DURHAM, N.H. – The fourth-seeded University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will battle with No. 5 Stony Brook University in the quarterfinal round of the America East Championship on Saturday, March 7 at 8:30 p.m. at SEFCU Arena. The game will be aired live on Time Warner Sports and will also be broadcast live on Yahoo! radio, with the link available at www.UNHWildcats.com. Tickets can be purchased by calling (603) 862-4000, ext. 5, or in person at the Whittemore Center Box Office, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Wildcats and Seawolves meet for the 18th time in their relatively young conference rivalry, with UNH leading the all-time series, 12-5. The Wildcats have won eight of the last nine meetings, including four straight against the Seawolves. UNH swept the season series this year for the third time in four seasons, including two straight. The Wildcats have been victorious in three of the last four games on the road against the Seawolves, and have been even more dominant at home against SBU, winning seven of their last eight, including six straight. In the most recent meeting March 1, the Wildcats recorded a 58-57 overtime victory on Senior Day at Lundholm Gymnasium to wrap up their regular season and the No. 4 seed for the America East tournament, meaning the ‘Cats will wear their white uniforms in the quarterfinal round of the tournament for the first time since they were seeded fourth in 2001-02.
LAST TIME OUT
Senior Day and senior guard Tyrece Gibbs played like the senior captain he is. Gibbs scored a game-high 21 points and knocked down the game winning 3-pointer from the top of the key with just 34 seconds left in overtime to lift the Wildcats to a 58-57 win against Stony Brook University on March 1 in front of 1,172 fans at Lundholm Gymnasium.
The Wildcats, who also recorded a 71-60 road win against Stony Brook on Jan. 28 to sweep the season series from the Seawolves, wrapped up their best regular season in 14 years as they finished with a 13-15 record, including 8-8 in America East play. The 13 wins were the most since UNH posted 19 during the 1994-95 season, while the 8-8 conference record marked just the second .500 conference campaign in seven years and the first since the 2005-06 season when head coach Bill Herrion guided his squad to a 12-17 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the conference. The loss dropped Stony Brook to 16-13 overall and 8-8 in the conference.
The win also gives the ‘Cats the No. 4 seed – their highest seed since they garnered the fourth seed in 2001-02 – for the America East tournament. UNH will take on these same Seawolves, who are seeded fifth – their highest seed ever.
Gibbs, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, notched his second double-double of the season and the third of his career as he added a career-high 11 rebounds to go along with two assists, a block and three steals in 44 minutes. Gibbs is now averaging 17.7 points per game over the span of his seven-game double-digit scoring streak, which is tied for the longest of his career.
Trailing by three points on their final possession of the second half, the Wildcats turned to Gibbs, who got free off a screen and buried a 3-pointer to tie the game at 52 with just four seconds on the clock. Stony Brook tried to push the ball up for one last shot, but another senior guard, Eric Gilchrese, intercepted the pass and sent the game to overtime.
Stony Brook opened the extra session with a free throw one minute in before sophomore guard Tyrone Conley sank a 3-pointer from the wing that gave the Wildcats a 55-53 lead with 3:33 left. Tommy Brenton hit a pair from the line to give the Seawolves a 57-55 lead with 44 seconds remaining following a Demetrius Young layup that knotted the game at 55 with 2:23 to go.
The Wildcats once again jumped on the back of Gibbs, who tied a career best by knocking down his sixth and final 3 to give UNH a 58-57 lead with 34 seconds on the clock. Gibbs then ripped down his 11th board after Muhammad El-Amin missed a chance to give his team the lead with 13 seconds to play. Stony Brook had one last chance to win it, but could not hold on to the ball and junior guard Colbey Santos dove on it to seal the dramatic win. Gilchrese finished with nine points and a season- high six assists, while Conley tallied 10 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The first half showcased the two best defensive teams in the conference as it was a back-and-forth defensive battle, with neither team able to get into an offensive rhythm early. UNH drew first blood in the contest as sophomore center Dane DiLiegro evaded the defensive pressure and showed his soft touch around the basket to lay in the first bucket of the game at 18:18. From there, both teams spent much of the half returning the other’s best shot.
Stony Brook held their largest lead of the game when consecutive 3-pointers by El-Amin and Brenton ended a 14-all tie and gave the Seawolves a six-point advantage with 5:01 left. The Wildcats would bounce back in the remaining minutes of play, however, cutting their deficit down to just one point as Conley netted a jumper at 2:03 to bring UNH to within 22-21. Young added to the Stony Brook lead, however, using a jumper with just 41 seconds left to give his team a 24-21 advantage as they headed into the locker room. DiLiegro finished just shy of a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds to go along with two steals in a career-high 40 minutes.
