February 9, 2010

MEN'S BASKETBALL VISITS ALBANY ON FEB. 9

COMPLETE GAME NOTES

DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will try for its third season sweep of the University at Albany in five years when it meets up with the Great Danes on Tuesday, Feb. 9 (7 p.m.) at SEFCU Arena. The game will be aired live on Time Warner 3. Links to live audio and video, as well as live stats, will be available at www.UNHWildcats.com.

The Wildcats and Great Danes meet for the 21st time in their relatively young conference rivalry, with Albany leading the all-time series, 11-9. The series has shifted control over the years, with UNH having won four of the last five meetings, including three straight, after Albany had won four in a row. Prior to that run, UNH had won four of six after the Great Danes had been victorious in four of the first five. The Wildcats have won four of the last five at home against Albany, but the Great Danes have protected their home court as well, winning three of the last five at SEFCU Arena. In the most recent meeting Jan. 13, 2010, juniors Dane DiLiegro and Alvin Abreu each scored 13 points to lead five Wildcats in double figures as they defeated Albany, 67-59, at Lundholm Gymnasium.

The Wildcats snapped a three-game skid to improve to 6-8 on the season, including 1-2 in America East play. The ‘Cats also bettered their home record to 6-1 to match their best start through seven games in Durham since the 1997-98 season. They were 9-1 in their last 10 at Lundholm. The Great Danes, who lost to UNH for the fourth time in five meetings, including three straight, fell to 5-13 overall and 0-3 in the conference.

UNH had five scorers with 10 or more points in a game for the first time since Jan. 4, 2004 when Craig Walls (14), Marcus Bullock (12), Blagoj Janev (11), Griffin Walker (11) and Roland Williams (10) all scored in double digits at home against Northeastern.

DiLiegro, UNH’s America East Player of the Game, pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds to record his second double-double in the last three games, while Abreu added three assists, two rebounds and two steals. Sophomore Russell Graham netted a career-high 11 points to go along with six assists and five rebounds. Senior Radar Onguetou posted 10 points and six boards and classmate Colbey Santos also chipped in with 10 points.

Will Harris, Albany’s America East Player of the Game, led the Great Danes with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

After a 15-0 Albany run that cut UNH’s lead to 50-48 with 4:23 remaining in the game, the Wildcats stayed tough and widened their lead. DiLiegro stopped the bleeding when he slipped free inside, took a feed from Abreu and hammered the ball down with two hands to score the Wildcats’ first points in a span of 8:16. Santos then followed with a huge 3-pointer that made it 55-48 with just under three minutes to go.

A pair of free throws cut it to five before junior Tyrone Conley knocked down a 3 to make it 58-50 at 2:08. After Tim Ambrose made a layup that cut UNH’s lead to 59-54 with 1:06 left, Graham made a pair at the line, but Logan Aronhalt drilled a 3-pointer to slice it to four with 50 seconds on the clock. Graham then missed both at the stripe, but Conley came up with a giant steal for his team. Looking like a free safety, Conley went up and snatched Ambrose’s long pass with one hand before he quickly got it to Graham, who this time sank both at the stripe to give the Wildcats a 63-57 lead with 41 seconds to play.

The Wildcats came up with another steal, this time from Santos, who drew the foul and made both free throws to push the lead to eight. Albany hit 1 of 2 at the line when DiLiegro sank both to make it 67-58 with 17 seconds left. Harris closed the scoring with a free throw at the seven-second mark. UNH went 8-for-10 at the line in the final 1:03 of the game.

Conley finished with seven points.

UNH nearly led wire-to-wire, but ended up leading for the final 35:44 of the contest. After starting out in a 3-0 hole, Albany received back-to-back baskets from Harris and Brent Gifford to take a one-point lead at 16:54. Abreu buried a 3-pointer to put UNH up two, but Mike Johnson came back with a layup that tied it at six with 16:09 to play in the opening half. Graham sparked an 8-0 run with a 3-pointer, however, giving the Wildcats the lead for good. Junior James Valladares followed with another 3 before Santos capped the run with a layup - taking a feed from freshman Chandler Rhoads, who finished with three assists - to make it 14-6 at 12:24.

