DURHAM, N.H. - Junior Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) scored 13 points, including the 1,000th of his career, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team fell to the University of Hartford, 57-54, on a 3-pointer by Joe Zeglinski as time expired Saturday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.
The Wildcats drop their third straight game to fall to 8-13 on the season, including 7-2 at home and 3-7 in America East play. The Hawks sweep the season series from UNH for the first time since the 2003-04 season and improve to 7-16, 5-5 AE.
Abreu became the 27th Wildcat to reach the 1,000-point plateau, and with 1,003 career points he passed Pat Manor (1,000) for 26th on UNH's all-time list. Abreu, UNH's America East Player of the Game, also matched his career-high with eight rebounds, set a new career best with three blocks and added a pair of assists.
Junior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) added 12 points on 4 of 9 shooting from behind the arc to go along with three assists and three rebounds, but only played 22 minutes due to foul trouble. Classmate Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) posted eight points and 12 boards, while senior Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) recorded nine points and nine rebounds.
Zeglinski, the Hawks' America East Player of the Game, led Hartford with 17 points on 7-for-15 shooting, including 2-for-6 from deep, and added eight rebounds, a block and a steal.
After trailing by as many as eight, the Wildcats were down 45-43 with 5:30 to go in the game when Abreu nailed a 3-pointer to give his team the one-point lead. After a Zeglinski layup jumped Hartford in front, Conley knocked down his final trey of the day to put UNH up 49-47 with 4:13 remaining.
Zeglinski kept his team going, however, converting another layup at 3:06 to knot the game before three straight free throws gave Hartford a 52-49 advantage with 1:44 to go. Abreu then picked the perfect time to reach his milestone, sinking the bucket while drawing the foul with 1:28 on the clock. After a standing ovation from the 2,073 fans in attendance, Abreu knocked down the free throw to tie the game at 52.
It was Zeglinski again, however, hitting a jumper in the paint to lift his team up by two with 1:09 left. After an empty possession by each team, the Wildcats had the ball with 18 seconds to go and found Abreu on the left baseline where he sank a jumper with four seconds on the clock to tie the game at 54. Hartford then quickly inbounded the ball to Zeglinski, who pushed it up the middle of the floor before pulling up from 30 feet and burying the shot off the glass as the horn sounded.
With the game tied 5-5 in the early going, Zenglinski hit a jumper that sparked a 6-0 Hartford run, which made it 11-5 midway through the opening half. After an Abreu jumper brought the Wildcats to within 13-9, consecutive baskets by Zeglinski and Andre Torres gave the Hawks their largest lead of the game at 17-9 with 5:34 remaining.
Freshman Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) answered with a 3 from the left wing to cut it to five. After a bucket from Milton Burton, a layup by Onguetou and a pair of free throws from senior Colbey Santos (Onset, Mass.) brought UNH to within three at 4:21. A dunk by Burton and a pair at the line for David Bookman widened Hartford's lead to 23-16, however, with 3:28 to play.
Abreu came back with a jumper to slice the deficit to five and Onguetou followed with 1 of 2 at the line to make it 23-19. A Morgan Sabia 3-pointer then pushed the lead back to seven before Onguetou answered with a big three-point play that made it 26-22. Zeglinski then hit a deep 3 with the shot clock winding down to make the lead seven again with 22 seconds left. UNH had the last shot of the half and with the clock down under five seconds, Rhoads drove the ball into the paint and made a runner off the glass as time expired to send his team into the locker room trailing 29-24.
Rhoads finished with six points, four assists and a pair of blocks on Zeglinski in 25 minutes off the bench.
DiLiegro and Anthony Minor traded dunks in the opening minutes of the second half before Conley drilled a 3 to pull the Wildcats within 31-29 just 2:07 in. After Charles White converted a three-point play, Conley hit back with another trifecta to pull back within two.
After a Minor free throw, the Wildcats crafted a 5-0 run on a foul shot by Abreu and layups by DiLiegro and freshman Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) to take their first lead in over 22 minutes at 37-35 with 12:03 to play. Torres and DiLiegro then traded layups before Torres and Conley traded 3-pointers that brought the score to 42-40 at 8:28.
Burton then sank a pair at the line to tie the game, before a free throw from Rhoads gave the Wildcats a 43-42 edge at 7:34. Sabia stepped to the line 17 seconds later and hit both before Zeglinski followed with 1 of 2 at the line to give Hartford a 45-43 lead with 6:34 remaining.
Myrick chipped in four with points, five boards and a block in 16 minutes off the bench.
Hartford outshot UNH, 41.3 percent (19-46) to 34.5 percent (20-58) and outscored the Wildcats in the paint, 24-18. The Hawks also led 9-2 in points off turnovers, giving the ball away just six times while forcing 10 UNH turnovers. The ‘Cats held a 12-3 advantage in second-chance points after winning the battle on the boards, 42-32, including 18-7 on the offensive end. Onguetou pulled down five offensive rebounds, while DiLiegro and Myrick recorded four a piece.
Burton added 14 points and five rebounds for the Hawks.
The Wildcats return to action Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. when they take on the University at Albany at SEFCU Arena, live on Time Warner 3.