DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team heads out for its final road tilt of the regular season against the University at Albany on Thursday, Feb. 28 at SEFCU Arena. The game will be broadcast live on Time Warner Sports. Links to live audio and live video, as well as live stats, will be available at www.unhwildcats.com.
UNH (8-18, 4-10 AE)
at Albany (20-9, 8-6 AE)
Thursday, Feb. 28 | 7 p.m. | SEFCU Arena | Albany, N.Y.
THE MATCHUP | The Wildcats and Great Danes meet for the 28th time in their relatively young conference rivalry, with Albany holding a slight edge in the all-time series, 15-12. The series has shifted control over the years, with UNH currently having won seven of the last 12 meetings, after Albany had won four in a row. Prior to that run, UNH had won four of six after the Great Danes had been victorious in four of the first five. The Wildcats have won five of the last seven at home against Albany, and have split with the Great Danes over the last eight at SEFCU Arena. The 'Cats have also recorded three regular-season sweeps in the past six years. The two teams split the series last season with each team holding serve at home. In the most recent meeting earlier this season, Albany picked up a 68-62 victory at Lundholm Gymnasium. Chris Matagrano paced the Wildcats with 15 points, shooting 6-of-9 from the floor to go along with four boards. Patrick Konan finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Ferg Myrick added 11 points and five rebounds, shooting 4-of-10 from the field. Mike Black led all scorers with 22 points for the Great Danes, shooting 7-of-12 from the floor and 7-of-8 at the foul line. Sam Rowley record a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. New Hampshire shot 42.6 percent (23-54) from the field and 37.8 percent (9-24) from long range. Albany shot 43.1 percent (22-51) from the floor and outrebounded the Wildcats, 35-28.
SCOUTING THE GREAT DANES | Albany enters Thursday's game at 20-9 overall and 8-6 in America East play. Albany has split its last four games and most recently downed Fairfield, 58-50, in the ESPN BracketBuster contest to eclipse the 20-win plateau for the third time in their Division I program history. Junior center John Puk paced UAlbany with 13 points on 5-of-6 from the free-throw line and seven rebounds. The Great Danes found contribution from six other players, scoring at least four points or more. UAlbany recorded 11 steals for the game, which was just the second time this season with 10 steals or more in a game. As a team, Albany leads the conference in free throw percentage (73.6) and rebounding defense (30.8). Senior Mike Black ranks fourth in the league in scoring with 14.8 points per game, while Jacob Iati is also averaging double figures (12.3 ppg). Iati ranks second in the league in 3-pointers made (2.7) and fourth in 3-point percentage (40.8). Sam Rowley, the team's top rebounder at 6.4 boards per contest, is averaging 9.0 points per game and is third in the field goal percentage (54.1, 99-183).
KNOCKING ON THE DOOR | Chandler Rhoads has a chance to reach the 1,000-point mark this season as he enters Thursday's game with 993 career points, needing just seven points over the final two games to accomplish the feat. Rhoads would be the 29th member of the program's 1,000-point club, while Tyrone Conley (08-11) was the last Wildcat to reach the mark on Jan. 2, 2011.
TREYMENDOUS SHOOTER | Scott Morris scored a season-high 15 points against Binghamton, shooting a career-best 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Morris leads the team in 3-point shooting (42.1, 32-76) and has shot 56.7 percent from long range over the last eight games.
DOUBLE TIME | Ferg Myrick recorded 11 points and 10 rebounds against Binghamton for his team-leading fifth double-double of the season. All five of Myrick's career double-doubles have been during this season.
HEATING UP | UNH took advantage of some hot 3-point shooting to defeat Binghamton on Saturday. With the game tied at 45-45 and 3:44 left in the game, Patrick Konan hit three straight 3-pointers and Scott Morris followed with a pair of treys to combine for a 15-1 run over a 2:57 span to fuel the victory.
SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE | Thursday's matchup between UNH and Binghamton may very well come down to perimeter shooting. Binghamton ranks second in the America East in 3-point field goal percentage (36.0) but UNH leads the America East in 3-point defense, holding teams to 27.6 percent from beyond the arc.
BLOCK PARTY | New Hampshire registered a season-high nine blocks at Hartford, led by Chris Pelcher with a career-high five rejections. Pelcher ranks fourth in the conference in blocks (1.4).
DEFENSIVELY SPEAKING | New Hampshire held Hartford to just 28.8 percent (15-52) shooting from the field on Feb. 20, marking a season-low for the Hawks.
HERRION MAKES HISTORY | With the win over UMBC, head coach Bill Herrion, now in his eighth year at UNH and 22nd in America East, became the all-time leader in conference victories (154). He passed former Boston University coach Dennis Wolff for the most in conference history and is also the league leader in championship wins (21).
SHARE THE WEALTH | Through 26 games, six different players have led UNH in scoring, while seven different players have reached double figures.
BIG ADDITION | Chris Pelcher scored a game-high 15 points at Boston University. He scored all of his points in the second half and shot 5-of-6 from the field to go with seven rebounds and three steals. Pelcher has been a force down low for the Wildcats this season as he ranks fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (53.5, 92-173) and in blocks (1.3) and seventh in rebounding (6.5).
SECOND HALF SURGE | New Hampshire shot 56 percent (14-25) from the floor in the second half against BU after shooting 22.6 percent (7-31) in the opening 20 minutes. This has been a slight trend for the Wildcats, having scored 144 more points in the second half than the first half this season.
ON THE OFFENSIVE | New Hampshire scored 92 points in the win over UMBC, marking the team's highest scoring output of the season. UNH had five players reach double figures, led by Patrick Konan with 22 points, while Chandler Rhoads (20), Ferg Myrick (15), Scott Morris (13) and Chris Pelcher (13) also reached double figures. It was the third time this season the Wildcats had five players reach double figures (Suffolk, CCSU).
KONAN THE BARBARIAN | Patrick Konan scored a career-high 22 points against UMBC and was named the America East Player of the Game. He shot a near perfect 7-of-8 from the floor and added 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. He also chipped in with two assists in 41 minutes of action. Konan has reached double figures 16 times this season.
EXTRA TIME NEEDED | New Hampshire knocked off UMBC, 92-86, in overtime for the team's first overtime victory since Feb. 2, 2011 when the Wildcats beat Albany at home, 62-59. UNH shot 4 of 4 from the floor in the extra frame to down the Retrievers.
PAINT IT BLACK | New Hampshire scored 42 of its 92 points (46 percent) in the paint to help top UMBC. The Wildcats are 6-3 when they outscore the opponent in paint scoring, but 2-14 when reversed.
CLIMBING THE RANKS | After recording five assists against UMBC, Chandler Rhoads moved up to fifth place in the all-time ranks and now has 299 career assists.
PERIMETER DEFENSE | New Hampshire ranks third in the nation in three-point FG percentage defense, holding teams to 27.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc, while Southern U. leads the nation at 27.3 percent.
TAKE TWO | Patrick Konan and Ferg Myrick both posted double-doubles against UMBC. Konan recorded 22 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season, while Myrick had 15 points and 10 rebounds for his team-high fourth double-double. It was the third time two Wildcats notched double doubles in the same game this season (Myrick and Chris Matagrano – at Binghamton, Myrick and Konan – at Dartmouth).
BEFORE AND AFTER | New Hampshire is 6-4 when it is able to lead at halftime, but the Wildcats are 2-14 this season when trailing at intermission.
IRON MAN | Chandler Rhoads has been the backbone of the Wildcats this season as he ranks second in the America East in minutes played (35.8, 931). Rhoads has logged at least 35 minutes in 20 of 25 games this season.