Albany responded with a 10-3 run - the three UNH points coming on a beautiful three-point play from Abreu - to slice the Wildcat lead to 17-16 at 8:28. Onguetou halted the run with a 3-pointer to push the lead to four, before a driving layup by Conley later made it 24-18 with 5:11 to play. After a Harris 3-pointer cut it to two, however, Onguetou came back with another 3, followed by an Abreu layup that opened the lead to 30-23 at 2:46.

An Aronhalt layup got Albany to within five as time was winding down, but Graham found an open Abreu, who buried a 3-pointer with 13 seconds on the clock to close the scoring and send his team into the locker room with a 34-26 lead. The Wildcats improved to 6-0 when leading at the half.

The Wildcats wasted no time expanding their lead in the second half, ripping off an 8-0 run - with six points from DiLiegro - to seize a 42-26 lead with 16:35 remaining. After another Harris trey cut it to 11, baskets by Onguetou, Graham and Santos gave UNH its largest lead of the night at 50-33 with 12:01 to play. From there, however, Albany would go on their 15-0 run - with six points from Aronhalt and four from Ambrose - to get right back in the game. The Wildcat defense held strong, however, forcing the Great Danes to shoot 2-for-7 in the final 4:23 after the big run.

Aronhalt and Ambrose each chipped in with 12 and 10, respectively, for the Great Danes.

The Wildcats outshot Albany, 38.5 percent (20-52) to 36.4 percent (20-55). Albany held advantages on the glass (37-36), in the paint (28-16) and in bench scoring (29-13), while both teams turned the ball over just nine times. The ‘Cats, who own the league’s top defense, improved to 6-2 when holding their opponent under 60 points, and 5-1 when forcing their opponent to shoot under 40 percent from the floor.

LAST TIME OUT

Junior Alvin Abreu scored 13 points, including the 1,000th of his career, but the Wildcats fell to Hartford, 57-54, on a 3-pointer by Joe Zeglinski as time expired Feb. 6 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 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 posted eight points and 12 boards, while senior Radar Onguetou 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 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 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 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.

ABREU'S MILESTONE

Junior Alvin Abreu became the 27th Wildcat to reach the 1,000-point plateau on his basket with 1:28 remaining in the game against Hartford on Feb. 6. Abreu is the first to reach the milestone since Tyrece Gibbs (1,329) last season.

500-500 CLUB

Junior Dane DiLiegro needs one point to join UNH’s 500 points-500 rebounds club. DiLiegro, who currently stands at 499 points and 566 rebounds, would be the 14th member of the club, which features 11 1,000-point scorers. DiLiegro is the first to reach the milestone since Tyrece Gibbs (1,329 pts, 506 rebs) last season.

HOME, SWEET HOME

The Wildcats have started out the season 7-2 at home for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign when they won seven of their first nine games in Durham. The next best home start was 8-2 during the 1994-95 season. The ‘Cats have been victorious in 10 of their last 12 home contests dating back to last year.

CONLEY TY-RRIFIC OVER LAST 16 GAMES

Tyrone Conley has caught fire over the last 16 games. After averaging just 6.6 points per game on 26.1 percent (12-46) shooting from the field, 18.5 percent (5-27) shooting from deep and 40 percent (4-10) shooting at the line through his first five games, Conley has picked up his game as of late. The junior is pouring in 13.9 ppg on 38.9 percent (70-180) shooting from the floor, 38.1 percent (40-105) shooting from behind the arc and 67.7 percent (42-62) shooting at the stripe.

FERG-OTTEN ONE NO MORE

Freshman Ferg Myrick has provided a lift off the bench for the Wildcats as of late. After playing in just 10 of UNH’s first 15 games and averaging 4.2 points per game, Myrick has received solid minutes in his team’s last six contests and is putting up good numbers. The 6-foot-6-inch wing is averaging 10.0 ppg on 44.4 percent (20-45) shooting from the floor, 50.0 percent (5-10) shooting from behind the arc and 88.2 percent (15-17) shooting at the line.

