December 4, 2009

MEN'S BASKETBALL MEETS BIG EAST'S PITT ON DEC. 4

COMPLETE GAME NOTES

DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will hit the road again to take on the Big East's University of Pittsburgh at the Petersen Events Center on Friday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.

The Wildcats and Panthers face off for just the second time in their history, with Pitt winning the lone meeting, 52-38, Dec. 27, 2003 at the Petersen Events Center.

Blagoj Janev scored a team-high 13 points to lead the Wildcats.

Julius Page scored a game-high 19 points to lift the 16th-ranked Panthers past UNH and to a 12-0 record, which was at the time the team’s best start to a season since 1929-30 and its third-best start in school history.

Marcus Bullock and Shejdie Childs each chipped in with eight points.

Page hit a career-high tying five 3-pointers and hit 7 of 14 shots from the floor for his 19 points in 31 minutes. Chris Taft scored 14 and pulled down a career-high tying 12 rebounds for the Panthers, who won their 32nd consecutive home game and improved to 26-0 at the Petersen Events Center. Jaron Brown ripped down a career-high tying 11 boards and Chevon Troutman snatched 10 for Pittsburgh, which held a 50-36 rebounding advantage.

New Hampshire stayed close during the first few minutes, but the Panthers snapped a 6-6 tie with a 12-1 run. They led 18-7 with 6:34 remaining in the first half and closed out the final 4:24 of the half on a 10-2 run to take a 28-13 advantage at halftime. Page led all scorers with 11 points in the first 20 minutes. Pittsburgh outscored the Wildcats 14-3 in the first seven minutes of the second half to take a commanding 42-16 edge.

Pittsburgh held New Hampshire to 38 points, the lowest scoring output for a Panthers opponent since it held Savannah State to 35 points in a 87-35 rout on December 1, 2001.

New Hampshire managed just 26.3 percent field goal shooting (15-57) and 25 percent 3-point shooting (5-20).

LAST TIME OUT

Junior Dane DiLiegro poured in a career-high 27 points to lead the Wildcats to a 72-58 victory against Marist College on Nov. 28 at Lundholm Gymnasium.

The Wildcats evened their record at 2-2, while the Red Foxes fell 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 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 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 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 quarterbacked the offense with a career-high seven assists to go along with four points and five rebounds. Junior Tyrone Conley 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.

COLLEGE CHALKTALK

Associate Head Coach Ken Dempsey talks about the Pitt game, the young season thus far and the upcoming stretch of games in his blog on College Chalktalk. To read Dempsey's entry, as well as previous entires, click here.

THE NEW CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE?

When UNH and Pitt meet for the second time in their histories Dec. 4, the Herrion brothers – Wildcat head coach Bill and Panthers associate head coach Tom – will coach against each other for the first time in their 20-plus year careers. Amazingly, Bill, who was previously the head coach at East Carolina (1999-05) and Drexel (1991-99) after assistant coaching stops at George Washington (1990-91) and Boston University (1985-90), and Tom, who was head coach at the College of Charleston (2002-06) after assistant stints at Virgina (1998-02), Providence (1994-98) and Merrimack (1989-94), have never crossed paths.

FROM THE COURT TO THE GRIDIRON

While the UNH men’s basketball team will face Pitt for the second time ever Dec. 4, the UNH football squad will be invading Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field next fall as they take on the Panthers for the first time in history.

DILIEGRO NETS TOP WEEKLY HONOR

Junior Dane DiLiegro was named America East Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 29, the conference announced Nov. 30.

DiLiegro earned the first weekly conference honor of his career after averaging 18.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game in a 78-60 loss at Harvard on Nov. 25, as well as a 72-58 victory at home versus Marist on Nov. 28. DiLiegro also shot 50 percent (15-30) from the field and 78 percent (7-9) at the line in the two games.

At Harvard, DiLiegro posted a solid performance of 10 points and eight rebounds before exploding against Marist. DiLiegro scored a career-high 27 points on 11 of 19 shooting from the floor and 5 of 5 shooting at the line, while pulling down eight boards. DiLiegro had matched his career best after just 14 first-half minutes, and was single-handedly outscoring Marist at the break, 21-20.

