DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will extend its longest rivalry when it plays host to the University of Maine on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium. The contest will be aired live on NESN and to those customers who receive ESPN360. The game will also be broadcast live on the UNH Sports Network (Flagship 1270 AM), with the link available at www.UNHWildcats.com. Fans should wear white to the game to White Out Lundholm. The first 700 fans will receive Wildcat Hoops t-shirts and all students who attend the game will be entered to win a Nintendo wii.
The Wildcats and Black Bears meet for the 171st time in their rivarly – UNH’s longest with any school – with Maine leading the all-time series, 109-61. The Black Bears have won nine of the past 11 meetings, including two straight. The squads have split the season series the past two years and with each team winning its game on the road. Maine has won five straight at Lundholm, with UNH’s last win on its home court coming in a 74-64 victory Jan. 8, 2003. The Wildcats have won two of their last three at Alfond Arena. In the most recent meeting Jan. 19, Maine outlasted UNH in a 78-75 double-overtime thriller at Alfond.
Senior guard Tyrece Gibbs matched a career-high with 22 points and sophomore center Dane DiLiegro matched his career high in points en route to recording his third career double-double to lead UNH.
The Wildcats fell to 7-9 on the season, including 2-2 in America East, while the Black Bears moved to 8-11 overall and 3-3 in the conference.
Gibbs, who was 8-for-16 from the floor, including 5 of 8 from behind the arc – tied his career high for the sixth time since setting it Jan. 21, 2007 versus Stony Brook and also added eight rebounds, four assists and a steal in 39 minutes. DiLiegro netted 12 points on 6 of 7 shooting and ripped down 12 boards, including six on the offensive end of the floor. DiLiegro, who set his career high with 12 points against Northeastern on Dec. 3, 2007, added a block and two steals in 39 minutes.
Tied at 72 at the start of double overtime, Maine opened the period with an old fashioned three-point play from Malachi Peay. After a scoreless stretch of 2:38, Mark Socoby tacked on two to the Maine advantage with a pair of free throws. The Wildcats answered and cut their deficit to 77-75 with 40 seconds left on a 3-pointer by sophomore forward Rony Tchatchoua.
UNH immediately fouled and sent Kaimondre Owes to the line, where he made just one of two to give the Wildcats life. The ‘Cats could not capitalize, however, missing four treys after they grabbed four offensive rebounds in the final 24 seconds. Tchatchoua tallied 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Maine led 55-54 with 4:48 remaining in regulation when an Alvin Abreu trifecta gave UNH its first lead since 1:02 in the first half. A jumper by Gibbs and a layup by junior forward Radar Onguetou opened the Wildcat lead up to 61-55 with 1:20 to go. Maine did not lie down, however, as layups by Socoby, Junior Bernal and Gerald McLemore over the final 54 seconds tied the game and sent it to overtime. Abreu recorded 11 points, three rebounds and three assists, while Onguetou added nine points and six boards.
The Black Bears opened the first overtime session with a pair of 3-pointers by McLemore, sandwiched around a Gibbs free throw, which put Maine on top 67-62 a minute in. Gibbs answered with a 3 of his own to cut it to two and a DiLiegro layup knotted the game at 67 with just under two minutes to play.
After a Bernal free throw, Gibbs knocked down another triple that put UNH up by two with 39 seconds left. Socoby cut the deficit to one with a free throw and then made three the old fashioned way to give Maine the two-point advantage with 13 ticks left. Gibbs, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, would not give up, however, grabbing his own miss and laying it up to tie the game at 72 with four seconds on the clock. McLemore, Maine’s America East Player of the Game, had a good look at a 3 to end it, but the ball rimmed out and sent the teams to a second overtime. Gibbs scored nine points on 3 of 4 shooting in the two overtimes.
UNH opened the game on a 15-6 run, with six different players scoring the first six baskets. The Wildcats led 20-12 with 10:30 remaining when Maine ripped off a 15-2 run, sparked by an Owes 3-pointer, to take a 27-22 lead with 4:22 left. Junior guard Colbey Santos knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to give UNH a one-point lead with 2:24 left. DiLiegro added a jumper off the glass to widen the lead to 30-27 with just over two minutes to play before the break. After the teams traded points, Maine closed out the half on a 5-0 run to take a 34-32 lead into the locker room. Santos scored a season-high nine points on a season best three treys.