ABREU NOT LIGHTENING HIS LOAD

Junior Alvin Abreu has begun to carry more of the scoring load over the last nine games, averaging 14.8 points per game. Take out his career-low one-point performance at Maine on Jan. 18 and the tri-captain is averaging 16.5 ppg during that span.

NATIONALLY RANKED (AS OF FEB. 7)

UNH is ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in a trio of categories. The Wildcats are 40th in scoring defense (61.7 ppg), 32nd in 3-point field goal defense (.301) and 71st in field goal percentage defense (.408). The Wildcats have also climbed to 101st in 3-pointers made per game (6.8). Individually, Russell Graham is 21st in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.58) and 93rd in assists (4.4), and Dane DiLiegro is 75th in rebounding (8.4 rpg).

DEFENSIVE SPECIALISTS

The Wildcats have built on their solid defensive year a season ago and have held their opponents to 60 points or less in a game 13 out of 20 times. The ‘Cats, who held the Big East’s Pitt to 47 points Dec. 4, are second in the league in scoring defense at 61.7 ppg. UNH leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage defense at 30.1 percent and is third in field goal percentage defense at 40.8 percent.

'CATS AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS

A number of Wildcats find themselves in the top 10 on a handful of conference lists. Point guard Russell Graham ranks first in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.6) and third in assists (4.4 apg), Dane DiLiegro is third in rebounding (8.4 rpg) and fifth in field goal percentage (.472), Tyrone Conley is seventh in 3-pointers made per game (2.1), Radar Onguetou is sixth in rebounding (6.3 rpg), and Alvin Abreu is eighth in 3-pointers made per game (1.9) and ninth in scoring (13.9).

LOVEABLE LUNDHOLM

Junior Alvin Abreu is averaging 17.0 points per game this season at Lundholm Gymnasium, while adding 11.5 ppg on the road. Abreu is also shooting 42.4 percent (50-118) at home, but hitting on just 29.8 percent (45-151) of his shots away from Lundholm. The same trend holds true for the whole squad, which averages 68.2 ppg on 41.8 percent shooting at home and just 54.9 ppg on 34.5 percent shooting on the road.

JUNIOR TRIO SOLID IN CRUNCH TIME

Juniors Alvin Abreu, Tyrone Conley and Dane DiLiegro have stepped up down the stretch in games this season for the Wildcats. In the final five minutes, the three are a combined 38-for-73 (.521) from the field and 45 of 63 (.714) at the line. Inside of one minute, the trio is also impressive, shooting 9 of 20 (.450) from the floor and 26 of 31 (.839) at the stripe.

TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS

Heading into Saturday’s contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 544 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 761 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.

TOP-NOTCH OPPONENTS

The combined record of the 11 teams UNH has lost to this season is 145-111 (.566). The Wildcats have suffered their defeats on the road at Maryland (16-6), Harvard (15-5), Pitt (17-6), Hofstra (12-13), Army (13-9), Santa Clara (10-16), Stony Brook (16-7),  Maine (15-8) and Binghamton (11-14), as well as Boston U. (13-11) and Hartford (7-16), who they also lost to at home.

WILDCATS RECEIVE BRACKETBUSTERS OPPONENT

The Wildcats will play Loyola University (Md.) in the team’s first ever ESPN BracketBusters game, ESPN announced Feb. 1.

The game, which will be the first meeting between the ‘Cats and Greyhounds, is set for Saturday, Feb. 20 (1 p.m.) at Loyola’s 2,100-seat Reitz Arena. The teams will play a “return” game at Lundholm Gymnasium in either November or December of 2011.

The Greyhounds, who play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, are currently 10-11 this season, including 3-8 in the MAAC. Loyola is 5-0 against common opponents, having beat Vermont (79-66) and Marist (68-61) at home, as well as UMBC (69-66), Dartmouth (58-41) and Marist (80-64) on the road. UNH is 4-0 against those same opponents with wins at UMBC (62-58) and at home against Marist (72-58), Dartmouth (69-59) and Vermont (75-56).

