ALBANY, N.Y. - Junior Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) scored a game-high 22 points, including 15 in the second half, to lead the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team to a 62-53 victory against the University at Albany on Tuesday evening at SEFCU Arena.
With the win, the Wildcats earn a regular-season sweep of Albany (67-59 victors at Lundholm Gymnasium on Jan. 13) for the third time in five years and have now won five of the past six, including four straight against the Great Danes. The ‘Cats improve to 9-13 on the season, including 4-7 in America East play, while the Great Danes drop their eighth straight game and fall to 6-21, 1-11 AE.
Abreu garnered America East Player of the Game honors for UNH by shooting 7-for-12 from the floor, including 3-for-6 from behind the arc. Abreu made five of his six free throws and added three rebounds, an assist and a steal. Classmate Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) netted 12 points on 4 of 8 shooting, including 2 of 3 from deep. Conley made both of his shots at the line, grabbed a pair of rebounds and made a steal.
Fran Urli and Mike Black led Albany with 14 points apiece.
The Wildcats improved to 9-2 when leading at halftime after heading into the break with a 27-22 advantage. Will Harris opened the second-half scoring with a jumper that sliced the Albany deficit to three, but UNH clamped down and ripped off an 18-6 run over the next six-plus minutes. Consecutive layups from junior Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) and Abreu pushed the lead to seven before a Black jumper made it 31-26. Abreu then answered back with a jumper, but Black sank a pair of free throws to keep his team within five.
Layups from sophomore Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) and Conley made it 37-28 before a Conley steal, followed by a fast-break dunk opened the lead to 11. Abreu sank a 3-pointer from the right wing before Urli stopped the bleeding with a jump hook that cut it to 12. Abreu came back down on the next possession, however, and drained another 3 from the right wing that capped the run and gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the night at 45-30 with 12:29 to play.
UNH still lead by 15, 54-39 with 4:53 remaining, when a 7-0 run brought Albany back into the game and made it 54-46 with 1:40 left. From there, however, the Wildcats sank 8 of 10 at the line, including two by Abreu with 22 seconds remaining that closed the scoring and sealed the 62-53 win.
DiLiegro posted six points and 10 boards as he became the 14th member of UNH's 500 points-500 rebounds club. The center finished the night with 505 points and 576 rebounds, which moved him into 10th place on the Wildcats' all-time rebounding list. Benson added three points, three rebounds and a block off the bench.
After Albany jumped out to a 5-0 lead to start the game, the Wildcats roared back with a 12-0 run, capped by back-to-back Conley 3-pointers. Senior Colbey Santos (Onset, Mass.) knocked down a 3 at 13:43 that gave UNH a 6-5 lead they would not relinquish. The Great Danes later cut it to 16-12 at 8:51 before a 3 and a jumper from Abreu made it 21-12 with 6:26 to play in the opening half.
An 8-2 spurt from the Great Danes would get them to within 23-20 before a layup by freshman Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) stopped the stretch. A pair of free throws by Harris sliced it to three again, but a jumper in the paint from senior Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) closed the scoring and sent the Wildcats to the locker room with a 27-22 lead.
Santos chipped in with six points on 2 of 3 shooting from deep, while Rhoads also played well off the bench with seven points, five assists and two rebounds.
Abreu ended the night with 1,025 points and moved into 22nd place on UNH's all-time scoring list after passing Tom Horne (1,011), Marcus Bullock (1,015), Eric Thielen (1,019) and Dirk Koopman (1,023).
UNH outshot Albany, 47.6 percent (20-42) to 31.7 percent (13-41), including 50 percent (7-14) to 7.7 percent (1-13) from beyond the arc. The ‘Cats also shot 75 percent (15-20) from the line and turned the ball over 12 times, while forcing the Great Danes into 13 and holding a 15-8 scoring edge in points off turnovers. Albany was 26-for-33 from the stripe and held a 30-28 edge on the glass.
Harris added 12 points for Albany.
The Wildcats return to action Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. when they take on Binghamton University as they Blue Out Lundholm Gymnasium.