DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team is set to tangle with the University of Vermont in a quarterfinal matchup of the 2013 America East Men's Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 9 at Albany's SEFCU Arena. The game will start at noon and will be broadcast live on ESPN3. Links to live audio and live video, as well as live stats, will be available at www.unhwildcats.com.
UNH (9-19, 5-11 AE)
Vs. Vermont (19-10, 11-5 AE)
Saturday, March 9 | 12 p.m. | SEFCU Arena | Albany, N.Y.
THE MATCHUP (Vermont) | The Wildcats and Catamounts meet for the 137th time in their long and storied history, with Vermont leading the all-time series, 87-49. The Catamounts have won 24 of the last 28 matchups, including 13 in a row against the Wildcats in the comfort of Patrick Gymnasium. All four of UNH's wins in the last 25 contests have come at home. The two teams split the season series last year as each team won at home and Vermont went on to capture both contests this season. In the most recent meeting on Feb. 6, 2013, the Catamounts picked up a 63-48 victory at Patrick Gym. Patrick Konan scored a team-high 15 points as he shot 6-of-10 from the floor and added five rebounds and two assists. Scott Morris also reached double figures with 11 points including a trio of 3-pointers. Luke Apfeld paced Vermont with 16 points, while Clancy Rugg and Ethan O'Day added 13 and 10, respectively. Brian Voelkel led all players with 14 rebounds. Vermont shot 46.7 percent (21-45) from the field, including 50 percent in the first half, while UNH shot 38.8 percent (19-49) from the floor. UVM also won the battle for rebounds, 34-27.
SCOUTING THE CATAMOUNTS | Vermont wrapped up the regular season at 19-10 overall and 11-5 in conference to earn the No. 2 seed in the league tournament for the second time in as many seasons. The Catamounts are seeded second or better for the ninth time in 11 years and will be seeking their second-straight league crown. Vermont downed Stony Brook, 51-43, on the road in last year's title game to earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Vermont fell to Hartford, 61-58, in the regular season finale to snap a three-game winning streak. Trey Blue scored a team-high 12 points in 16 minutes of action. Luke Apfeld chipped in 10 points and five rebounds and Brian Voelkel added seven points and 10 rebounds. Voelkel ranks second in the conference in rebounding (8.9), offensive rebounds (2.7) and defensive rebounds (6.2), and third in assists (4.8). Clancy Rugg leads the team in scoring at 11.5 points per game, while Luke Apfeld (10.8) and Sandro Carissimo (10.0) also average double figures. Apfeld is the top free throw shooter in the conference with an 86.2 percentage at the charity stripe. As a team, the Catamounts are second in the league in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 59.0 points per contest. On the offensive side, UVM ranks second in field goal percentage (40.3).
THE MATCHUP (Hartford) | If the Wildcats and Hawks should meet it would be for the 59th time ever in the history of the two programs, with Hartford leading the all-time series, 37-21. The Wildcats have won 10 of 12 and seven of nine against the Hawks at Lundholm Gymnasium, while the Hawks have won 12 of 13 against the 'Cats at Chase Arena. UNH won at Hartford in 2009 for the first time since an 80-78 triumph Jan. 12, 2002. The 'Cats and Hawks had split the regular-season series four straight times until UNH swept it in 2009 and Hartford swept it in 2010. The two teams split the season series last year with each team winning at home, but the Hawks swept the series this season. In the most recent meeting on Feb. 20, Hartford grinded out a 49-44 victory at home. Chandler Rhoads tallied 16 points to go with three rebounds and a pair of assists. Patrick Konan shot 4-of-8 from the floor for 11 points, including a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, to pair with a team-high seven rebounds. Chris Pelcher registered a career-high five blocks on the defensive end. Mark Nwakamma paced the Hawks with 12 points, while Nate Sikma added 11 points. New Hampshire shot 32 percent in the contest and limited the Hawks to 28.8 percent shooting from the floor, marking a season low for the Hawks.
SCOUTING THE HAWKS | Hartford ended the regular season at 17-12 overall and 10-6 in conference to earn the third seed in the conference tournament. The Hawks have won three straight, including a 61-58 victory over Vermont in the season finale. Sikma scored the go-ahead 3-pointer to propel the Hawks to victory and finished the game with 15 points, 12 of which were scored from three-point territory. Behind an 8-of-10 effort from the charity stripe, Yolonzo Moore added 15 for Hartford, which snapped a 15-game losing streak to the Catamounts that spanned more than seven years. The Hawks made 43.9 percent of their shots (18-of-41), and drilled 12 shots from three-point territory, where they were 48.0 percent. Mark Nwakamma leads the Hawks in both scoring (14.7) and rebounding (5.5), and is averaging a league-best 16.5 points per game since the start of conference play. Moore ranks second on the team with 9.6 points per game. As a team, the Hawks rank eighth in league with just 60.2 points per game, but rank first in steals (8.2) and third in defense (60.9).
THE MATCHUP (UMBC) | If the Wildcats and Retrievers should meet it would be for the 22nd time in their short conference rivalry, with UNH leading the all-time series, 12-9. The 'Cats have won six of the last nine meetings at Lundholm Gymnasium. After UNH began the series with three straight wins at RAC Arena, the Retrievers came back with a three-game streak of their own in the building. UNH responded with three straight victories before UMBC won earlier this season at RAC Arena. The two teams split the season series the last two years. In the most recent meeting on Feb. 13, 2013, the Wildcats pulled out a thrilling 92-86 victory in overtime at Lundholm Gym. Patrick Konan scored 22 points and posted 10 rebounds for the double-double as he shot 7-of-8 from the floor and added two assists in 41 minutes of action. Ferg Myrick also recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards. Chandler Rhoads recorded 20 points and five assists while juniors Scott Morris and Chris Pelcher added 13 points apiece. Morris went 3-of-5 from beyond the arc in the contest.
