WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The sixth-seeded University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will battle No. 2 University of Vermont in an America East semifinal game Sunday, March 7 (7:30 p.m) at the University of Hartford's Chase Arena, as the team looks for its first ever title game berth. The game will be aired live on MYTV New England, as well as online at ESPN360.com and AmericaEast.tv. The contest will also be broadcast live on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network. Links to live audio and video, as well as live stats, will be available at www.UNHWildcats.com.
The Wildcats and Catamounts meet for the 130th time in their long and storied history, with Vermont leading the all-time series, 81-48. The Catamounts have won 15 of the last 18 matchups, including 10 in a row against the Wildcats in the comfort of Patrick Gymnasium. All three of UNH’s wins in the last 17 contests have come at home, including the most recent win Jan. 27.
The two teams have met in the America East tournament two times, with Vermont winning both meetings. The last time they faced off in the tournament was March 6, 2004 at Walter Brown Arena in Boston, Mass., where the second-seeded Catamounts notched a 58-50 quarterfinal win against No. 7 UNH. On March 2, 2001 at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del., No. 8 Vermont scored a first-round victory against the ninth-seeded Wildcats, 78-72.
LAST TIME OUT
Junior Alvin Abreu and sophomore Brian Benson each scored 13 points to lead the sixth-seeded Wildcats to a 68-57 victory against No. 3 Maine in the America East Championship quarterfinal round Saturday night at Hartford’s Chase Arena.
The Wildcats, who improved to 13-16 on the season by beating Maine for the first time in three tries, advance to the seventh semifinal in school history where they will meet No. 2 University of Vermont on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Bill Herrion, who recorded his 295th career victory, becomes the only UNH head coach ever to appear in three semifinal games, and just the second to advance to consecutive semifinals (Gib Chapman - 1994, 1995).
The ‘Cats, who have now won back-to-back quarterfinal games for just the second time ever (1994, 1995), earn their first tournament win against Maine in four tries, first win as the sixth seed in four tries and first win against the third seed in six tries.
The victory also boosted Herrion’s America East tournament resume. Herrion, who is making his 13th appearance in the tournament, is already the all-time winningest coach in America East Championship history, but widened the gap with his 21st victory. Herrion upped his winning percentage to .700 (21-9), which ranks first among active coaches, first among anyone with eight appearances and sixth overall all-time. Herrion also improved to 19-10 (.655) all-time versus Maine, including a perfect 3-0 against the Black Bears in the tournament.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” Herrion said. “They really fought, and they didn’t back down. They were terrific, they really were. We beat a really good basketball team. We had never had a lead in 80 minutes of basketball against Maine this year in the two games, and they’re really, really good.”
Abreu shot 4-for-11 overall,
including 2-for-5 from behind the arc, and was 2 of 4 in the second
half. Benson, meanwhile, set a career high with the 13 points on 5
of 6 shooting, including 2 of 3 from deep. Benson also set a career
best with the two 3-pointers and matched a career high by pulling
down nine rebounds.
Sean McNally led the Black Bears, who finished their season at 19-11, with 16 points, 12 boards, three assists and two blocks.
UNH led 26-24 at the half as they improved to 13-2 when tied or leading at the break this season. Gerald McLemore kicked off the second-half scoring with a 3-pointer that gave Maine a 27-26 edge. Senior Colbey Santos answered back with his own trey, however, and the Black Bears would never lead again.
Maine did tie it at 29 with 17:51 remaining on a layup by Troy Barnies, but Santos’ layup at 17:25 gave UNH the lead for good at 31-29 and sparked a 12-0 run. A Benson 3 opened the lead to five before sophomore Russell Graham found junior Dane DiLiegro down low for a dunk that made it 36-29 at 15:11. Another DiLiegro basket widened the advantage before Santos capped the run with another 3-pointer that made it 41-29 at 13:52.
Four straight points from McLemore would cut the deficit to eight, but a 9-0 run gave the Wildcats a 50-33 lead with 10:50 to play. A jump hook from senior Radar Onguetou and a 3-pointer from Abreu opened it up to 13 before Onguetou made 1 of 2 at the line and freshman Ferg Myrick drained a 3 to close the run.
With 8:56 left, a pair of Abreu free throws gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the night at 54-36, but a 10-2 run brought the Black Bears to within 56-46 at 5:07. An Abreu 3-pointer stopped the bleeding, but a 6-1 run from Maine made it an eight-point game at 60-52 with 1:47 to play.
