VESTAL, N.Y. – Senior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) scored a game-high 22 points and classmate Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) recorded his fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team earned a 65-59 victory against Binghamton University on Saturday evening at the Events Center.
The Wildcats won for the third time in four games, including their second straight and first America East road contest of the season, to improve to 11-13, including 5-7 in the conference. They also beat Binghamton for the second time in their last three meetings, but the first time in the last four contests at the Events Center. Binghamton drops their eighth straight to fall to 6-18 overall and 3-8 in the conference.
Conley, UNH's America East Player of the Game, was 8-for-11 from the floor, 4 of 5 from behind the arc and 2-for-2 at the line. The co-captain also tallied five rebounds, a block and a steal in 35 minutes. DiLiegro was 6-for-7 from the field and 2 of 3 at the stripe. Sophomore Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) also netted 14 points on 4 of 10 shooting to go along with three rebounds, two assists and a steal in 39 minutes.
Moussa Camara, Mahamoud Jabbi and Greer Wright led the Bearcats with 13, 12 and 10 points, respectively. Camara added four boards to earn America East Player of the Game honors for Binghamton.
UNH shot a season-high 52.3 percent (23-44) from the field, including 41.2 percent (7-17) from long distance.
Tied at five early on, the Wildcats went on an 11-1 run – sparked by a 3-pointer from junior Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) and capped with a ferocious two-handed Benson dunk off a nice feed from DiLiegro – to take a 16-6 lead with 13:33 remaining in the opening half. A pair of Conley 3-pointers on the next two UNH possessions pushed the lead to 22-10 – the largest of the game.
The Wildcats still led by 12, 27-15, at the third media timeout with 7:59 remaining in the half, and were 11-for-14 (78.6%) from the floor and 5 of 6 (83.3%) from 3 at that point.
Binghamton stormed back, however, ripping off a 14-3 run – with seven points from Chretien Lukusa – to slice the halftime deficit to one at 30-29. UNH, which improved to 9-4 when leading at the break, shot 54.5 percent (12-22) from the floor, including 45.5 percent (5-11) from deep.
A baseline slam by DiLiegro and a layup by Rhoads pushed the UNH lead to five to kick off the second half, but six straight points from Camara gave Binghamton its only lead of the game at 35-34 with just under 13 minutes to play.
The Wildcats led 39-38 when a jump hook in the lane from DiLiegro and a 3-pointer, followed by a jumper, from Conley pushed the advantage to eight at 46-38 with 8:29 left. Five straight points from Binghamton cut its deficit to three, but a pair of baskets from DiLiegro and a tip-in and a straightaway 3 from senior James Valladares (Kaufman, Texas) gave UNH a commanding 55-45 lead with 1:43 remaining.
A 9-2 run over the next minute brought the Bearcats to within three at 57-54. The margin was still three at 59-56 with 32 seconds remaining, but the Wildcats knocked down 6 of 8 at the line down the stretch to seal the win.
Valladares chipped in with eight points on 3 of 4 shooting, including 2 of 3 from deep, while Benson posted five points and seven boards.
Binghamton shot 40 percent (18-45) from the field and 38.5 percent (5-13) from behind the arc. Rebounding was even at 30 apiece, while UNH turned the ball over 10 times and forced 11 Bearcat turnovers.
Conley finished the night with 1,199 career points and moved past Jim Rich (1,180) and Greg Steele (1,187) for 11th place on UNH's all-time scoring list.
UNH improved to 8-4 when scoring first, 6-1 when outscoring its opponent in the paint and 9-2 when holding its opponent to 60 points or less.
The Wildcats return to action Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. when they play host to Stony Brook University at Lundholm Gymnasium. For tickets, visit UNHWildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, x 5.