DURHAM, N.H. –The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team opens its season Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. versus Suffolk University at Lundholm Gymnasium.The Wildcats and Rams meet for just the fourth time in their short rivarly, with UNH leading the all-time series, 3-0. All three matchups have come at Lundholm Gymnasium, with the Wildcats winning by an average margin of 44.7 points (95-50.3).
In the most recent meeting, senior guards Eric Gilchrese and Tyrece Gibbs scored 21 and 18 points, respectively, to lead the Wildcats to a 101-50 victory over Suffolk University in its season-opener Nov. 16, 2008 at Lundholm.
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 in 2007 in a 95-46 win versus Suffolk.
Gilchrese, the America East Player of the Game, netted his points on 7 of 10 shooting, including a career-high six 3-pointers. The point guard also added four rebounds, five assists and two steals. Gibbs was 7 of 11 from the field and tallied three rebounds and two assists.
UNH led from the start, scoring 22 straight points to open the game before Suffolk hit its first basket with 11:46 to go in the half. The Rams then went on an 11-3 run to cut their deficit to 14 at 27-13 at the 8:27 mark. The Wildcats came right back with a 12-3 run of their own to close the first-half scoring and take a 50-27 lead into the break.
The Wildcats picked up where they left off in the second half, using a 17-2 run to go on top 67-31 with 13:55 left in the frame. Another 11-3 run brought the score to 89-43 with 6:05 remaining. UNH was up 98-50 with 13 seconds left when freshman guard Russell Graham found fellow freshman guard Ryan Herrion wide open in the corner. Herrion knocked down the 3 to put the Wildcats over the 100-point mark and send the crowd into a frenzy.
Sophomore center Dane DiLiegro scored 11 points on 5 of 5 shooting, including a put-back dunk off a Tyrone Conley miss, which set the tone early for the Wildcats. DiLiegro filled the stat line with six rebounds, two blocks, two steals and an assist. Conley also tallied 11 points with a pair of ferocious slams and added three steals. Sophomore guard Alvin Abreu also submitted a solid stat line with nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Junior forward Radar Onguetou looked good in his first game in nearly a year, tallying five points, four rebounds and a pair of assists.
UNH’s bench, which outscored Suffolk’s, 47-14, also looked good in the opener. Sophomore forward Rony Tchatchoua scored four points to go along with three rebounds, a block and a steal. Sophomore center James Valladares recorded two points, six rebounds, two assists and a block, while junior guard Colbey Santos chipped in with two points, two rebounds and an assist.
The newcomers also had a nice showing in their first games at the Division I level, with Graham leading the way with eight points, four rebounds and three assists. Herrion scored six points on a pair of treys, junior Abby Kabba tallied three points, three boards and a block, and freshman forward Brian Benson scored one point to go along with four rebounds and a block.
Mario Massimino was the high scorer for Suffolk with 16 points, while Allan Ray scored 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
The Wildcats outshot Suffolk 55 percent (38-69) to 28 percent (17-61). The ‘Cats also held advantages in points in the paint (40-4), points off turnovers (27-6), second-chance points (13-2) and fast break points (12-0).
In their season opener last season versus Suffolk on Nov. 16, 2008, the Wildcats defeated the Rams, 101-50, and 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 Nov. 14, 2007 in a 95-46 win versus Suffolk.
TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS
Heading into Saturday’s contest, UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 523 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 700 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.
Head coach Bill Herrion and his staff announced Nov. 11 that Scott Morris has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Wildcats and attend school next fall.
“One of our needs with this year’s recruiting class was to get a 2-guard that can shoot the basketball,” Herrion said. “Losing Colbey Santos after this year and Alvin Abreu and Tyrone Conley being seniors next year, we have to make sure we have depth at the shooting guard spot. Scott is a tough, athletic kid, who can really shoot the ball from the 3. He is a total student-athlete and we are very happy to have him here at UNH.”
Morris, who is currently a senior at Walkersville High School, averaged 18.6 points, 6.3 rebounds. 6.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game last season as he led the Lions to the regional finals and an 18-7 record. Morris was named to the Frederick News Post All-County First Team, as well as the All-Gazette First Team, and was First Team All-Piedmont Division. As a sophomore, the 6-foot-2-inch, 190-pound guard averaged 13.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists as an All-Piedmont Division first teamer.
The three-year starter and two-time team MVP also performs well off the court as he is the owner of a 4.0 grade-point-average, which ranks No. 1 in his class of 328.
Juniors James Valladares, Alvin Abreu and Dane DiLiegro all spent part of their summers representing their respective countries while playing basketball internationally. Valladares suited up for the El Salvador National Team at the FIBA COCABA Games in Cancun, Mexico, where he averaged 17.4 points per game. Abreu practiced with the Dominican National Team in Santo Domingo, where he battled with the likes of Francisco Garcia of the Sacramento Kings, Charlie Villanueva of the Detroit Pistons and Edgar Sosa, a senior at Louisville. DiLiegro played for the United States at the 18th Maccabiah Games in Israel. DiLiegro averaged 8.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game en route to helping the Americans capture the gold medal.
Head coach Bill Herrion was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame as a special honoree with the Clark University High School Basketball Tournament on Oct. 9. Along with the Clark Tournament itself and two major contributors to the success of the tournament, Herrion went in as one of just three players that will represent 70 years of basketball greatness at “The Clark.” Herrion’s best game came on Feb. 19, 1976 in a 96-79 win against Nashoba that lifted Oxford into the championship. Herrion knocked down 14 baskets and was 19 of 21 from the free throw line en route to scoring 47 points. The 19 free throws still stand as a single-game tournament record, while the 47 points are the third most in a single game and the 14 field goals are sixth most.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
The Wildcats welcome in three newcomers this season. Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.), a 6-foot-4, 190-pound point guard, attended Air Force Prep last season and averaged 17 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals per game. Rhoads, who has great size, speed and strength and will increase the Wildcats’ already solid depth on the perimeter, graduated as the all-time leading scorer at Clarke County High School with 1,638 points. Rhoads, who was named Virginia State A Basketball Player of the Year after averaging 25.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game during his senior campaign, lead Clarke County to a pair of state championships during his four years at the school. Rhoads was also a First Team All-State member his junior and senior seasons, as well as being a McDonald’s All-American nominee his final year at Clarke County.
Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.), a 6-6, 180-pound wing, is a very good athlete who has size and is long. Myrick averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks per game last season at Prep Charter High School. Myrick, a McDonald’s All-American nominee, led Prep Charter to a 21-7 record.
Chris Matagrano (Sayreville, N.J.) is 6-9, 250-pound center, who plays hard and brings a great work ethic to the squad. Matagrano averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per game last season for Blair Academy, where he led the school to a 19-4 record, as well as the program’s first New Jersey Prep A state championship in school history. Matagrano, who has great size, physical presence and very good skill for a big man, graduated from Sayreville High School, where he led the program to the NJSIAA tournament in 2007-08 for the first time in five years after averaging 12 points and 12 boards per game en route to being voted the squad’s MVP.