HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - Junior Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) scored 16 points, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team fell at Hofstra University, 75-58, Saturday evening at the Mack Sports Complex.
The Wildcats fall to 3-4 on the season, while the Pride improve to 7-3.
Abreu, UNH's America East Player of the Game, added four rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal, while classmate Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) tallied nine points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Fellow junior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) chipped in with 11 points.
Conley opened the game with a 3-pointer that quickly put the Wildcats on top, but Hofstra scored the next seven points before Abreu knocked down a 3 to pull UNH within one at 15:33. The Pride went on another 7-0 run, however, sparked by a Cornelius Vines trey and capped by a David Imes dunk that put Hofstra on top 14-6 with just under 13 minutes remaining in the opening half.
Still trailing by eight with 9:20 left, the Wildcats cut it to five when freshman Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) converted a three-point play to make it 18-13. After the teams traded baskets, Charles Jenkins drained a 3-pointer and came back down the floor and sank a jumper 40 seconds later to push the Pride lead to 25-15 at 6:52.
UNH sliced into Hofstra's advantage the next trip down the floor when sophomore Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a jump hook in the lane. The Wildcats then cut it to six when Abreu came up with a block on a Vines layup and DiLiegro's long outlet pass hit Conley, who finished with a one-handed slam. After a Nathaniel Lester three-point play, Abreu nailed a 3 and sophomore Russell Graham (Norristown, Pa.) followed with a layup that made it 28-24 with 4:05 to play.
That was the closest UNH would get to having another lead, however, as Hofstra went on a 10-2 run that was highlighted by 3-pointers from Chaz Williams, Jenkins and Vines, and gave the Pride a 38-26 advantage with 1:46 left. With three seconds left at the end of the half, Graham hit Abreu with a long pass that led to a layup as Abreu drew the contact. Abreu hit the free throw to cut the deficit to nine, but as time expired, Vines knocked down a 3 from the top of the key to send the Pride into the locker room with a 43-31 lead. Abreu had nine at the break, while Jenkins and Vines each recorded 10.
The teams opened up the second half by trading points, but a Jenkins jumper and a Vines 3 sparked an 8-0 run that opened Hofstra's lead up to 53-33 with 15:51 remaining. The lead was 18 when Vines hit another 3 to stretch it to 21 at 9:36. After a Conley layup cut it to 66-49, Jenkins sank a 3-pointer that touched off a 7-0 run that gave his team its largest lead of the game at 73-49 with 4:19 to go.
That would be the final field goal for the Pride, as UNH closed the game on a 9-2 run, capped off by another long outlet pass from DiLiegro to Abreu for a layup that made it 75-58 with nine seconds on the clock.
Benson finished with eight points and six boards, while Graham tallied four points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Myrick and classmate Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) each finished with five points to go along with two rebounds and two assists, respectively.
Hofstra outshot UNH 47.3 percent (26-55) to 34.5 percent (19-55), led by its 66.7 percent (10-15) effort from behind the arc. The Wildcats, however, won the battle on the boards, 37-33, and outscored the Pride in the paint, 30-20.
Jenkins finished with a game-high 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting, including 3 of 4 from deep, while Vines added 16 on 5 of 6 shooting from behind the arc.
The Wildcats return to action Sunday, Dec. 20 at 3:30 p.m. when they play host to intrastate rival Dartmouth at Lundholm Gymnasium, where the ‘Cats are a perfect 3-0 on the year and are winners of six straight.