The Seawolves opened the second frame with a jumper from El-Amin just 18 seconds in that widened their lead to five. After sophomore forward Rony Tchatchoua cut into the Stony Brook lead with a 3-pointer, the teams traded baskets to bring the score to 28-26 in favor of the Seawolves at 16:37. SBU then scored four straight to push its lead back to six just under a minute later.
Trailing by five later in the half, Gibbs converted an old fashioned three-point play to get UNH back within two (33-31) with 12:13 remaining. After an El-Amin jumper opened Stony Brook’s lead up to four, Gibbs responded with another trey midway through the half that sparked an 8-0 Wildcat run and sliced his squad’s deficit to just one. Gilchrese followed with 3-pointer of his own that gave UNH its first lead since 7:43 of the first half at 39-37 with 9:18 left. Tchatchoua polished off the run with a pair of free throws that put the Wildcats up four at 8:48.
Stony Brook came right back with a 6-0 run of their own, receiving consecutive baskets from Young to tie the game at 41 with 7:32 left, and another from El-Amin that put the Seawolves up two at 6:44. Junior forward Radar Onguetou tied the game again with a jumper before SBU scored four straight to take a 47-43 lead at 5:32.
Gibbs responded once again with a 3-pointer that brought the Wildcats within one with just under five minutes to go. A jumper by Young and a free throw by Dougher, however, pushed the Stony Brook lead back to four at 50-46 with 4:02 left. Another trey by who else, Gibbs, again sliced the UNH deficit to one at 1:26. Dougher drained a pair of free throws to give Stony Brook the 52-49 lead with 35 seconds left and set the stage for Gibbs’ heroics. Onguetou added five points and five boards, while Tchatchoua chipped in with five points.
Gibbs finished the game with 1,293 career points and moved past Scott Drapeau (1,290) for fifth place on UNH’s all-time scoring list. Gibbs’ six trifectas give him 81 for the year, which is good for third most in single season at UNH – two behind his own performance from a year ago and six behind the leader Matt Alosa.
The Wildcats were outshot 43 percent (21-49) to 34 percent (20-59), but outrebounded the Seawolves, 37-36, and also turned the ball over fewer times (18) than Stony Brook (21).
El-Amin, Stony Brook’s America East Player of the Game, led the Seawolves with 18 points, six rebounds and two assists. Young notched 15 points, five boards and three steals. Brenton came up just short of a double-double as he tallied eight points and pulled in eight rebounds.
After being picked seventh in the preseason poll, the Wildcats finished the season tied for fourth and also earned the No. 4 seed for the America East tournament with their 58-57 overtime victory versus Stony Brook on March 1. It is the program’s best finish and highest seeding for the tournament since the 2001-02 team finished fourth and garnered the No. 4 seed, as well.
BREAKOUT THE BROOMS
The fourth-seeded Wildcats, who play No. 5 Stony Brook in the quarterfinal round of the America East tournament March 7, swept the Seawolves during the regular season with a 71-60 win on the road Jan. 28 and a 58-57 overtime victory at home March 1. The last time the Wildcats swept their first-round opponent during the regular season and then beat them in the tournament was the 1984-85 season when they beat Colgate in three straight contests, including the NAC first round game.
You could say UNH Head Coach Bill Herrion knows what it takes to win in the America East tournament. Herrion, who is making his 12th appearance overall, is the all-time winningest coach in the tournament with 19 wins. His 19-8 record is good for a .704 winning percentage, which is first among active America East coaches, first among anyone with at least 10 tournament appearances and fifth overall all-time. Herrion’s three America East titles are also first among active America East coaches and second all-time only to current UConn head coach Jim Calhoun. In eight appearances with Drexel from 1991 to 1999, Herrion was 18-5 while capturing three titles. He is 1-3 in three appearances with UNH.
HERRION SILENCING THE SEAWOLVES
Head coach Bill Herrion owns a 7-1 record all-time versus Stony Brook and has won four straight against the Seawolves. Herrion has only faced Stony Brook while at the helm for UNH.
TURNING THE CORNER
With their 58-57 overtime victory versus Stony Brook on March 1, the Wildcats wrapped up their best regular season in 14 years as they finished with a 13-15 record, including 8-8 in America East play. The 13 wins are the most since UNH recorded 19 during the 1994-95 season, while the 8-8 conference record marks just the second .500 conference campaign in seven years and the first since the 2005-06 season when head coach Bill Herrion guided his squad to a 12-17 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the conference.
The Wildcats should have success in the tournament if they remember back to their previous trip to SEFCU Arena this season. On Feb. 15, the Wildcats defeated Albany, 78-59, scoring their largest win of the season over a Divsion I opponent and handing the Great Danes their worst loss in the 16-year history of SEFCU. The ‘Cats reached season highs against DI foes in points (78), field goal percentage (.568) and 3-point field goal percentage (.600), while knocking down the second most 3s this season (12). UNH also attained season bests in 3-point field goal percentage against and 3-point field goals made against, holding Albany to nine percent shooting from deep on just one trey.
