WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Sophomore Patrick Konan (Gainesville, Fla.) scored 12 points and senior Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) corralled 13 rebounds, but the fifth-seeded University of New Hampshire men's basketball team was defeated by fourth-seeded University at Albany, 63-45, in an America East Championship quarterfinal matchup on Saturday afternoon at Chase Family Arena.
Konan rounded out his afternoon with six rebounds and one assist. Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) chipped in 11 points, three boards, one assist and one steal.
Gerardo Suero led all scorers with 24 points to go along with nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block.
UNH jumped out to what would be its only lead of the contest when Konan sank a 3-pointer to make it 8-7 with 14:05 remaining in the first frame. Konan provided five points during the stretch while Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) added three, sinking a 3-pointer of his own.
Both squads went back-and-forth in the early going in a seesaw battle that saw five ties and a pair of lead changes in the first 12:48 of play. Jordon Bronner (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) canned a baseline trey to even the score for the fifth time, 16-16, but the Great Danes rattled off 10 unanswered points on their way to closing out the half on a 14-5 run.
Suero helped fuel the scoring spurt with seven points, including a 3-pointer that gave Albany its first double-digit advantage of the contest, 26-16, with 4:06 remaining in the stanza. The 6:51 scoring stretch propelled the Great Danes to a 30-21 lead heading into the locker room at the break. Suero ended the first half with 15 points and six rebounds.
New Hampshire found some life after four Wildcats tallied points on a 12-6 scoring spurt that cut the advantage to five, 38-33, with 12:35 remaining in regulation. Myrick helped get the 'Cats back on their feet, scoring on back-to-back possessions, first with a layup followed by a made free throw on a run that lasted 6:16.
Suero halted a string of four unanswered points at the tail end of the stretch when he sank a trey, sparking a 14-2 scoring run that gave the Great Danes their largest lead to that point, 52-35, with 7:14 on the clock.
Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) helped stop the bleeding with a layup, as the 'Cats rattled off six unanswered to trim the deficit to 11, 52-41, with 4:11 remaining. Konan buried a jumper and Myrick canned a layup on back-to-back possessions to close out the 2:01 scoring spurt.
The Wildcats wouldn't come any closer to taking back the lead, as Albany closed out regulation with an 11-4 scoring run, ending any hopes of a comeback by UNH. The Great Danes pushed their lead to its largest margin (18) when Tanner Gibson buried a three from the top of the key to finalize the scoring for both teams.
This marks the final game in a Wildcat uniform for seniors Ryan Herrion (Dover, N.H.), Abreu and Benson. Abreu ends his career ranking first all-time in games played (118) and minutes played (3,879), third all-time in scoring (1,583), fourth all-time in 3-pointers made (216), fourth all-time in field goals made (535), fifth all-time in free throws made (297) and 10th all-time in steals (115). Benson finishes second all-time in program history in blocks (79) and eighth all-time in rebounds (642).