LOWELL, Mass. - Senior center Chris Pelcher (Albany, N.Y.) scored 13 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and notched seven blocks to lead the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team to a 61-32 victory over the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Sunday afternoon at the Tsongas Center.
Pelcher led the way with a near triple-double (13 pts, 14 rebs, seven blocks) for UNH (5-15, 3-4 America East). Freshman Daniel Dion (Cedar Park, Texas) added a career-high and game-high 20 points to pace the Wildcats' offense and classmate Jacoby Armstrong (Sachse, Texas) chipped in with nine points and seven rebounds.
Antonio Bivins paced UMass Lowell (5-14, 4-3 America East) with 12 points and eight boards. Chad Holley tacked on seven points and DJ Mlachnik grabbed a team-high nine rebounds for the River Hawks who were held to an NCAA record low 12.2% shooting for the game.
The Wildcats fell behind 4-2 three minutes into the game, but used a 4-0 run to grab its first lead of the afternoon. Dion registered his second bucket of the game, a jumper from the left elbow, to tie the score at 4-4, before Pelcher converted a hook shot from the right block to put UNH ahead 6-4.
The River Hawks regained the lead on a layup and a free throw, but UNH responded with a 15-0 run to jump ahead 21-7. Armstrong started it for the Wildcats when he buried a jumper from the right side on a feed from Jordon Bronner (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.). Freshman Jaleen Smith (Freeport, Texas) followed by bookending a Pelcher jumper with a pair of 3-pointers to put UNH ahead 16-7. Bronner followed with a 3-ball of his own before Armstrong finished the run with a dunk to give the Wildcats a 21-7 advantage.
Lowell fought back at the end of the half with a 10-4 run to cut UNH's lead to 25-17 at the intermission. Armstrong, Dion, and Smith all led the way for UNH in the first half with six points apiece. The Wildcats shot 35.5% from the floor in the first period, hitting on 11 of 31 shots. UNH held Lowell to just 13.0% in the opening frame, shooting just 3-23.
The teams traded baskets over the opening five minutes of the second half, as UNH held a 31-22 and 13:35 remaining in the game. From there, the Wildcats launched a 13-0 run to seize a 22-point lead. Scott Morris (Walkersville, Md.) opened the run with a trey from the right corner. Pelcher followed with a layup on a great high-low pass from Armstrong. Morris and Dion then nailed back-to-back 3's before Pelcher ended the run with a layup and a free throw to put UNH ahead 44-22.
UNH cruised to victory from there, taking the game 61-32. UNH shot 45.3% from the floor, including a 9-24 clip from downtown. The Wildcats also held the River Hawks to an NCAA record low 12.2% (6-for-49) from the floor, including 0-20 from beyond the arc.
UNH returns to action Wednesday at 7 p.m. when it hosts the University of Maine at Lundholm Gymnasium. For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.