DURHAM, N.H. – Senior Jordon Bronner (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) scored 11 of his team-leading 14 points after halftime and the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team erased a nine-point, second-half deficit to post Thursday night's 60-56 America East conference victory against Albany at Lundholm Gym.
Bronner led a trio of UNH players in double-figures with his 14 points. Freshman Daniel Dion (Cedar Park, Texas) added 13 points and senior Chris Pelcher (Albany, N.Y.) chipped in with 11 for UNH, which improves to 4-15 overall and 2-4 in the league.
DJ Evans paced the Great Danes with a game-high 22 points on 7 of 11 shooting, while Gary Johnson notched 10 points for Albany, which drops to 10-10 overall and 4-3 in the America East.
The Great Danes jumped out to an 8-0 lead over the first 3:21 of the first half, with Gary Johnson scoring six of those eight points. UNH responded by holding the Danes without a field goal for seven minutes as part of a 10-0 run for a 10-8 advantage. Pelcher, seeing his first action at Lundholm Gym since Nov. 30, had four points on a field goal and a pair of free throws during the stretch.
After the teams traded baskets over the next 4:07, the Great Danes used a 5-0 run to pull ahead 23-16 with 4:57 remaining in the half. The Great Danes managed to extend its lead to 28-19 with 2:56 left, but the Wildcats responded with a 7-0 run to close out the frame. Pelcher opened the run for UNH with a layup in the lane. Bronner followed up with a 3-ball from the top of the key, before Scott Morris (Walkersville, Md.) finished the run with a pair of free throws to make the halftime score 28-26, Great Danes.
Pelcher and Frank Okeke (DeSoto, Texas) led the Wildcats with six points apiece in the first half, while Evans paced the Great Danes with 10. Albany held the Wildcats to 26.1% from the floor in the first, but only managed to shoot at a 30.3% clip itself.
Albany opened the second half with a Johnson jumper to take a four-point lead, but UNH followed with a Dion 3-pointer and a Pelcher layup to give the Wildcats a 31-30 edge two minutes into the stanza.
The teams played evenly over the next four minutes. With UNH holding a 39-38 advantage, the Great Danes used a 10-0 run to open a nine-point lead with 8:57 remaining in the game.
Still trailing by nine (50-41) with just over seven minutes left, Dion nailed back-to-back 3's to start a 10-0 run for the Wildcats. Jacoby Armstrong (Sachse, Texas) added two free throws for UNH and Dion capped the run with a runner in the lane to put UNH ahead 51-50 with 4:54 remaining.
The two squads locked down defensively over the next 2:28, with neither team allowing any points. Albany broke the offensive struggle when Evans made 1 of 2 free throws to knot the score at 51-51. UNH regained the lead immediately when Bronner converted an old-fashioned three-point-play to put the Wildcats up 54-51. The Great Danes responded to trim the lead to one-point on a jumper from John Puk.
The Wildcats answered right back, using great ball movement to free up Armstrong for a thunderous dunk and a foul. Armstrong converted the free throw to give UNH a 57-53 lead.
Albany would not quit though, as Evans came right back to nail a 3-pointer from the left shoulder to chop the UNH lead to one. It was the Wildcats, however; who would not be denied, notching the final three points of the game on free throws by Pelcher and Bronner to close out the victory for UNH.
Next up for UNH is a visit to UMass Lowell (5-13, 4-3) on Sunday, Jan. 26 (2 p.m.), for the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The game will be carried live on ESPN3 and the Wildcat Sports Radio Network. The Wildcats return to Lundholm Gym on Wednesday, Jan. 29, for a 7 p.m. game against Maine. For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.