The squads went back and forth in the second half, with Maine taking its largest lead (46-40) at 14:35. UNH would cut it as close as one, but could not get closer until a 3 and a layup by Abreu tied the game at 54 with 5:14 left and sparked the 12-1 run that put the ‘Cats up six with just over a minute to play.
UNH was outshot 48 percent (25-52) to 40 percent (30-76) from the field, but won the battle on the glass, 49-37 and had more offensive rebounds (25) than defensive (24).
Gibbs finished the night with 1,114 points to move past Erie Feragne (1,105) for 16th place on UNH’s all-time scoring list.
McLemore led Maine with 17 points. Peay had 12, Socoby and Owes added 11 and Sean McNally chipped in with 10, while also tallying 10 boards.
LAST TIME OUT
Sophomore guards Alvin Abreu and Tyrone Conley and senior guard Tyrece Gibbs scored 19, 17 and 16 points, respectively, to lead the Wildcats past the University at Albany, 78-59, Feb. 15 at SEFCU Arena.
The Wildcats, winners in three of their last four road games, picked up their second win of the season against an above-.500 team and improved to 10-14 on the season, including 5-7 in America East play, while the Great Danes fell to 13-13 overall and 5-8 in the conference. The ‘Cats surpassed their win total from last season and posted their third double-digit win season in the past four years under head coach Bill Herrion, marking just the fourth time in school history that has happened. The last time UNH attained the feat was from 1982-83 to 1985-86 when the program put together three 10-win seasons in four years under legendary head coach Gerry Friel.
Abreu scored his points on 5 of 7 shooting, including 2 of 4 from behind the arc. Abreu, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, was also a perfect 7-for-7 from the line to go along with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Conley was 5-for-8 from the floor, including 4-for-6 from 3, while Gibbs was 5 of 7 from deep and added three rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 36 minutes.
UNH led from the start to record its first wire-to-wire win of the year over a Division I opponent. The Wildcats hit their first four field goals and first two free throws to build a 12-1 just 2:54 in. Abreu and Conley bookended the run with 3-pointers. Albany sliced its deficit to seven at 16-9 with 12:25 remaining in the first half, but a 3-pointer by Gibbs sparked an 8-2 run that pushed the lead up to 24-11 at 10:30.
The Great Danes climbed back to within six at 26-20 with just over five minutes to play in the half, but a 9-0 run – capped by a Conley trifecta – opened the UNH lead up to 35-20 with 2:14 to go. After a layup by Will Harris, another Gibbs 3 and a jumper by sophomore center James Valladares helped the Wildcats close the half on a 5-2 run and take a 40-24 lead into the locker room. The ‘Cats improved to 7-1 when leading at the break. Gibbs netted 12 first-half points on 4 of 5 shooting from behind the arc.
The two teams spent the first five minutes of the second frame going back and forth, with Albany closing to 45-31 at 14:59. Conley then knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to make it 51-33 at 13:57. An 8-2 Albany run would slice UNH’s lead to 53-41 at 10:32, but the Wildcats would respond with an 8-1 run of their own – capped with an Abreu trey – to grab their biggest lead of the game at 61-42 with 9:13 remaining.
After three straight points from Albany, Abreu converted an old fashioned three-point play to push the lead back to 19 at 17:57. A 6-1 Albany run – capped by a Harris jumper – cut UNH’s lead to 14 at 65-51 with 7:07 to go, but that was the closest the Great Danes would get as Conley capped an 8-3 Wildcat run with a fast-break dunk that put the lead back at 19 (73-54) with 4:26 on the clock.
Albany cut into UNH’s lead at 75-59, but with the shot clock running down and a man draped over him, Gibbs banged a 3-pointer that closed the scoring with 1:20 to play. Abreu scored all 12 of his second-half points in a five-minute span from 9:50 to 4:50.
