Men’s Basketball Opens Season at Home Against Suffolk on Saturday (1 p.m.)
DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team will kick off the 2012-13 season on Saturday, Nov. 10 when it plays host to Suffolk University at Lundholm Gymnasium. The game is set to start at 1 p.m. Links to live video, as well as live stats, will be available at www.UNHWildcats.com.
THE MATCHUP || Saturday's matchup between New Hampshire and Suffolk will be the sixth meeting all-time between the two programs. UNH is undefeated at 5-0 in the series and all five matchups have been played at Lundholm Gymnasium. UNH downed the Rams in the most recent meeting between the two teams, picking up an 85-64 victory in last season's home opener on Nov. 11, 2011 at Lundholm Gymnasium. Alvin Abreu and Brian Benson posted 19 and 17 points, respectively, while Benson also pulled down 16 rebounds for the double-double. Then-junior Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) notched 18 points and then-sophomore Jordon Bronner (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) chipped in with 15 points, while the team shot 53.2 (33-62) percent from the floor. This series dates back to the 2004-05 season when the Wildcats downed the Rams, 89-55, on Nov. 21, 2004 in Durham, N.H.
SCOUTING SUFFOLK || Suffolk finished the 2011-12 season at 9-16 overall and 6-12 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference to place seventh in the league standings. The Rams return their top three leading scorers from last season, starting with senior Chris Torres, who paced the squad with 18.0 points per game and 1.3 steals per game. Senior forward Matt Pepdjonovic also returns after he was named to the GNAC All-Conference Second Team as a junior last season. Pepdjonovic started all 25 games for the Rams and logged a team-high 34.8 minutes per game. He averaged 17.0 points per game and had a rebounding average of 13.6 boards per game. Senior Colin Halpin also started all 25 contests and ranked third on the team in scoring with 13.6 points per game. As a team, the Rams ranked second in the conference in blocked shots (4.5) and fourth in rebounding (39.1).
UNH IN HOME OPENERS || New Hampshire has won its last five home openers, including four against Suffolk in that span. UNH is 26-25 in 51 home openers dating back to the 1960-61 season, but 5-2 since Herrion took over the program in 2005.
DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE || The Wildcats ranked in the 80th percentile nationally in scoring defense last season, holding opponents to just 62.8 points per game, which ranked third in America East. Additionally, UNH was the best on the conference defending the 3-pointer last season as it held foes to 29.7 percent from beyond the arc, which ranked 13th nationally. Lastly, senior Chandler Rhoads earned America East Al-Defensive honors for the second straight year.
TREY-MENDOUS STREAK FOR 'CATS || UNH has recorded at least one 3-pointer in 612 consecutive games, a streak that spans 21 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. UNLV holds the NCAA Division I record for most consecutive games scoring a 3-point goal. Since the 3-point field goal was adopted by the NCAA in 1986-87, UNLV has converted at least one 3-pointer in all 840 games played.
HERRION CHASING HISTORY || Head coach Bill Herrion, who enters his eighth year at UNH and 22nd in America East, is the league all-time leader in championship wins (21) and ranks second in conference victories (150). Herrion is just two victories behind former Boston U. coach Dennis Wolff for the most in conference history.
PRESEASON COACHES' POLL || New Hampshire (34 points) was picked to finish sixth in the America East Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Wildcats were tabbed to finish behind the University of Vermont (60), Stony Brook University (58), Boston University (49), Albany (38), and the University of Maine (35). The Catamounts were predicted to win the league and received five out of eight first-place votes. Stony Brook, last year's runner-up and regular-season champion, collected the remaining four first-place votes. The University of Hartford (26) was selected seventh, followed by UMBC (15) and Binghamton (9) to round out the field.
Rhoads, who also served as a captain last season, returns as one of the premier defenders in the conference after he was named to the America East All-Defensive Team for the second time in as many seasons. Rhoads also proved to be a key component on the offensive end, logging 11.2 points per game and 2.7 assists per games as a junior. Rhoads started every game for the Wildcats last season and ranked first in the league in minutes played (36.6).
Myrick enjoyed a productive junior campaign after he missed most of his sophomore season due to injury. The forward averaged 8.5 points per game and ranked second on the team with 15 blocks during the 2011-12 season. A consistent offensive player, Myrick scored double-digit points 12 times on the season, highlighted by a 19-point outburst in a victory against Towson. Myrick was named to the America East All-Rookie team as a freshman in 2009-10 after averaging 7.6 points per game.
Matagrano appeared in 26 games off the bench for the 'Cats in 2011-12, averaging 11.7 minutes per contest and 2.2 rebounds per game. Matagrano, who ranked third on the team with a .469 shooting percentage, had his best game against Holy Cross (Dec. 3) when he notched career highs in points (11) and rebounds (7).
TRAINING DAY || The Wildcats welcome three freshmen to the roster this season. Frank Okeke (DeSoto, Texas) joins the Wildcats after leading his team to a 5A Regional II District Championship. Okeke played for the Deron Williams Elite AAU program and was named to the First-Team All-District and First-Team All-Academic as a senior.
Chris Orozco (Tenafly, N.J.) was named First-Team All-League in three straight seasons prior to coming to UNH. He was also named to the First-Team All-County squad for his last two seasons at Tenafly High School.
Logan Mortenson (South Jordon, Utah) averaged 15.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game over his four year career Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper, Utah. He averaged 14.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a senior and was named a McDonald's All-American Nominee and an All-State Second-Team selection. Most recently, he posted 12.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game last year at St. John's Northwestern Military Academy.
WILDCATS STREAMING LIVE || UNH and Pack Network have once again partnered to provide online video streaming of UNH athletics for the upcoming 2012-13 season with UNHwildcats.tv. Wildcat fans are encouraged to buy the "Wildcat All-Access Pass" which is an annual subscription for $99.95 that provides all the live coverage of UNH home athletic events. Fans can also purchase home events on a per game basis of $9.95.
WILDCAT BASKETBALL ON THE AIR || Wildcat Sports Properties (WSP), a property of Learfield Sports, is pleased to announce that Jim Jeannotte and Mike Murphy will once again serve as the broadcast duo for the 2012-13 UNH men's and women's basketball seasons on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network. Veteran play-by-play man Jeannotte will return for his 31st year broadcasting UNH men's basketball, while color analyst Murphy enters his 12 season calling Wildcat men's hoops.
The Wildcat Sports Radio Network consists of flagship stations WGIR (610-AM) in Manchester, which has been headquarters for UNH play-by-play since 2008, The Wave (WQSO 96.7-FM) in Portsmouth and the Sports Animal (WPKX 930-AM) in Rochester. Affiliates include WNTK (99.7 FM) in New London and WSMN (1590-AM) in Nashua, plus all broadcasts are streamed live and archived via Stretch Internet at www.unhwildcats.com. All game broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to tipoff.