SCOUTING THE RETRIEVERS | UMBC finished the regular season at 7-22 on the season and 5-11 in conference to claim the No. 6 seed at the league tournament. UMBC downed Binghamton, 59-49, in the regular season finale to snap a six-game losing skid. Senior guards Ryan Cook and Brian Neller combined for 41 of the team's 59 points. Cook scored a game-high 24 points, marking the seventh game he has exceeded the 20-point plateau this year. Neller added 17 points and buried 5-of-10 shots from behind the arc. Junior forward Chase Plummer nearly posted a double-double, scoring nine points and adding 12 caroms. Cook leads the Retrievers and ranks fourth in the league in scoring at 15.0 points, followed by Plummer with 11.9 points per game. Plummer is also seventh in the conference with 6.7 rebounds per game, while Neller leads the league in 3-pointers made (2.8). UMBC ranks sixth in the league in scoring (63.1) and gives up the most points per game (71.3).
PHILLY'S FINEST | Ferg Myrick erupted for a career-high 27 points to lead the Wildcats past rival Maine in the regular season finale, shooting 8-of-17 from the floor with seven rebounds. Myrick scored 22 points in the second half and was a perfect 8-of-8 at the charity stripe. The senior has logged 21 double-digit scoring performances this season including five with at least 20 points. Myrick enters the conference tournament with 964 career points.
HOME STRETCH | New Hampshire closed out the regular season by winning two of its last three games with both wins at Lundholm Gymnasium. Patrick Konan led the way with 18.3 points per game on 58.8 percent shooting during the three-game stretch, while Ferg Myrick averaged 15.7 points per contest.
THIS YEAR AGAINST UVM | Ferg Myrick led the way against UVM this year by averaging 10.5 points per game in a pair of contests against the Catamounts. Chris Pelcher was the top rebounder with 6.0 boards per contest and also posted a 46.7 field goal percentage.
IN THE TOURNAMENT AGAINST UVM | UNH is 0-3 all-time against Vermont in the America East Tournament. The two teams last met in the 2010 semifinals when Vermont captured a 57-38 victory and went on to claim the conference title. Then-freshman Ferg Myrick scored 13 points off the bench in the contest.
TAKING ADVANTAGE | UNH committed just seven turnovers in the win over Maine and took advantage on the other end by scoring 14 points off 10 Black Bear miscues.
RIVALRY REVISITED | New Hampshire downed rival Maine, 79-74, in the regular season finale to sweep the series against the Black Bears for the first time since the 1994-95 season. The Wildcats previously won at Maine on Jan. 26 (57-54) for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign.
RHOADS HITS 1,000 | Chandler Rhoads became the 29th member of the 1,000-point club when he knocked down a 3-pointer with 11:38 left in the second half against Albany. Rhoads tallied nine points, five rebounds and three assists, finishing the game with 1,002 points.
CLIMBING THE RANKS | Chandler Rhoads continues to move up the program's all-time lists as he ranks fifth in assists (307), fifth in games played (113) and ninth in minutes played (3,459). With 13 points against Maine, Rhoads moved past Tom Horne (63-66) on the all-time scoring list and is now 27th with 1,011 career points.
HERRION MAKES HISTORY | With the win over UMBC on Feb. 13, head coach Bill Herrion, now in his eighth year at UNH and 22nd in America East, became the all-time leader in conference victories (153) and now has 155 AE victories. He passed former Boston University coach Dennis Wolff for the most in conference history and is also the league leader in championship wins (21).
PERIMETER DEFENSE | New Hampshire ranks second in the nation in three-point FG percentage defense, holding teams to 27.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc, while Stephen F. Austin leads the nation at 27.3 percent.
KONAN PERFECT FROM DEEP | Patrick Konan scored a career-high 24 points at Albany, shooting 9-of-10 from the floor and a perfect 6-of-6 from 3-point range. Konan's single-game 3-point field goal percentage (1.000) trails only Alvin Abreu's 3-pointer performance (7-of-7) against Santa Clara (1/4/09).
TREYMENDOUS SHOOTER | Scott Morris scored a career-high 15 points against Binghamton, shooting a career-best 5-of-6 from 3-point range. Morris leads the team and ranks third in the conference in 3-point shooting (41.5, 34-82) and has shot 52.8 percent from long range over the final 10 games of the regular season.
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 Feb. 23. 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.
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).
SHARE THE WEALTH | Through 28 games, six different players have led UNH in scoring, while seven different players have reached double figures.
BIG ADDITION | Chris Pelcher has been a strong post presence for UNH this season after transferring from Iona following his sophomore campaign. Pelcher ranks fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (53.5, 92-173) and in blocks (1.3) and eighth in rebounding (6.5).
SECOND HALF SURGE | New Hampshire has been much better offensively in the second half of games, having scored 156 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 22 points in the win 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. He also chipped in with two assists in 41 minutes of action.
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.
TAKE TWO | Patrick Konan and Ferg Myrick both posted double-doubles against UMBC. Konan recorded 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Myrick had 15 points and 10 rebounds. 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).
IRON MAN | Chandler Rhoads has been the backbone of the Wildcats this season as he ranks second in the America East in minutes played (36.0, 1008). Rhoads has logged at least 35 minutes in 23 of 28 games this season.
CLEANING THE GLASS | New Hampshire leads the league in offensive rebounds since the start of conference play, averaging 10.9 offensive boards per contest over the 16-game span. The Wildcats snagged a season-high 18 offensive rebounds at UMBC and have reached double figure offensive boards in 10 of the 16 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 fifth 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).
LEGEND KILLER | Ferg Myrick came up big against mighty UConn, registering a game-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.
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.
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.