Senior guard Eric Gilchrese also scored in double digits for the Wildcats with 11 points to go along with five assists and two rebounds. Sophomore forward Rony Tchatchoua chipped in with four points and seven boards, while junior guard Colbey Santos added five points on 2 of 2 shooting, including a big 3-pointer, in four minutes. Valladares reached season highs in points (4) and minutes (13).
Gibbs finished the game with 1,221 career points and is just seven points shy of passing Billy Pappas (1,228) for eighth place on UNH’s all-time scoring list.
The Wildcats posted their second highest point total of the season by shooting 57 percent (25-44) from the floor and 60 percent (12-20) from behind the arc – both season highs. The ‘Cats held Albany to 40 percent (19-48) shooting from the field, including nine percent (1-11) from 3 – UNH’s best mark of the season. The Wildcats improved to 9-2 when limiting their opponent to 60 points or less and 6-1 when shooting better than 40 percent from deep.
Harris led the Great Danes with 18 points and seven rebounds. Jerel Hastings was named Albany’s America East Player of the Game with 11 points, three rebounds and three steals.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
When the Wildcats posted a 78-59 win against Albany on Feb. 15, the 19-point margin of defeat was the largest in the history of SEFCU Arena, which opened for the 1992-93 season. In addition, after recording a 30-29 rebounding edge in the game, the Wildcats became the first America East team to outrebound the Great Danes this season.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
The Wildcats’ 78-59 win against Albany on Feb. 15 was their second win of the season against an above-.500 team, as well as the first wire-to-wire win of the year over a Division I opponent as they led from the start. The ‘Cats shot 57 percent (25-44) from the floor and 60 percent (12-20) from behind the arc – both season highs – to pick up their third road win in the last four tries. They also held Albany to 40 percent (19-48) shooting from the field, including nine percent (1-11) from 3 – UNH’s best mark of the season.
GIBBS AE'S FOURTH ACTIVE LEADING SCORER
America East Active Scoring Leaders
Mike Trimboli (Vermont) 1,944
Darryl Proctor (UMBC) 1,825*
Corey Lowe (Boston U.) 1,256
Tyrece Gibbs (UNH) 1,221
Marqus Blakely (Vermont) 1,173
Jay Greene (UMBC) 1,115
Joe Zeglinski (Hartford) 1,099
Mark Socoby (Maine) 973
*1.024 points at UMBC, 801 at Coppin State
FOUR HISTORY'S SAKE
With their 78-59 win against Albany on Feb. 15, the Wildcats recorded their 10th victory of the year and surpassed their win total from all of last season. That gives the ‘Cats three 10-win seasons in four years under head coach Bill Herrion, marking just the fourth time in school history that has happened. The last time UNH attained the feat was from 1982-83 to 1985-86 when the program put together three double-digit win seasons in four years under legendary UNH head coach Gerry Friel.
STAY FOR AWHILE
UNH Athletic Director Marty Scarano announced Feb. 5 that head coach Bill Herrion has been signed to a new five-year contract.
“We have great confidence in Bill Herrion and what he is accomplishing at UNH,” Scarano said. “Bill, his staff and the student-athletes are building a strong foundation for future success. We knew that this building process was a long-term proposition, and I see daily tangible evidence that our program is advancing. We are fortunate to have Bill leading this program. He knows what it takes and is dogged in his pursuit to make our program competitive.”
Herrion added, “I just want to thank UNH, particularly President Huddleston and Marty Scarano, for their support of our men’s basketball program. We have worked extremely hard to build this program, and with this commitment we will continue to pursue our goal of winning the America East championship.”
Alvin Abreu has netted 17 points in the second half three times this season, Nov. 29 at Marist, Dec. 13 at Long Island and Feb. 10 at UMBC. The sophomore guard picks up his scoring in the second half as he has averaged 4.8 points in the opening frame and 7.9 points in the second half. Abreu has scored in double digits in the first half just twice this season, while he has netted at least 10 points in the second stanza nine times, including a 19-point performance against Santa Clara on Jan. 4.
