Men's Hoop Comes up Short Against Fairfield, 58-52

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Senior center Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) registered 11 points and eight rebounds, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team fell to Fairfield University, 58-52, on Sunday afternoon at Webster Bank Arena.

The loss drops UNH to 3-4 on the season while Fairfield wins its fourth straight, improving to 7-4.

Benson was named the America East Player of the Game for the Wildcats, rounding out the afternoon with one block, one assist and one steal. He shot 5-for-8 from the field and 1-for-2 from beyond the arc.

Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) added nine points and seven boards in 21 minutes off the bench. Patrick Konan (Gainesville, Fla.) chipped in with nine points and five rebounds.

Ryan Olander led Fairfield with 19 points, three boards, two blocks and two steals. Derek Needham posted 15 points and a pair of assists.

Fairfield opened up play with a 10-4 scoring run, as Needham fueled the stretch with five points on a scoring spurt that lasted 6:30. The Wildcats snapped the run scoring on three straight trips up the floor, as Chris Matagrano (Sayreville, N.J.) registered baskets on back-to-back possessions and Myrick sank a layup to knot the score at 10-10 with 11:30 remaining in the first frame.

The Stags responded firing off six unanswered when Olander netted three points the old-fashioned-way and Jamel Fields drained a trey, as the Stags pushed their lead back up to six, 16-10, at 9:27.

Konan sank a 3-pointer of his own about two minutes later, but after a change of possession, Sean Crawford drilled a jumper that sparked a 9-3 run that set the score at 25-16 with 3:56 remaining in the first stanza.

Neither team found the bottom of the net for the next 1:59 until Konan registered the last field goal of the half, knocking down another trey, sending Fairfield into the locker room with a 25-19 advantage.

New Hampshire kicked off the second frame in convincing fashion, as Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) and Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) sank treys on consecutive possessions, knotting the score at 25-25 with 18:45 on the clock.

The offensive outburst was short lived for UNH, as a pair of free throws by Jamel Fields set off a 9-0 scoring stretch that extended the home team's advantage to nine, 34-25, with 16:00 remaining in regulation.

Midway through the frame Benson notched baskets on back-to-back trips up the floor, helping UNH trim the score to 36-31 at 11:42. However, Fairfield came right back with six unanswered points that fueled a 9-2 run, pushing its lead to its highest margin of the contest with a 45-33 edge with 8:35 on the clock.

New Hampshire was able to slice that deficit in half moments later when Matagrano drained a pair of free throws and Myrick drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing, setting the score at 47-41 at 4:55.

The Stags responded with an 8-2 scoring spurt that pushed the lead back up to 12, 55-43, with 1:29 remaining in regulation. The 'Cats came back with a 9-3 scoring run to close out the contest, but it was too little too late and the Stags were able to hold onto the lead and secure the victory.

The Wildcats are back in action when they take on Marist College on Saturday, Dec. 17 (1 p.m.) at Lundholm Gymnasium.


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