The Wildcats won four of their last five games down the stretch to position themselves for the fourth seed in the America East tournament. It was the best finish to a regular season for the program in nearly 15 years as the 1994-95 team went 8-1 to wrap up its regular season.
After a pair of 8-8 conference finishes in 2005-06 and 2008-09, Bill Herrion is the first UNH head coach to post two .500 conference campaigns in four years since Gib Chapman in 1993-94 and 1994-95.
In a season that has been the program’s most successful in nearly 15 years, the term “best since...” never stops being used. The Wildcats’ 8-5 record at Lundholm Gymnasium this season was the best since UNH had the same 8-5 home mark during the 1997-98 season. Their 5-10 away record was also the best in five years as they matched the 2003-04 team that also went 5-10 outside of Durham.
The Wildcats have improved each month this season. After starting the year with a 1-3 (.250) record in November, the ‘Cats followed with marks of 2-4 (.333) in December, 5-5 (.500) in January and 4-3 (.571) in February and are currently 1-0 (1.000) in March.
GIBBS NABS PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD
Tyrece Gibbs was named the America East Player of the Week on March 2. Gibbs stepped up and played like the senior captain he is when his team needed him most, leading the Wildcats to a pair of come-from-behind home wins during the week that gave the program its highest seed for the America East tournament in seven years. Gibbs helped erase a seven-point deficit with timely shooting, including 4 of 8 from deep, to lift UNH to a win against Albany on Feb. 26 with 20 points, three rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Gibbs then played even bigger on Senior Day, erasing a six-point deficit versus Stony Brook on March 1 with big shot after big shot, including the one that tied it in regulation and won it in overtime, to lead the Wildcats to their fourth win in five games, as well as the No. 4 seed – their highest since the 2001-02 season – at the America East tournament. Gibbs matched his career high with six 3-pointers en route to 21 points to go along with a career-high 11 rebounds, two assists and three steals in 44 minutes.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR CAPTAIN GIBBS
Tyrece Gibbs recorded his third career double-double when he scored 21 points and pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds versus Stony Brook on March 1. Gibbs’ previous double-doubles came when he recorded 10 points and 10 rebounds at Vermont on Jan. 25 and in an overtime contest against Harvard on Nov. 29, 2006 at Lundholm Gymnasium when he tallied the same 10 and 10.
JUST A COINCIDENCE?
Including the March 7 quarterfinal game versus Stony Brook, the Wildcats, who have won four of their last five, have played on television in five of their last seven contests.
RANDOM "UNH RECORD WHEN..." TIDBITS
The Wildcats are 12-2 when holding their opponents to 60 points or less and are 6-2 when forcing their opponents to shoot under 40 percent from the floor. The tenacious defense pays off as the Wildcats are 8-1 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.
PAIR POURING IN THE POINTS FOR 'CATS
The Wildcats are one of just three teams in the conference to have two players in the top 11 in scoring. Tyrece Gibbs is eighth at 14.4 points per game, while Alvin Abreu is 11th at 12.8 ppg.
The Wildcats have gone to work on the boards this season as they rank second in the conference in rebounding (35.9 rpg) and rebounding margin (+1.6). The ‘Cats, who are 9-5 when outrebounding their opponent, have only lost three battles on the glass in conference play this season (Boston University, twice, and UMBC). They are also the only team in the conference this season to outrebound Albany, which leads the America East in rebounding (38.7 rpg) and rebounding margin (+8.4). The Great Dane’s rebounding margin is the sixth best in the country.
UNH is ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in a pair of categories. The Wildcats are 44th in 3-point field goals per game (7.9) and 79th in scoring defense (64.0). Individually, Tyrece Gibbs is 36th in the nation in field goal percentage (40.1) and 39th in 3-pointers per game (2.9).
TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS
Heading into tonight’s contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 521 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 696 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 25 games when the opposition has had its leading scorer play in the game, the Wildcats have held him under his season average 16 times, including 13 of the last 18.
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 10 times, including a 19-point performance against Santa Clara on Jan. 4.
AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME...
Tyrece Gibbs is locking in down the stretch for the Wildcats and playing like a senior captain should. Gibbs is averaging 17.7 points per game during his six-game double-digit scoring streak.
Tyrece Gibbs, who set a career high with seven straight double-digit scoring games from Feb. 20, 2008-Nov. 29, 2008, matched the streak when he scored 21 points versus Stony Brook on March 1 to continue a streak he started Feb. 7. Gibbs has now scored in double figures in 27 of his last 32 games dating back to last season, including 23 of 28 this season.
