DURHAM, N.H. – Senior Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass.), junior Colbey Santos (Onset, Mass.) and sophomore Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) all scored in double figures to lead the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team to Saturday afternoon’s 82-52 victory over Worcester Polytechnic Institute at Lundholm Gymnasium, in the team’s final exhibition tune-up before the regular season starts.
Gibbs, the America East Player of the Game, tallied 10 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Santos and Conley led the Wildcats with 11 points apiece. Both Santos and Conley were 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.
UNH opened the game with a 17-2 run, which was capped by five straight points from Santos with 12:09 left in the first half. A 16-3 run, which included another Santos trey, put the Wildcats up, 33-10 with just under five minutes to play before the break. The ‘Cats would widen their advantage by one and head into the locker room with a 43-19 edge.
Junior Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) and sophomore Rony Tchatchoua (Douala, Cameroon) both notched all eight of their points in the first half. Onguetou, who looked good in his first “real” game back from an injury that caused him to miss nearly the entire year last season, finished the game with six rebounds, while Tchatchoua added three. Tchatchoua was also a perfect 6-for-6 at the line in the game.
A pair of Conley 3-pointers in just over two minutes opened up the Wildcat lead to 60-30 nearly six minutes into the second half. The final 3 of the afternoon for Santos, who is in his first season with the Wildcats after sitting out last season following his transfer from James Madison University, gave UNH its biggest lead of the day, 67-32, midway through the frame.
A 5-1 run by the Engineers sliced the UNH lead to 29, but the Wildcats built it back up to 33 with six straight points from sophomore Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) and took a 77-44 lead with 3:45 to play. UNH put an exclamation point on the contest with a trey from freshman Ryan Herrion (Dover, N.H.) that put the Wildcats on top, 82-49 with 1:35 remaining.
Abreu poured in nine points for UNH, while senior Eric Gilchrese (Springfield, Ill.) added eight points, four assists and two rebounds. Sophomore Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) also had a nice game, tallying eight points, five rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal. Freshman Russell Graham (Norristown, Pa.) chipped in with four points and an assist, while junior Abby Kabba (Oklahoma City, Okla.) tallied two points and two rebounds in four minutes. Freshman Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) pulled down five rebounds, while sophomore James Valladares (Kaufman Texas) grabbed two boards.
Jerome Stewart led all scorers with 12 points for WPI.
UNH shot 50 percent (29-58) from the field, including 60 percent (15-25) in the first half. The ‘Cats were 11 of 22 from behind the arc in the game. The Wildcats defense was impressive as well, especially in the first half when it held WPI to just 24 percent (6-25) shooting.
The Wildcats return to action Sunday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. when they open the 2008-09 season by playing host to Suffolk University at Lundholm Gymnasium.