UNH scored the next five points and the Black Bears would never come as close again. A 3 from Murphy Burnatowski with 26 ticks left made it 66-57, but Benson fittingly capped the evening with an emphatic two-handed slam with 17 seconds to go.
Santos once again stepped up in a tournament game as he tallied eight points, three rebounds and a season-high four assists in a season-best 27 minutes. Graham, who ranks fourth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio, scored six points, handed out four assists and did not turn the ball over in 20 minutes off the bench. DiLiegro recorded nine points and 11 boards, Onguetou chipped in with three points and four rebounds, and Myrick added five points, five boards, an assist, a block and a steal in 19 minutes off the pine.
McNally recorded Maine’s first three field goals to help them take a 9-4 lead at 16:24. A DiLiegro basket cut it to three, but back-to-back layups from Junior Bernal and Barnies gave the Black Bears their largest lead of the night at 13-6 with 15:06 remaining in the opening half. A 7-0 run - sparked with an Abreu jumper and capped with a 3-pointer from junior Tyrone Conley - knotted the game at 13 with 12:12 on the clock.
The two teams were still tied at 18 with 8:43 left when consecutive layups by McNally - plus the free throw to convert the three-point play on the second bucket - made it 23-18 at 6:35. The Wildcats then made their move, crafting an 8-0 run on baskets by Myrick, two from Benson, and Abreu, to grab a 26-23 lead with 1:38 to go. Bernal made 1 of 2 at the line to close the scoring.
Conley recorded nine points and two assists.
Abreu finished the night with 1,135 points and moved past Austin Ganly (1,127) for 15th all-time on UNH’s scoring list. Graham, meanwhile, upped his assist total this season to 119 and passed Al McClain (1983-84 - 118) for seventh on the program’s single-season assist list.
The Wildcats shot 41.1 percent (23-56) from the floor and 36.4 percent (8-22) from behind the arc, while their defense held Maine to 34.8 percent (16-46) overall and 25 percent (4-16) from deep. The defense also locked down McLemore, who scored seven points on 2 of 9 shooting after pouring in a career-high 30 points on 9 of 15 shooting in their last meeting Feb. 17.
“Our defense was terrific for the last 15 minutes of the first half and a majority of the second half - it was great,” Herrion said. “Obviously [Gerald] McLemore is a terrific player and was great against us at UNH a few weeks ago, but we did a great job on him tonight.”
The Wildcats held a 42-37 edge on the glass, saw their bench outscore Maine’s, 26-15 and turned the ball over two fewer times than the 17 turnovers they forced the Black Bears into.
Terrance Mitchell added 11 points for Maine.
FITTING THE BILL
The Wildcats’ 68-57 quarterfinal win against Maine on March 6 made Bill Herrion the only UNH head coach to advance to three semifinal games during a tenure, as well as only the second head coach to appear in consecutive semifinal games. Gib Chapman and Gerry Friel each appeared in a pair of semifinals, with Chapman making back-to-back appearances in 1993-94 and 1994-95, and Friel guiding his squad there in 1982-83 and 1987-88.
MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME
With their 68-57 quarterfinal win against Maine on March 6, the Wildcats now have four tournament wins in the last seven years, the most for the program in any seven-year span. The ‘Cats also advanced to their third semifinal in the last five years after playing in four semifinals the previous 26 years.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
The Wildcats’ 68-57 quarterfinal win against Maine on March 6 gave the program its first tournament win against Maine in four tries, its first ever victory as the sixth seed in four tries and its first win against the third seed in six tries.
In their 68-57 quarterfinal win against Maine on March 6, the Wildcats received huge contributions from senior Colbey Santos and sophomore Brian Benson, who are eighth and ninth, respectively, in minutes played this season. Santos sparked a 24-6 run, during which he netted all eight of his points. Benson, meanwhile, had a career- and team-high 13 points and matched his career best with nine boards.
No. 6 seeds have appeared in two of the last four championship games. UMBC reached the title game as the sixth seed last season, while Vermont became the first sixth seed to advance to the conference championship game in 2006.
HERRION AND THE BLACK BEARS
With the Wildcats’ 68-57 quarterfinal win against Maine on March 6, head coach Bill Herrion improved to 19-10 (.655) lifetime against the Black Bears, including a perfect 3-0 in tourney games.
