December 12, 2009

MEN'S HOOP GOES FOR FIRST ROAD WIN AT HOFSTRA ON DEC. 12

COMPLETE GAME NOTES

DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will attempt to win back-to-back games for the first time this season, as well as its first road game of the year, when it meets Hofstra University at the Mack Sports Complex on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. The game will be aired live on Verizon FiOS1 TV, which is available on Long Island and in New Jersey. Links to live audio and video, as well as live stats, will be available at www.UNHWildcats.com.

The Wildcats and Pride meet for the 20th time ever in the history of the two programs, with Hofstra leading the all-time series, 13-6. The Pride have won 10 straight against the Wildcats, a streak that spans nearly 13 years. The last UNH win came in a 51-50 victory Dec. 8, 1996 at Lundholm Gymnasium. Hofstra has won eight of nine at home against the Wildcats, including six straight, with UNH’s last win in Hempstead coming Nov. 27, 1994 in a 104-97 victory. In the most recent meeting, Hofstra knocked off UNH, 62-57 at Lundholm on Dec. 27, 2008.

Sophomore forward Rony Tchatchoua tied his career high with 17 points and sophomore center Dane DiLiegro registered his first double-double of the season to lead the ‘Cats.

With the loss, the Wildcats fell to 3-7 on the season, while the Pride improved to 8-3.

Tchatchoua, the America East Player of the Game, was a perfect 6 of 6 from the field and added four rebounds, while DiLiegro recorded 10 points and 11 rebounds for the second double-double of his career.

Trailing 51-49 with 5:50 to go in the game, the Wildcats tied it up on DiLiegro’s put-back dunk off a missed layup. Hofstra moved back in front by two on Charles Jenkins’ jumper, but DiLiegro answered with another monster dunk to tie the game at 53 with 4:38 left. DiLiegro moved the Wildcats in front by two with a pair of free throws at the four-minute mark before a pair of Hofstra free throws knotted the game at 55.

Two more free throws from sophomore guard Tyrone Conley gave UNH its two-point cushion back before the Pride cut it in half with a free throw. A Hofstra jumper with 2:31 remaining put the Pride in front, 58-57. That would be the last bucket of the game for either side, as Hofstra closed the scoring with four free throws.

After a slow start that saw Hofstra begin the game on a 17-1 run, including 14 unanswered points, the Wildcats used a 15-1 run – sparked by an Alvin Abreu 3-pointer from the left wing at 11:37 – to climb back into the game. The remainder of the half was a back-and-forth affair that ended with Hofstra leading 30-24. Freshman forward Brian Benson would provide the late spark for the Wildcats as he scored all five of his first-half points in the final two minutes of play, including his first career 3-pointer. Benson finished with a career-high seven points.

The Wildcats came out in the second half torching the nets as they went on a 16-4 run out of the gate in the first seven minutes of play. A 3-pointer by junior guard Colbey Santos, with 12:48 left, capped the run and gave UNH its largest lead of the game at 40-34. The Wildcats led 47-43 with just under nine minutes left when Hofstra used an 8-2 run to grab a 51-49 lead with 6:08 left in the game.

Senior guard Tyrece Gibbs tallied eight points, six rebounds and two assists, while reaching a handful of milestones. Gibbs also recorded a career-high four steals and tied a career high with three blocks. Gibbs posted his 200th career assist and also moved into ninth place on UNH’s all-time blocks list with 45 to become just the fourth Wildcat in history to amass 1,000 points, 200 assists and 45 blocks. Gibbs, who finished with 1,020 points, moved past Marcus Bullock (1,015) and Eric Thielen (1,019) for 22nd on UNH’s all-time scoring list. 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.

The Wildcats were outshot 35 percent (18-52) to 34 percent (20-59), but outscored Hofstra in the paint, 24-14.

The Pride were led by Greg Washington, who tallied 13 points and seven rebounds. Charles Jenkins also contributed by adding 12 points.

LAST TIME OUT

Junior Alvin Abreu poured in a season-high 25 points as the Wildcats earned a 67-55 win against Central Connecticut State University on Dec. 9 at Lundholm Gymnasium.

The Wildcats evened their record at 3-3, including a perfect 3-0 at home, while the Blue Devils fell to 2-5.

Abreu, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, broke out on 9 of 14 shooting, including 4 of 7 from behind the arc, and was 3-for-4 at the line to go along with three assists, two rebounds and a steal in 36 minutes.

After Central Connecticut started the game on a 7-2 run, the Wildcats came back with a 9-2 run of their own - with seven points coming from Abreu - to take an 11-9 lead at 15:09. Senior Radar Onguetou sparked the run with a tough layup inside after Abreu found him with a great pass exactly three minutes earlier.