RANDOM "UNH RECORD WHEN..." TIDBITS
The Wildcats are 9-2 when holding their opponents to 60 points or less and are 5-1 when forcing their opponents to shoot under 40 percent from the floor. The tenacious defense pays off as the Wildcats are 7-1 when leading at halftime. The ‘Cats are tough to beat when their barrage of 3-point shooters are on, owning a 6-1 record when shooting over 40 percent from deep. The squad also must like playing in the middle of the week as they are 5-1 on Wednesdays.
UNH is ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in a pair of categories. The Wildcats are 48th in 3-point field goals per game (7.8) and 88th in turnovers per game (13.0 tpg). Individually, Tyrece Gibbs is 37th in the nation in field goal percentage (40.4) and 58th in 3-pointers per game (2.7).
TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS
Heading into tonight’s contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 517 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 693 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 21 games when the opposition has had its leading scorer play in the game, the Wildcats have held him under his season average 14 times, including 11 of the last 14.
Tyrece Gibbs scored 16 points at Albany on Feb. 15 to bring his career total to 1,221 points and move just seven points shy of Billy Pappas (1,228) for eighth place on UNH’s all-time scoring list. Next up for Gibbs after that: Matt Alosa, who sits in seventh with 1,247 points.
Tyrece Gibbs played in his 100th game as a Wildcat on Jan. 11 versus Boston University. The senior needs to play in three more games to become the all-time leader in program history.
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 1,221 points, 473 rebounds, 233 assists, 86 steals and 55 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 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. This year, Gibbs is seventh on UNH’s single-season 3-pointers made list with 65. The guard is currently second all-time on UNH’s 3-pointers made list (211), second in 3-point attempts (532), third in games played (111), fourth in blocks (55), fourth in minutes played (3,476), sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (.397) and seventh in field goals attempted (1,031). 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 and assists.
DANE TRAIN: NOW BOARDING...AND SCORING
Dane DiLiegro, who is currently second in the conference in offensive rebounds per game (2.9) and fifth in rebounding overall (7.0 rpg), is averaging 5.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, better than his numbers of 4.7 points and 6.2 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 five double-digit scoring games and five double-digit rebounding games in just 24 tilts this season.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR DOUBLE D
Dane DiLiegro notched his fourth career double-double and third of the season at UMBC on Feb. 10 when he set a career high with 16 points and ripped down 10 boards. DiLiegro recorded 10 points and 11 rebounds against Hofstra on Dec. 27 for his first double-double of the season and posted 12 points and 12 boards at Maine on Jan. 19 for his second.
MOVIN' ON UP
Tyrece Gibbs moved up a trio of all-time program lists against Boston University on Feb. 7. Gibbs scored a game-high 20 points to bring his career total to 1,189 points and move past Matt Acres (1,169), Jim Rich (1,180) and Greg Steele (1,187) for 10th place on UNH’s all-time scoring list. In the final minutes of the opening half, the co-captain sank his 198th career 3-pointer, which moved him past Tommy MacDonald (197) and into second place on UNH’s all-time 3-point field goals made list. Gibbs also recorded the 51st block of his career, moving him into a fourth-place tie with Joe Rainis on the program’s all-time list.
After being away from the team Dec. 6-Jan. 17, Eric Gilchrese played in his first game Jan. 28 at Stony Brook and looked like he had not missed a beat. Gilchrese led the ‘Cats to a 71-60 come-from-behind win with 22 points on 6 of 10 shooting, including 5 of 7 from behind the arc.
CAN YOU SPARE A BASKET?
When the Wildcats overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat Stony Brook, 71-60, Jan. 28, it was again there defense that came up big. The ‘Cats held the Seawolves to just four field goals and 18 percent shooting (4-22) in the second half, including just one basket and 11 percent shooting (1-9) in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Trailing 34-25 against Stony Brook at the half Jan. 28, the Wildcats exploded out of the locker room, tying the game with a 13-4 run that was part of a larger 27-8 run, which led the ‘Cats to a 71-60 win. The Wildcats scored more points in the first 8:29 of the second half (26) than they did in the entire first half (25).
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.
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.
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, Lunardi 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
BENSON'S FAMOUS TEAMMATE
Brian Benson was on the court as a sophomore at Greece-Athena 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.