UNH Head Coach Bill Herrion knows what it takes to win in the America East tournament. Herrion, who is making his 13th appearance overall, is the all-time winningest coach in the tournament with 21 wins. His 21-9 record is good for a .700 winning percentage, which is first among active America East coaches, first among anyone with at least eight tournament appearances and sixth overall all-time. Herrion’s three America East titles are also first among active America East coaches and second all-time only to current UConn head coach Jim Calhoun. In eight appearances with Drexel from 1991 to 1999, Herrion was 18-5 while capturing three titles. He is 3-4 in five appearances with UNH.
HANDING OUT THE HARDWARE
At its annual awards banquet March 5, America East announced that s trio of Wildcats were honored. Junior Alvin Abreu was named to the All-Conference Second Team, freshman Ferg Myrick was selected to the All-Rookie Team and sophomore Brian Benson was tabbed for the All-Academic Team. Abreu, who ranks seventh in the conference at 14.6 points per game, makes his first All-Conference Team after garnering All-Rookie honors two seasons ago. Myrick ranks third among conference rookies in scoring at 7.4 ppg, while Benson, who is a kinesiology: pedagogy major with a 3.47 GPA, is the second straight Wildcats to earn the honor.
WHAT'S THE SITUATION?
The Wildcats grabbed the No. 6 seed after their 77-55 win against Stony Brook on Feb. 28 and Hartford’s 85-79 overtime victory against Albany that same day.
ABREU GARNERS END-OF-YEAR CONFERENCE HONOR
Junior Alvin Abreu was named the 2010 America East Player of the Game, the conference announced March 2.
Abreu, who ranks seventh in the league with 14.6 points per game, received the most Player of the Game honors during the season to garner the end-of-year award. Abreu earned the award 13 times this season, including nine of the past 12 contests.
The Player of the Game award was determined by tabulating award winners from the regular season. At the conclusion of each home game, a player was named the Player of the Game. Just one player was tabbed in non-conference games, while a player from each team was recognized during conference games.
NO. 5 IS NO. 4
Sophomore point guard Russell Graham has moved up to fourth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.95. Graham, who is sitting behind Marquette’s Maurice Acker (3.09), Sam Houston State’s Josten Crow (3.24) and Buffalo’s John Boyer (3.51), is the only sophomore in the top five and just one of two sophomores in the top 10.
HOME, SWEET HOME
The Wildcats finished the season 9-4 at home, their best mark since the 1994-95 campaign when they were 8-2 in Durham. The ‘Cats have been victorious in 12 of their last 16 home contests dating back to last year.
MORE HOME COOKIN'
With an average of 1,126 fans visiting Lundholm Gymnasium each game this season, it is the largest average attendance since it reached 1,787 during the 1995-96 season. Paired with the 1,002 average attendance of last season, it is the first time the average attendance has reached 1,000 in back-to-back seasons since the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons. The 14,642 total fans to attend games at Lundholm this year also marked the largest total attendance since 21,442 came through the doors in 1995-96. With 13,029 in attendance last season, it is the first time in consecutive years that the total attendance has reached 13,000 since 1994-95 and 1995-96.
DURHAM FIRE MARSHAL BACK IN BUSINESS
With 2,355 fans packing Lundholm
Gymnasium against Vermont on Jan. 27, another 2,073 versus Hartford
on Feb. 6, followed by 1,759 against Binghamton on Feb. 11, 1,701
versus Maine on Feb. 17, 1,031 against UMBC on Feb. 24 and 1,136
versus Stony Brook on Feb. 28, the Wildcats have put together a
six-game streak of 1,000-plus crowds at Lundholm, which is the
longest streak since Feb. 9-March 6, 1995 when the Wildcats saw six
straight crowds of 2,000 or more enter the building.
02/09/95 Boston U. 2,457 (73-60 win)
02/16/95 Vermont 2,796 (95-84 win)
02/24/95 Drexel 3,250 (83-74 loss)
02/26/95 Delaware 3,094 (113-111 win, OT)
03/04/95 Delaware 3,060 (83-81 win – NAC quarterfinal)
03/06/95 Northeastern 3,250 (91-70 loss – NAC semifinal)
ABREU NOT LIGHTENING HIS LOAD
Junior Alvin Abreu has begun to carry more of the scoring load over the last 17 games, averaging 15.6 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, which has included 15 double-digit scoring games.
NATIONALLY RANKED (AS OF MARCH 4)
UNH is ranked within the top 100 teams in the country in a trio of categories. The Wildcats are 46th in scoring defense (62.8 ppg), 60th in 3-point field goal defense (.316), and 93rd in field goal percentage defense (.416). Individually, Russell Graham is fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.95) and Dane DiLiegro is 90th in rebounding (8.2 rpg).