POURING BUCKETS

Junior Dane DiLiegro scored a career-high 27 points as he was 11-for-19 from the floor and made all five of his free throws in a season-high 34 minutes against Marist on Nov. 28, making him the first Wildcat to record that many 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. The 11 field goals marked the second time in his career that DiLiegro converted 10 or more field goals, 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 also the most for a Wildcat since classmate Alvin Abreu netted 28 against Santa Clara on Jan. 4 of last season.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE ON THE RADAR

Senior Radar Onguetou scored 11 points and tied his career high with 12 rebounds against Marist on Nov. 28 to record his second career double-double. Onguetou’s first double-double came at UMBC on Jan. 25, 2007 when he recorded the same 11 points and 12 rebounds.

AMERICA EAST SEASONS BESTS

Against Marist on Nov. 28, a trio of Wildcats submitted three of the best performances in America East this season. Junior Dane DiLiegro poured in a career-high 27 points, the most in the conference thus far. Senior Radar Onguetou matched his career best by grabbing 12 rebounds, which ties for the best mark in the league. Sophomore Russell Graham surpassed his previous career high by handing out seven assists, the second best America East mark on the year.

HERRION CLIMBING WINS LIST

By defeating Marist, 72-58, Nov. 28, head coach Bill Herrion recorded his 47th victory at UNH and moved into fifth on the school’s all-time wins list, passing Gib Chapman, who won 46 games in four seasons from 1992-96. Herrion moved past Phil Rowe, who won 45 games in six seasons from 1999-05, with his 91-45 win against Suffolk on Nov. 14, and now trails only Gerry Friel (188), William Cowell (119), Henry Swasey (108) and Bill Olsen (60) in the record books.

3-POINT THREAT

Senior Radar Onguetou is leading the Wildcats in 3-point shooting after sinking 53.8 percent (7-13) of his attempts. Onguetou came into the season a career 20 percent (9-45) shooter from long range.

TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS

Heading into tonight's contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 527 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 743 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.

PICKING IT BACK UP

Senior Colbey Santos picked up where he left off last season in the America East semifinal against Binghamton when he netted a career-high 17 points on 4 of 5 shooting from behind the arc. In the season opener against Suffolk on Nov. 14, Santos scored 10 points, before netting 14 points at 25th-ranked Maryland on Nov. 20. The three-game double-digit scoring streak is the longest of Santos’ career and also matches the number of games Santos recorded 10 or more points in the previous 86 games of his career.

MARGINALLY BETTER

In the Wildcats' 82-55 loss at 25th-ranked Maryland on Nov. 20, the 27-point deficit was the Terps' smallest margin of victory of the season to that point.

STANDING TALL

In the Wildcats' 82-55 loss at 25th-ranked Maryland on Nov. 20, sophomore point guard Russell Graham grabbed a game-high and career-best eight rebounds. Graham, who measures an even 6-feet tall, was the only player under 6-2 to play in the game.

RHOAD TO SUCCESS

Freshman Chandler Rhoads was named America East Rookie of the Week for the period ending Nov. 15 the conference announced Nov. 16.

Rhoads shined for the Wildcats in the first collegiate game of his career against Suffolk on Nov. 14 as he scored a game-high 14 points and added five assists, four steals and three rebounds in 23 minutes of action during UNH's 91-45 win at Lundholm Gymnasium.

Rhoads became just the fifth Wildcat since the awards' inception in 1983 to win it the first week of the season, joining Todd Black (Dec. 10, 1983), Joe Spitale (Dec. 5, 1988), Will Chavis (Nov. 22, 1998) and Chris Vetrano (Nov. 21, 2004). The point guard was also the first Wildcat to garner the honor since current junior Alvin Abreu on Feb. 25, 2008.

CRASHING THE GLASS

Against Suffolk on Nov. 14, junior Dane DiLiegro pulled down 15 rebounds, which is the second highest total of his career.

SOPHOMORE JINX?

Sophomores Brian Benson and Russell Graham both set career highs versus Suffolk on Nov. 14. Benson scored a career-high nine points, while Graham dished out a then career-best six assists.

DROPPING DIMES

The Wildcats dished out an assist on 69 percent (22-32) of their baskets in their 91-45 win against Suffolk on Nov. 14. Last year the ‘Cats assisted on 50 percent (323-647) of their buckets.

SECOND-HALF STUD

Junior Alvin Abreu continued his pattern from last year of picking up his scoring in the second half. After going into the break with just two points against Suffolk on Nov. 14, Abreu came out and netted 10 in the second stanza to finish with 12. Abreu also added seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.

BLOCK PARTY

In their 91-45 win against Suffolk on Nov. 14, the Wildcats blocked six shots, including three by freshman big man Chris Matagrano.

GREAT SCOTT!

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.

INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT

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.

HALL CALL

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 a 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.

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