CLEANING THE GLASS | New Hampshire leads the league in offensive rebounds since the start of conference play, averaging 11.4 offensive boards per contest over the 14-game span. The Wildcats snagged a season-high 18 offensive rebounds at UMBC and have reached double figure offensive boards in 10 of the 14 contests.
STEALING THE SHOW | Chandler Rhoads picked up a steal against Vermont to reach the 100 mark in his career. He registered a career-high six steals against Yale earlier this season and currently ranks fourth in the league with 1.6 steals per contest.
SENIOR TRIO LEADS THE WAY | Seniors Chandler Rhoads (18), Chris Matagrano (16) and Ferg Myrick (13) all reached double figures in the win over Maine. The trio accounted for 82 percent of the team's total points.
RIVALRY REVISITED | UNH won at Maine for the first time since the 2007-08 season. The last time UNH won in Orono was Jan. 19, 2008 (81-75).
LEND A HELPING HAND | Chandler Rhoads dished out a career-high nine assists in the loss at Colgate, marking his second 7-plus assist game of the season (CCSU, Dec. 5). Rhoads ranks seventh in the conference with 3.5 assists per game.
LEGEND KILLER | Ferg Myrick came up big against mighty UConn, registering a game- and season-high 20 points to pair with seven boards. Myrick is averaging 19.5 points per game against the Huskies after a 19-point performance as a sophomore during the 2010-11 season.
RHOADS SCHOLAR || Chandler Rhoads poured in a career-best 21 points in the team's loss at NJIT. Rhoads, who was 8-of-15 from the floor in 39 minutes of action, scored 14 points in the second half including a string of seven-straight for the Wildcats.
PELCHER'S CAREER DAY || Chris Pelcher put up some impressive numbers against NJIT as he posted career-highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double. He shot 7-of-14 from the floor and was perfect at the charity stripe (3-3). He also registered a career-high four blocks.
TAKE THEM TO SCHOOL || UNH downed its intrastate rival Dartmouth, 72-58, to mark the team's fifth-straight win over the Big Green. Dartmouth still leads the all-time series, 31-30, but the Wildcats have won seven of the last eight meetings and 11 of the last 14.
IMPRESSIVE DEBUT || Chris Pelcher netted then-career highs of 14 points and nine rebounds against Suffolk in his UNH debut. Most impressively, he was highly efficient in the process as he went 7-of-8 from the field (.875) and added three assists. Pelcher played his first two seasons at Iona and sat out the entire 2011-12 season due to NCAA transfer regulations.
CRASHING THE BOARDS || New Hampshire pulled down 51 rebounds against Suffolk, marking the most in a single game since Jan. 15, 2011 when the Wildcats grabbed 54 rebounds in a double-overtime loss at Stony Brook. Chris Pelcher and Ferg Myrick led the way this time around with nine boards apiece, while 11 of 13 Wildcats snagged multiple rebounds.
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.
SIGNING DAY || UNH announced that two student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to attend UNH and play for the Wildcat basketball program next fall.
John Edwards, a 6-foot-6-inch forward from Charlotte, N.C., joins the Wildcats after playing at Brewster Academy, one of the top prep schools in the country. He averaged 5.0 points per game on a squad that went 33-1 overall en route to the National Prep Championship.
Daniel Jackson, a 6-foot, 170-pound point guard from Cedar Park, Texas, comes to UNH after playing the last three years at Vista Ridge High School. Jackson led the squad with 15.0 points per game and topped the district with 7.0 assists per contest as a junior last season. He was named first-team all-district for his efforts and also earned all-district academic honors.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN || Seniors Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.), Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Chris Matagrano (Sayreville, N.J.) have been named captains for the upcoming 2012-13 season.
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).
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.
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.
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, visit www.collegechalktalk.com.
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, WSMN (1590-AM) in Nashua WZEI 101.5 FM in Concord, plus all broadcasts are streamed live and archived via Stretch Internet at www.unhwildcats.com. All game broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to tipoff.