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 51-for-101 (.505) from the field and 70 of 96 (.729) at the line. Inside of one minute, the trio is also impressive, shooting 13 of 27 (.481) from the floor and 39 of 45 (.867) at the stripe.
RANDOM "RECORD WHEN..." TIDBITS
The Wildcats are 7-5 when scoring first, 13-4 when scoring more than 60 points, 8-3 when shooting 40 percent or greater from the field and 5-1 when shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc. The ‘Cats also hold some impressive defensive records, going 13-2 when tied or leading at the half, 13-6 when allowing 60 points or fewer, 8-3 when holding their opponent under 40 percent from the floor and 9-5 when holding their opponent under 30 percent from deep.
'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 (+3.1) and third in assists (4.1 apg), Dane DiLiegro is third in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and fourth in field goal percentage (.493), Alvin Abreu is seventh in scoring (14.6) and eighth in 3-pointers made per game (1.8), and Tyrone Conley is seventh in 3-pointers made per game (1.9).
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 19 out of 29 times. The ‘Cats, who held the Big East’s Pitt to 47 points Dec. 4, are second in the league in scoring defense at 62.6 ppg. UNH is second in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage defense at 31.3 percent and fourth in field goal percentage defense at 41.4 percent.
Junior Alvin Abreu is averaging 16.1 points per game this season at Lundholm Gymnasium, while adding 13.4 ppg on the road. Abreu is also shooting 39.9 percent (69-173) at home, but hitting on just 33.1 percent (69-208) of his shots away from Lundholm. The same trend holds true for the whole squad, which averages 66.2 ppg on 40.2 percent shooting at home and just 57.8 ppg on 35.9 percent shooting on the road.
TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS
Heading into Sunday’s contest UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 552 consecutive games, a streak that spans 19 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 768 games by UNLV, a streak that started Nov. 26, 1986 and is still active.
The combined record of the six non-conference teams UNH lost to this season is 112-70 (.615). The Wildcats suffered all of their defeats on the road at Maryland (23-7), Harvard (21-7), Pitt (24-7), Hofstra (19-14), Army (14-15) and Santa Clara (11-20).
MYRICK NAMED ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Freshman Ferg Myrick was named America East Rookie of the Week for the week ending Feb. 28, the conference announced March 1.
Myrick posted his best week as a Wildcat as he averaged 18.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Myrick helped lead his team to a 77-55 victory against regular-season champion Stony Brook on Feb. 28 as he poured in a career-high 21 points on 7 of 11 shooting, including 1 of 2 from behind the arc. Myrick, who also made all six of his free throws and added four rebounds and a block in just 18 minutes off the bench, is the first UNH freshman to score 20 points in a game since Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) scored 20 against Boston University on Jan. 9, 2008. Against UMBC on Feb. 24, Myrick netted 15 points to go along with five boards and a block in a career-best 30 minutes.
KNOCKING OUT THE CHAMPS
Before knocking off Stony Brook, 77-55, Feb. 28, the Wildcats had gone 10 straight games without a win versus teams that either would go on to win the regular-season championship or had already clinched it. The last time the ‘Cats had been victorious against a regular-season champion was Feb. 23, 2006 when they scored a 78-71 overtime win at home against Albany.
SIX OF ONE, HALF-DOZEN OF THE OTHER
In their 77-55 win against Stony Brook on Feb. 28, Alvin Abreu and Russell Graham each handed out six assists, which marked the first time two Wildcats recorded six or more assists in the same game since Dec. 15, 2007 when Eric Gilchrese and Mike Christensen had eight and six assists, respectively, against Iona.
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 137 conference wins are far and away better than the league’s other eight coaches, with Albany’s Will Brown the next closest with 66. Overall, Herrion sits behind only former Boston University head coach Dennis Wolff (152) and long-time Vermont head man Tom Brennan (147).
The Wildcats have been involved in seven games decided by five points or less, and 15 decided by 10 or less. At Loyola (Md.) on Feb. 20, UNH was down five with 2:08 left when it went on a 6-0 run, including a Tyrone Conley runner with 0.7 seconds left, to pull out the one-point victory. At Vermont on Feb. 14, the Wildcats were down 12 with 4:26 to go when they went on a 14-2 run to force overtime. Three days earlier against Binghamton on Feb. 11, the ‘Cats trailed by seven with 10:59 remaining when they used a 30-16 run the rest of the way to win by seven. On Feb. 6 against Hartford, UNH was down two with four seconds left when Alvin Abreu hit a game-tying jumper to seemingly force overtime, but Joe Zeglinski’s 30-footer as time expired lifted the Hawks to victory. At Binghamton on Jan. 30, the Wildcats trailed by seven with 6:00 left and crafted a 15-8 run to force an extra session. At Stony Brook on Jan. 10, the ‘Cats were down eight with 1:02 on the clock and used a 6-0 surge over the next 16 seconds to slice it to two, but would get no closer. And at Santa Clara on Jan. 2, UNH was down seven with 52 seconds left and used a 10-2 stretch to grab a one-point lead with 13 ticks remaining before the Broncos sank four free throws to win it.