While UNH has never played in a BracketBusters game, Loyola is 2-2 in their four BracketBusters contests. The Greyhounds won at home against High Point (77-71) in 2006 and on the road at Tennessee State (62-60) in 2007, while dropping games to UC Davis (67-64) at home in 2008 and at Drexel (74-58) last season.

OVER 60

The Wildcat offense has been improving over the last couple of weeks, stringing together three games of 60-plus points with 62-, 75- and 73-point performances against UMBC, Vermont and Binghamton, respectively. In their two most recent games, however, the defense has allowed more than 60 points (Binghamton – 76, Boston U. – 69) in consecutive contests for just the second time this year, including the first in conference play.

CONFERENCE COACHING CONQUESTS

Head coach Bill Herrion is currently tops among active coaches and third overall in America East regular season conference victories. Herrion’s 134 conference wins are far and away better than the league’s other eight coaches, with Albany’s Will Brown the next closest with 64. Overall, Herrion sits behind only former Boston University head coach Dennis Wolff (152) and long-time Vermont head man Tom Brennan (147).

DYNAMIC DUO

Juniors Tyrone Conley and Alvin Abreu each scored 21 points in the Wildcats’ 75-56 win versus Vermont on Jan. 27. It was the second time this season, as well as in their careers that the two have scored 20 or more in the same game. The duo also accomplished the feat in a 69-59 win against Dartmouth on Dec. 20.

FREE HANDOUTS

In the Wildcats’ 75-56 victory against Vermont on Jan. 27, sophomore point guard Russell Graham handed out a career-high 12 assists, while only turning the ball over once in a career-best 37 minutes. As a team, the ‘Cats recorded 19 assists – the most assists they have had against a Division I team this season – on 26 field goals.

OTHER SEASON BESTS VS. VERMONT

In the 75-56 win versus Vermont on Jan. 27, the Wildcats reached a season high against Division I opponents in points (75), as well as season bests in blocks (7) and attendance (2,355). The attendance was the highest at Lundholm Gymnasium since 2,384 fans watched Vermont beat UNH, 64-56, Jan. 28, 2006.

PHILLY'S FINEST

Freshman Ferg Myrick helped lead the Wildcats to their first road victory of the season, 62-58, at UMBC on Jan. 21 with a career-best 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting, including 2 of 3 from behind the arc. Myrick crafted a 12-0 run that pushed his team’s lead from 43-40 with 10:22 to play, to 52-43 with 7:08 remaining, and also fueled an 8-2 run earlier in the game that turned a two-point deficit into a two-point lead with a pair of 3-pointers.

GRAHAM-TASTIC!

Point guard Russell Graham really picked up his play over three games from Jan. 13-Jan. 18, averaging 5.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists and just 1.0 turnover per game during that span, which included lines of six points, eight rebounds and seven assists Jan. 18 at Maine and a career-high 11 points, five boards and six helpers Jan. 13 versus Albany. The sophomore also started contributing more offensively over five games from Jan. 7-Jan. 18, averaging 6.6 points per contest, with nine- and seven-point outings Jan. 7 against Boston U. and Jan. 10 at Stony Brook, respectively.

LATE TO THE PARTY

After not even attempting a 3-pointer in the first 46 games of his career, junior James Valladares has hit a trey in four consecutive contests from Jan. 10-Jan.18.

PARTY OF FIVE

In their 67-59 win against Albany on Jan. 13, the Wildcats had five scorers in double digits. It marked the first time they had five scorers with 10 or more points in a game since Jan. 4, 2004 when Craig Walls (14), Marcus Bullock (12), Blagoj Janev (11), Griffin Walker (11) and Roland Williams (10) all scored in double digits at home against Northeastern.

GREAT DANE

Junior Dane DiLiegro recorded a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds in the Wildcats’ 67-59 win against the Albany Great Danes on Jan. 13. DiLiegro, who also posted a double-double of 20 points and 16 boards against Boston U. on Jan. 7, submitted two double-doubles in a three-game span for the first time in his career.

GOLDEN GRAHAM

Sophomore Russell Graham put together a solid night in the Wildcats’ 67-59 win against Albany on Jan. 13. The point guard scored a career-high 11 points on 3 of 6 shooting from the field, including 1 of 2 from behind the arc and added five rebounds, six assists and just two turnovers.