DURHAM THREE PARTY
Tyrece Gibbs is currently first in the conference in 3-pointers made with 81, which is the third most in a single season at UNH.
Tyrece Gibbs scored 21 points versus Stony Brook on March 1 to bring his career total to 1,293 points and move past Scott Drapeau (1,290) for fifth place on UNH’s all-time scoring list. Next up for Gibbs: former teammate Blagoj Janev, who sits in fourth with 1,340 points.
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 the only Wildcat in history to amass at least 1,200 points, 475 rebounds, 225 assists, 80 steals and 50 blocks. Gibbs has totaled 1,293 points, 494 rebounds, 242 assists, 90 steals and 58 blocks over the course of his career.
GIBBS AE'S FOURTH ACTIVE LEADING SCORER
America East Active Scoring Leaders
Mike Trimboli (Vermont) 1,968
Darryl Proctor (UMBC) 1,880*
Corey Lowe (Boston U.) 1,301
Tyrece Gibbs (UNH) 1,293
Marqus Blakely (Vermont) 1,207
Jay Greene (UMBC) 1,148
Joe Zeglinski (Hartford) 1,099
Mark Socoby (Maine) 1,005
*1,079 points at UMBC, 801 at Coppin State
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 third on UNH’s single-season 3-pointers made list with 81. The guard is currently first all-time in games played (115), second in minutes played (3,638), second in 3-pointers made (227), second in 3-point attempts (573), third in blocks (58), sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (.396), seventh in field goals attempted (1,095) and ninth in field goals (450). 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 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 5.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, better than his numbers of 4.3 points and 6.1 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 six double-digit scoring games and six double-digit rebounding games in 28 tilts this season. DiLiegro has improved his efficiency as well, shooting 54.3 percent from the field, which is currently good for seventh best in a single season at UNH, as compared to his mark of 46.7 percent last year.
Tyrece Gibbs played in his 114th career game as a Wildcat on Feb. 26 versus Albany and became the program’s all-time games played leader, passing both Dirk Koopman and Greg Steele, who each played in 113 games.
Rony Tchatchoua threw down an earth-shattering dunk against Albany on Feb. 26. With the teams going back and forth midway through the second half, Tchatchoua came up with a huge block on Brian Connelly, grabbed the ball and took it coast-to-coast and finished as he glided through the air with the ball cocked back and slammed it home to give the Wildcats a 46-43 lead with 8:43 remaining. The dunk, which many veteran Wildcat fans said was the best they had ever seen at Lundholm Gymnasium, infused energy into the crowd of 1,355 – which stayed cheering for nearly a minute – and the team for the stretch run. Tchatchoua finished with 12 points on a perfect 5 of 5 from the field and 4 of 4 from the line to go along with three rebounds and three blocks in 22 minutes off the bench.
THIS IS SPORTSCENTER...DUH NUH NUH, DUH NUH NUH
Dane DiLiegro had a career night against Maine on Feb. 19 when he netted 21 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. DiLiegro continued his special night after the game when he appeared as the No. 7 play on ESPN SportCenter’s Top Ten Plays.
The Wildcats erased a 10-point deficit with 9:14 to play to record a 63-54 win against Maine on Feb. 19. It is the fourth time UNH has had to overcome a deficit of nine or more points to notch a victory. The ‘Cats used stifling defense that held Maine without a bucket for 8:11 to craft an 18-0 run that led them to the win.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR DOUBLE D
Dane DiLiegro notched his fifth career double-double and fourth of the season versus Maine on Feb. 19 when he set a career high with 21 points and ripped down 12 boards. DiLiegro recorded 10 points and 11 rebounds against Hofstra on Dec. 27 for his first double-double of the season, posted 12 points and 12 boards at Maine on Jan. 19 for his second and temporarily set a new career high with 16 points to go along with 12 rebounds at UMBC on Feb. 10
Dane DiLiegro scored a career-high 21 points on 10 of 14 shooting against Maine on Feb. 19, making him the first Wildcat to record 10 baskets in a game since Blagoj Janev was a perfect 11-for-11 from the field en route to 31 points against Vermont on Jan. 9, 2007.
LOOK, I'M ON TV!
In the last two America East television games the Wildcats have competed in, Dane DiLiegro has played like someone who doesn’t mind the limelight. DiLiegro set a career high with 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds Feb. 10 at UMBC in a game aired on Comcast SportsNet. A little more than a week later on NESN, DiLiegro erased that mark with 21 points and 12 boards versus Maine on Feb. 19
Alvin Abreu recorded six steals against Maine on Feb. 19, tying the most swipes in a game in America East this season. Binghamton’s D.J. Rivera also tallied six thefts against Vermont on Jan. 8.
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.
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.”
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.“
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.
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.
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-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.