The Blue Devils hit back with a basket to tie the game at 11 and the remainder of the half went back and forth, with neither team grabbing a lead larger than three until there were under two minutes on the clock.

With the game knotted - for the fifth time - at 25 with 2:50 remaining, UNH took the lead for good when Onguetou reeled in an offensive rebound and layed the ball in. CCSU shaved the deficit in half with a free throw from David Simmons, but junior guard Tyrone Conley sank a 3 to give the Wildcats a 30-26 lead with 1:44 to go. Vince Rosario came right back with a 3 of his own, but Abreu nailed another jumper with 52 seconds on the clock to close the scoring and give the ‘Cats a 32-29 lead at the half. Abreu had a monster opening half with 16 of his game-high 25 points coming on 6 of 8 shooting, including 3 of 5 from deep.

UNH opened the second half with seven straight points to take a 39-29 advantage 3:07 in. After the Blue Devils cut their deficit to five, Conley sank a trey and Abreu made another jumper to re-gain the 10-point lead at 44-34 with 10:59 remaining. Following a Joe Seymore free throw, Conley pushed the lead to 11 after taking a pass from sophomore Russell Graham on the fast break and throwing it down with one hand over a Central Connecticut defender. Graham handed out five assists and added six points, three rebounds, a block and a steal.
Radar Onguetou

A 9-3 CCSU run - sparked by a Shemik Thompson basket and capped by a Thompson 3-pointer - made it 48-42 with 6:44 to go. The Blue Devils would get as close as 49-44, but Conley and Abreu drilled 3-pointers to cap an 8-0 run that made it 57-44 with 3:41 left. Central Connecticut used a 9-4 spurt to climb to within eight, but UNH scored six straight, getting its exclamation point from a Dane DiLiegro double-pump dunk after he slipped ahead of the pack and took a feed from Conley that gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the night at 67-53 with 35 seconds on the clock.

Conley finished with 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal, but busted out in the second stanza with 13 points after he shot 3 of 5 from the floor, including a perfect 2-for-2 from deep, and made five of his six shots at the stripe. Onguetou matched his season high with 12 points to go along with six rebounds, while DiLiegro tallied eight points, three boards and two assists in 40 minutes.

After a defensive struggle in their previous game against the Big East’s Pitt, the Wildcats came out on fire and stayed hot throughout the game as they shot 50 percent (23-46) from the field, including 42.9 percent (9-21) from behind the arc. The ‘Cats, who held the Blue Devils to 41.2 percent (21-51) shooting overall, and just 27.8 percent (5-18) from deep, were also a season-best 75 percent (12-16) at the line. UNH held the advantage on the glass, as well, outrebounding CCSU, 32-23.

Thompson led Central Connecticut with 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting, while Seymore added 10 in defeat.

SOMETHING GOOD ABREU-IN'

Junior Alvin Abreu erupted for a season-high 25 points in the Wildcats’ 67-55 win against Central Connecticut State on Dec. 9. The total was Abreu’s second highest of his career and most since he dropped 28 on Santa Clara at Lundholm Gymnasium on Jan. 4, 2009.

TICKLING THE TWINE

After a defensive struggle in their previous game at Pitt in which the Wildcats scored 32 points, they came in on fire versus Central Connecticut State and stayed hot throughout the game. The ‘Cats set season highs in shooting percentage from the field (.500), behind the arc (.429) and at the line (.750).

DEFENSIVE SPECIALISTS

The Wildcats have built on their solid defensive year a season ago and have only allowed 60 or more points in a game twice – to then 25th-ranked Maryland and 7-2 Harvard, which is averaging 76.9 points per game and has wins at Boston College and Boston University, as well as a six-point loss at 13th-ranked UConn. The ‘Cats, who held the Big East’s Pitt to 47 points Dec. 4, are tied for the league lead in scoring defense at 60.8 ppg. UNH also is tops in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage defense at 27.7 percent – 5.6 percent better than the next closest mark.

'CATS DON'T GIVETH, BUT DO TAKETH AWAY

A combination of taking care of the ball and forcing turnovers, has placed the Wildcats third in the conference in turnover margin (+1.0). Only twice have the ‘Cats coughed the ball up more than their opponent, and their defense is tied for second in the conference in forced turnovers per game (15.7). Sophomore Russell Graham also ranks second in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at (+2.4).

HOME, SWEET HOME

Dating back to the end of last season, the Wildcats have won six consecutive games at home, which is tied for the second longest streak since the 1960-61 season. If the ‘Cats are victorious in their next game at home, only one time in the last 49 years will they have won more home games in a row. UNH won 12 straight games at Lundholm from Nov. 30, 1982-Jan. 2, 1984. The program then recorded six straight home W’s from Nov. 25, 1997-Jan. 10, 1998 before the current streak that began Feb. 18, 2009.

