DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will look to continue its winning ways at home when it plays host to Binghamton University Thursday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium. The game will be broadcast live on the UNH Sports Network, with the link available at www.UNHWildcats.com. The Wildcats and Bearcats meet for just the 15th time in their short conference rivarly, with Binghamton leading the all-time series, 10-4. The Bearcats have won six of the last seven matchups, including three straight. Binghamton is also 6-1 at Lundholm Gymnasium, having won six straight after losing its first game there Feb. 2, 2002. On the road, the Wildcats are losing the series, 4-3, but have been victorious in three of their past five contests at the Events Center. In the most recent meeting, Binghamton edged the Wildcats, 56-54, Feb. 14, 2008 at the Events Center.
Freshman guard Alvin Abreu netted a game-high 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-10 from behind the arc, and senior forward Mike Christensen reached the 1,000-point plateau for his career to lead UNH.
With the loss, the Wildcats fell to 7-17, including 4-8 in America East, while the Bearcats improved to 11-14 overall and 7-6 in the conference.
Abreu, whose five treys set a career high, also recorded five rebounds and a career-high six assists.
UNH trailed 50-44 with five minutes left in the game before a 7-0 run gave the Wildcats their second lead of the half. A pair of free throws by freshman center Dane DiLiegr and a 3 by Abreu, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, set the stage for Christensen’s layup that gave the ‘Cats a 51-50 lead with 1:13 to go. Lazar Trifunovic answered with a jumper to put Binghamton on top with 46 seconds remaining. DiLiegro, who was fouled with 26 ticks left, missed both free throws, but was saved when junior guard Tyrece Gibbs came away with the offensive rebound and kicked to an open Abreu, who knocked down a 3-pointer to give UNH a 54-52 lead with 23 seconds left. Mike Gordon hit a jumper just seven seconds later, however, to tie the game.
After Gibbs missed one in close, DiLiegro fouled Reggie Fuller, who pulled down the rebound, with nine seconds on the clock. Fuller made both from the stripe to give the Bearcats a 56-54 lead. Gibbs was fouled with just two seconds left, but came up empty on his first attempt at the line. After Gibbs missed the second, freshman guard Tyrone Conley came down with the offensive board and put up a 15-footer that did not fall as time expired.
Christensen, who entered the game with 999 career points, surpassed the 1,000-point threshold on a layup with 12:30 left in the first half. The captain becomes the 25th player in program history to attain the feat. Christensen, who finished the game with 10 points and four rebounds, passed Pat Manor (1,000) and now has 1,009 points, which is good for 24th on UNH’s all-time scoring list.
DiLiegro posted eight points and nine rebounds, while Gibbs tallied eight points, four rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Conley chipped in with seven points, two steals and a block.
The game was tight for most of the opening frame until an 8-0 Bearcat run put them up, 20-13, with 4:45 left. UNH whittled down the deficit and went into the break trailing 25-22.
Gordon, Binghamton’s America East Player of the Game, led three Bearcats in double figures with 18 points. He also tallied six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
UNH, which shot 35 percent (20-58) from the floor, committed just 12 turnovers as compared to 14 for Binghamton, which hit on 45 percent (23-51) of its shot from the field.
LAST TIME OUT
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, but the Wildcats dropped a 78-75 heartbreaker in double overtime to the University of Maine on Jan. 19 at Alfond Arena.
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.
In his “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.
After being away from the team since the beginning of December, Eric Gilchrese has rejoined the squad, but has yet to suit up for a game. Gilchrese, who has missed 11 games, 9.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
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. DiLiegro currently leads the conference in offensive rebounds per game (3.3) and is fourth in rebounding overall (7.6 rpg). The center is now averaging 5.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, better than his numbers of 4.6 points and 5.7 boards per contest at this point last season.
Tyrece Gibbs matched his career high for the six time with 22 points against Maine on Jan. 19 to move past Erie Feragne (1,105) and into 16th place on UNH’s all-tme scoring list with 1,114 points. Next up for Gibbs: Peter Laskaris, who sits in 15th with 1,115 points. Austin Ganly is next in 14th at 1,127.
PAIR POURING IN POINTS FOR 'CATS
The Wildcats are one of just three teams in the conference to have two players in the top 13 in scoring. Tyrece Gibbs is eighth at 14.0 points per game, while Alvin Abreu is 13th at 12.3 ppg.
TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS
Heading into tonight’s contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 509 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 686 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.
FLIPPING THE CALENDAR
Since the calendar has flipped to 2009 the Wildcats are 4-2, recording more victories in six games in the new year as they did in 10 contests in 2008. In other calendar related news, the Wildcats are also 3-1 on Wednesdays.
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 are now 5-2 at home this season. It is the best home start for UNH since it began the 1997-98 season 6-1 at Lundholm.
UNH is ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in three categories. The Wildcats are 41st in 3-point field goals per game (7.8), 63rd in scoring defense (62.6 papg) and 90th in turnovers per game (13.1).
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.
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.
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.
Tyrece Gibbs played in his 100th game as a Wildcat on Jan. 11 versus Boston University. The senior needs to play in 12 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 1,114 points, 440 rebounds, 210 assists, 82 steals and 46 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. The guard is currently third all-time on UNH’s 3-pointers made list (188), fourth in 3-point attempts (469), fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (.401), seventh in minutes played (3,198) and seventh in blocks (46). 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.
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 reached a pair of career highs and a handful of milestones against Hofstra on Dec. 27. Gibbs recorded a career-high four steals and and also matched his career high with three blocks, which moved him into ninth place on UNH’s all-time blocks list with 45. Gibbs posted the 200th assist of his career, becoming just the second Wildcat in history to amass 1,000 points, 200 assists and 45 blocks. The co-captain also moved into a third-place tie with Blagoj Janev on UNH’s all-time 3-point field goals made list (172) with his lone trey of the game. Gibbs, who finished the game with 1,020 points, moved past Marcus Bullock (1,015) and Eric Thielen (1,019) for 22nd on UNH’s all-time scoring list.
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, who are ranked 197th out of 343 teams in the rankings, a big improvement thus far over last year’s finish of 300 out of 341, lost to Penn State, 70-50, beat Brown, 64-61, and will meet Hartford twice in conference play.
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.