GLASS MILESTONE

Junior Dane DiLiegro recorded his 500th career rebound with his third board of the game against Stony Brook on Jan. 10 to become the 90th player in America East history to reach the mark. DiLiegro is the second active leading rebounder in the conference behind Vermont’s Marqus Blakely.

FIRST TRIP DOWNTOWN

Against Stony Brook on Jan. 10, junior James Valladares broke out for a career-high 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting, including 3 of 4 from 3-point land. Valladares, who played a season-high 23 minutes, had never even attempted a 3-pointer in his career coming into the game.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR DOUBLE D

Dane DiLiegro was a monster inside for the Wildcats in their game against Boston U. on Jan. 7. DiLiegro netted 20 points and was one rebound shy of his career best, pulling down a season-high 16 boards as he recorded his second double-double of the season and seventh of his career. It was the highest point and rebound totals DiLiegro has reached in a single game during his career.

SECOND CHANCES

Ferg Myrick made the most of his 15 minutes against Boston U. on Jan. 7. The freshman chipped in with four points and added a block, but it was on the glass where he made his biggest impact. Myrick pulled down eight boards, including five on the offensive end.

GRAHAM ON POINT

Sophomore point guard Russell Graham continued his solid play for the Wildcats against Boston U. on Jan. 7 as he matched his career high with nine points and added five assists, four rebounds and steal, while only turning the ball over twice in a career-best 33 minutes.

CLOUD NINE

In their Jan. 2 game at Santa Clara, juniors Tyrone Conley and Dane DiLiegro each recorded nine field goals, shooting 9-for-16 and 9-for-12 from the floor, respectively. The last time two Wildcats have posted nine or more baskets in the same game was Feb. 24, 1995 against Drexel and current head coach Bill Herrion. Scott Drapeau and Matt Alosa each tallied nine buckets for the ‘Cats at Lundholm Gymnasium as they were 9 of 23 and 9 of 24 on the night, respectively.

FAST 50

With his 63-55 win against Colgate on Dec. 30, head coach Bill Herrion earned his 50th career victory at UNH and became just the second coach in program history to record 50 wins in less than five full seasons. Gerry Friel, UNH’s all-time winningest coach, won 61 games in his first five years in Durham.

.500 CLUB

With their 63-55 win versus Colgate on Dec. 30, the Wildcats improved to 5-5 on the season, marking the first time the ‘Cats have reached New Year’s Day at .500 or better since they started the 1997-98 season at 5-5 through the first two months of the year.

CLAMPING DOWN

The Wildcat defense once again played a strong role in the team’s 63-55 win against Colgate on Dec. 30. The ‘Cats held the Raiders withouth a field goal for the first 5:54 of the game and then sealed the win by forcing Colgate to miss all four of their shots over the final 32 seconds.

REELING IN THE REBOUNDS

In their 63-55 win against Colgate on Dec. 30, the Wildcats had three players record at least eight rebounds en route to holding a 46-31 advantage on the glass. Dane DiLiegro pulled in 10 boards, and Alvin Abreu and Radar Onguetou reeled in eight apiece as the ‘Cats posted their highest total versus a Division I opponent this season.

BOOT CAMP BOARDING

Juniors Dane DiLiegro matched his season high by pulling down 15 rebounds at Army on Dec. 22. DiLiegro also recorded 15 boards in the season opener versus Suffolk on Nov. 14.

CENTER OF ATTENTION

With starting center Dane DiLiegro in foul trouble for much of the Wildcats' 69-59 win against Dartmouth on Dec. 20, freshman center Chris Matagrano gave the ‘Cats a nice lift off the bench. Matagrano reached career highs in points (5) and rebounds (4) in 10 minutes.

WELL, THAT DIDN'T LAST VERY LONG

After setting season highs in field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage in their previous home game against Central Connecticut State, the Wildcats heated up again to erase those marks in a 69-59 win versus Dartmouth on Dec. 20. The ‘Cats shot 53.3 percent (24-45) from the field and 44.4 percent (4-9) from behind the arc against the Big Green.

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).

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.

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.

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