MORE HOME COOKIN'

The Wildcats have started out the season 3-0 at home for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The last time they started out 4-0 at home was the 1968-69 season when the ‘Cats won their first five games in Durham.

TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS

Heading into tonight's contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 529 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 745 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.

3-POINT THREAT

Senior Radar Onguetou is leading the Wildcats in 3-point shooting after sinking 50 percent (9-18) of his attempts. Onguetou came into the season a career 20 percent (9-45) shooter from long range.

TOP-NOTCH OPPONENTS

The combined record of the three teams UNH has lost to this season is 19-7 (.731). The Wildcats have suffered all of their defeats on the road at Maryland (5-3), Harvard (7-2) and Pitt (7-2).

NATIONALLY RANKED (AS OF DEC. 5)

UNH is ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in a trio of categories. The Wildcats are 34th in 3-point field goal defense (.276), 63rd in scoring defense (62.0 ppg) and 96th in turnover margin (2.0). Individually, Russell Graham is 53rd in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.63) and Dane DiLiegro is 80th in rebounding (8.6 rpg).

HERRION VS. WILDCATS' 2009-10 OPPONENTS

Coming into the season, Bill Herrion owned a 115-67 (.632) record against the Wildcats’ 2009-10 opponents.

CAGING THE PANTHERS

In their 47-32 loss Dec. 4, the Wildcats held Pitt to its lowest scoring output since March 10, 2007 when Georgetown only allowed 42 points in a 65-42 win against the Panthers in the Big East title game at Madison Square Garden. Against UNH, Pitt was held scoreless for the first 5:15 of the game, did not convert its first field goal until 6:37 in, and went 15:30 before grabbing its first lead.

PHILLY'S FINEST

Freshman Myrick scored a career-high 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting, including 1 of 1 from behind the arc, in a career-high 18 minutes against the Big East’s Pitt on Dec. 4.

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.

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.

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 at the time. Senior Radar Onguetou matched his career best by grabbing 12 rebounds, which tied for the third best mark in the league. Sophomore Russell Graham surpassed his previous career high by handing out seven assists, the fourth best America East mark on the year at the time.

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.

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.

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.

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.

DEMPSEY ON COLLEGE CHALKTALK

Associate Head Coach Ken Dempsey will be blogging at various points of the season on College Chalktalk. To follow along with Dempsey’s entries, click here.

WILDCAT BASKETBALL ON THE AIR

In the summer of 1999, the University of New Hampshire Athletic Department formed the “UNH Sports Network” — the largest network ever to broadcast UNH sporting events. Wildcats Sports Properties has added WGIN-AM 930 (Rochester) and WQSO-FM 96.7 (Portsmouth) as flagship stations on the Wildcat Sports Network, joining WGIR-AM 610 (Manchester), which was added in 2008. All three stations are part of the Clear Channel family and this change will go into effect at the beginning of the 2009-10 season. These three aforementioned stations – along with WUVR-AM 1490 (Lebanon), WNTK-FM 99.7 (New London) and WCNL-AM 1010 (Newport) – will carry the following: all UNH football & men’s hockey broadcasts and weekly coaches’ shows, a select number of men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and women’s hockey broadcasts, as well as “Wildcat Sports Today”, a three-minute daily update concerning UNH athletics. The games can also be heard on the internet at www.UNHWildcats.com, through a service from Stretch Internet. Stretch has also partnered with UNH to develop a podcast page for UNH fans to listen to archived broadcasts.  Veteran play-by-play man Jim Jeannotte will return for his 29th year broadcasting UNH men’s basketball. Jeannotte will be joined by color analyst Mike Murphy, who enters his 10th season calling Wildcat men’s hoop.

WILDCAT BASKETBALL STREAMING LIVE

UNHWildcats.com, via Stretch Internet Broadcast, will carry 11 UNH men’s basketball games, as well as a pair of road contests this season. If you cannot attend Wildcat basketball, you can still tune into the game from anywhere you can gain access to the internet. Fans can get to the UNH men’s basketball broadcast site by going to the men’s basketball schedule page at www.UNHWildcats.com.

UNH HOOPS ON WILDCATS.TV

UNH and Pack Network have once again partnered to provide online video streaming of UNH’s seven ticketed sports for the upcoming 2009-10 season with UNHwildcats.Tv. Wildcat fans are encouraged to buy the “Wildcat All-Access Pass” which is an annual subscription for $79.95 that provides all the live coverage of UNH home athletic events. Fans can also purchase home events on a per game basis of $6.95.

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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