Okeke’s First Career Double-Double (12 Points, 11 Rebounds) Lifts UNH Past UMBC, 56-42

DURHAM, N.H. - Sophomore forward Frank Okeke (DeSoto, Texas) notched his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds to headline four players in double digits for the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team in Wednesday night's 56-42 America East victory over UMBC at Lundholm Gym.

Freshman Daniel Dion (Cedar Park, Texas) added a game-high 13 points for UNH on 4 of 10 shooting, including 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Senior Jordon Bronner (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) and freshman Jaleen Smith (Freeport, Texas) chipped in 10 points apiece for UNH, which moves to 3-13 overall and 1-2 in America East Conference action.

Rodney Elliott paced the Retrievers with 10 points and seven rebounds. Bryan Harris also notched 10 points for UMBC, which falls to 5-12 overall and 1-3 in the America East.

The Wildcats opened the game on a quick 6-0 run to take the early advantage. Okeke got things started with a 3-ball from the top of the key and added a second 3 one minute later for the Wildcats.

UMBC responded with six straight points to knot the score at 6-6 Devarick Houston got the Retrievers on the board when he picked off a pass and finished a breakaway dunk. Harris cut the lead to one when he buried a 3-pointer from the left side and Charles Taylor Jr. tied the score with a free throw.

After the teams traded baskets to make it 10-8, the Wildcats exploded on a 16-6 run to end the half. Bronner and Jacoby Armstrong (Sachse, Texas) started the run with fastbreak layups for UNH. Dion and Okeke then nailed back-to-back 3's to put the Wildcats up 20-10.

Following a couple UMBC free throws, Bronner added a jumper and Dion nailed his second 3-ball of the game to put UNH up 25-12. Williams Gabriel (Lagos, Nigeria) then notched a free throw before Brett Roseboro ended the half with a layup for the Retrievers to make it 26-14 at the half.  

Okeke led the Wildcats with nine points at the break, while Dion and Bronner added six apiece for UNH, which shot 35.7% from the floor and 45.0% from 3-point land in the half. Roseboro and Harris paced the Retrievers in the first with four points, respectively for UMBC, which was held to 25.0% shooting in the period.

The teams opened the second half trading free throws before Armstrong scored five straight points to extend UNH's lead to 17 points with 18:13 remaining in the half. UMBC fought back with a 12-5 run to cut the score to 37-27 with 12:51 left in the game.

UNH followed with a 12-2 run, giving them a 49-29 advantage. Smith, Okeke, and Dion all netted 3-pointers for the Wildcats during the run, while Bronner and Smith also added free throws for UNH.

The Wildcats coasted to victory after that, eventually earning themselves a 56-42 win.

UNH returns to action Saturday, Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. when it hosts the University of Hartford Hawks at Lundholm Gymnasium. For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.

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