining when a 6-0 run, sparked by a Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) jumper, opened up a 56-49 advantage with 1:20 to go. The Wildcats made six of eight free throws the rest of the way to widen their lead to nine with 24 seconds left before a Michael Turner layup closed the scoring and allowed Abreu to dribble out the final 10 seconds. Conley added six points, five boards and an assist.
After a seesaw beginning to the game, Hartford took its largest lead of the contest (19-15) with 7:07 to play in the first half on a Morgan Sabia three-point play. UNH answered, however, crafting a 15-2 run to grab a 30-21 lead – its largest of the game – with 1:33 remaining. Senior guard Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.) started the run with a 3-pointer that was followed by a pair of treys from junior guard Colbey Santos (Onset, Mass.). A pair of Abreu free throws and back-to-back jumpers by Onguetou capped the run.
Turner and Onguetou swapped free throws before Jaret von Rosenberg knocked down a 3 from 30 feet to beat the buzzer and send Hartford into the locker room trailing 32-26. UNH is now a perfect 6-0 when leading at the break. Gibbs tallied five points, three rebounds, three assists and a block, while Santos chipped in with eight points, two rebounds, an assist and a block.
Following an Abreu jumper that pushed the UNH lead to eight just 39 seconds into the second half, Hartford went on 8-0 run – with all eight points coming from Turner – to tie the game at 34 with 16:55 remaining. A Conley jumper stopped the bleeding and put UNH back on top 1:50 later, but Sabia answered with a trey that gave Hartford its first lead (37-36) since 6:21 of the first half. A pair of Onguetou free throws gave UNH the lead until a David Bookman layup put Hartford back in front. Onguetou came through once again, however, scoring a bucket with 12:51 left that sparked a 7-1 run and gave the Wildcats a 40-39 lead – one they would hold for good.
A layup by Abreu gave UNH a 47-42 lead with 7:22 on the clock, but a 5-1 Hartford run – capped by a 3 from Turner – sliced its deficit to one at 48-47 with 5:21 left. Abreu made two at the line to push the lead back to three, but Turner was relentless, hitting another jumper to keep his team within one. The field goal was Hartford’s last for the next 4:10 until Turner’s layup that closed the scoring.
In his first start since returning to the team Jan. 17, senior guard Eric Gilchrese (Springfield, Ill.) tallied six points, two rebounds and two assists.
Gibbs finished with 1,169 career points, tying Matt Acres for 12th on UNH’s all-time scoring list. The captain’s block was the 50th of his career, moving him past Blagoj Janev and into fifth place on the program’s all-time blocks list.
UNH shot 43 percent (18-42) from the field and a season-high 77 percent (20-26) from the line. The Wildcats, who are now 8-2 when holding their opponents to 60 points or less, held Hartford to 37 percent (18-49) from the floor and won the battle on the boards, 31-30.
Turner, Hartford’s America East Player of the Game, poured in a game-high 22 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Sabia recorded 10 points and five boards.
The Wildcats return to action Saturday, Feb. 7 at 1 p.m. when they play host to Boston University at Lundholm Gymnasium.