CONLEY TY-RRIFIC OVER 13-GAME STRETCH
Tyrone Conley caught fire over 13 games from Dec. 9-Jan. 27. 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 picked up his game during the stretch. The junior poured in 14.8 ppg on 40.9 percent (61-149) shooting from the floor, 40.5 percent (34-84) shooting from behind the arc and 68.5 percent (37-54) 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 10 contests and put up good numbers. In seven games from Jan. 27-Feb. 14, the 6-foot-6-inch wing averaged 9.1 ppg on 46.5 percent (20-43) shooting from the floor, 50 percent (5-10) shooting from behind the arc and 82.6 percent (19-23) shooting at the line.
OUT OF THEIR LEAGUE
With their 61-60 win against Loyola (Md.) on Feb. 20, the Wildcats closed out their non-conference slate at 6-6, which is their best mark since going 7-3 during the 1994-95 season.
Playing in their first ever ESPN BracketBusters game Feb. 20, the Wildcats scored a 61-60 victory at Loyola (Md.), which was participating in the event for the fifth time.
PASSING THE CENTURY MARK
With his first of three assists against Loyola (Md.) on Feb. 20, sophomore point guard Russell Graham became the first Wildcat to record 100 helpers in a season since Colin Donahue (135) during the 2000-01 campaign.
TAKING THE HIGH RHOAD
Freshman Chandler Rhoads submitted one of the best performances of his short career at Vermont on Feb. 14. Rhoads netted a career-high 16 points on 5 of 10 shooting and added a career-best eight rebounds, two steals and an assist in 30 minutes, also the most of his career.
ZEBRAS, WHISTLES AND FREE THROWS...OH MY!
In their Feb. 14 meeting at Patrick Gymnasium, UNH and Vermont set several season highs and jumped on to a handful of record book lists. The 64 combined fouls called are the third most all-time and second most this season. Arizona (50) and Northern Arizona (34) combined for 84 fouls Jan. 26, 1953, while Seattle (45) and Washington (33) committed 78 fouls earlier this year Jan. 26. The seven players who fouled out of the game is also the third most all-time and second most this season. UNLV (6) and Hawaii (6) combined for 12 on Jan. 19, 1979, as did Arizona (7) and West Texas State (5) on Feb. 14, 1952. Seattle (6) and Washington (2) had eight players foul out in their Jan. 26 tilt. The 60 combined free throws made are good for fifth all-time. Vermont, which went to the line 55 times, made 40 of the shots, which is the ninth most all-time and second most this season.
DUSTING OFF THE RECORD BOOKS
After their 10th win of the year Feb. 11 versus Binghamton (67-60), the Wildcats have now posted four double-digit win seasons in a five-year span for the first time since 1969-70 to 1973-74. They have also put together a streak of seven straight nine-plus win seasons for the first time since 1918-1919 to 1926-27.
TWO GRAND CROWDS
With 2,355 fans packing Lundholm
Gymnasium against Vermont on Jan. 27 and another 2,073 versus
Hartford on Feb. 6, it marked the first time consecutive crowds of
2,000-plus filled Lundholm since Feb. 9-March 6, 1995 when the
Wildcats saw six straight crowds of 2,000 or more enter the
Junior Dane DiLiegro became the 14th member of UNH’s 500 points-500 rebounds club on a layup with 19:15 to go in the game Feb. 9 at Albany. DiLiegro is the first to join the club, which features 11 1,000-point scorers, since Tyrece Gibbs (1,329 pts, 506 rebs) last year.
After posting 12 rebounds against Hartford on Feb. 6 and 10 boards at Albany on Feb. 9, junior Dane DiLiegro has recorded back-to-back 10-plus rebound games for the second time this season and fourth time in his career. DiLiegro has never put up double-digit rebound performances in three straight contests.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In their 91-45 win against Suffolk on Nov. 14, the Wildcats blocked six shots, including three by freshman big man Chris Matagrano.
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.
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.