DURHAM, N.H. – Junior Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) poured in a career-high 27 points to lead the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team to a 72-58 victory against Marist College on Saturday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.
The Wildcats even their record at 2-2, while the Red Foxes fall to 0-3. This was the first time the two teams met at Lundholm in the series, which UNH now leads 2-1.
DiLiegro was 11-for-19 from the floor and made all five of his free throws in a season-high 34 minutes. The 11 field goals marked the second time in his career that DiLiegro converted 10 or more baskets, as he knocked down 10 shots when he set his previous career best of 21 points Feb. 19 of last season versus Maine. The 27 points is the most for a Wildcat since classmate Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) netted 28 against Santa Clara on Jan. 4 of last season.
Abreu added a season-high 15 points on 5 of 12 shooting, to go along with three steals, while senior Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) posted a double-double with 11 points and 12 boards. Onguetou, who played a game-high 37 minutes, equaled his career high in rebounds, which he originally set at UMBC on Jan. 25, 2007.
With Marist leading 7-4 a little over four minutes in, an Abreu 3-pointer tied the game and sparked a 17-2 run that put UNH on top 21-9 with 8:47 remaining in the opening half. DiLiegro, who scored 11 points during the 6:03 stretch, gave the Wildcats the lead for good with a layup at 14:18.
After the Red Foxes scored five straight, the Wildcats roared back with another 8-0 run that gave them a 29-14 lead with 6:42 to play. Marist would get within 13, but the ‘Cats scored the final six points of the half, highlighted by a Colbey Santos (Onset, Mass.) 3-pointer that closed the scoring with four ticks on the clock and gave UNH a 39-20 lead at the break.
DiLiegro, UNH's America East Player of the Game, single-handedly outscored Marist's entire squad and equaled his career high in 14 minutes off the bench in the first half with 21 points on 8 of 12 shooting from the field and 5 of 5 from the line.
UNH still led by 19 at 14:57 when a DiLiegro jump hook in the paint sparked a 10-3 run that was capped by an Abreu jumper and gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the game at 56-30 with 10:41 remaining in the second frame.
Marist scored the next seven points and, after a DiLiegro jumper, netted the following six points to slice UNH's lead to 58-43 with 7:26 left. The two teams traded baskets before the Wildcats scored five straight to bring their lead to an even 20 with 4:31 to play. The lead was 19 after a Santos layup with 37 seconds on the clock, but the Red Foxes scored the final five points to bring the score to 72-58.
Santos finished with eight points and four rebounds, while sophomore Russell Graham (Norristown, Pa.) quarterbacked the offense with a career-high seven assists to go along with four points and five rebounds. Junior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) added seven points, two boards, an assist, three steals and a block.
The Wildcats, who rode DiLiegro to a 40-24 points in the paint advantage, outshot Marist, 43 percent (26-61) to 36 percent (21-58). The ‘Cats also held a 43-37 edge on the boards and turned the ball over 13 times, while forcing 18 Marist turnovers.
Candon Rusin and Dejuan Goodwin each scored 11 for the Red Foxes, while Sam Prescott added 10.
The Wildcats return to action Friday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. when they hit the road to battle the University of Pittsburgh, which made it to the Elite Eight a year ago, at the Petersen Events Center.