DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team looks to close out the regular season with a victory when it travels to take on the University of Maine on Sunday, March 2 (2 p.m.) at Cross Insurance Center.
THE MATCHUP: UNH and Maine match up for the 182nd time in the history of these AmericaEast arch-rivals, with Maine holding a 116-65 series advantage. The Black Bears took the first meeting of the season, earning a 68-60 win on Jan. 29th at Lundholm Gymnasium. Xavier Pollard scored a game-high 20 points and added five boards to pace Maine. Senior Chris Pelcher notched 13 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats in the loss. The teams played an even first half, going into the break tied at 35-35. Maine took control in the second period, outscoring UNH 33-25 to take a 68-60 victory. UNH was held to 40.3% ( 25-for-62) shooting and only seven total free throws. Maine shot a bit better, 41.0% (25-for-61), but went to the free-throw line 21 times, converting on 15 of those attempts.
LAST TIME OUT: The Maine Black Bears enter Sunday's regular season finale after dropping their sixth straight game in an 84-72-road defeat against UMass Lowell River Hawks on Feb. 27 at Costello Athletic Center. Maine shot 57.1 % (16 of 28) from the field and 37.5% (3 of 8) from 3-point range in the first half to jump out to a 38-35 lead at intermission. Junior guard Xavier Pollard (13 pts) and sophomore forward Till Gloger (10 pts) paced the Black Bears offense during an effective Maine offensive half. Gloger finished with a team-high 20 points and 7 rebounds while Pollard registered 15 points and dished out a game-high 7 assists. Meanwhile, the River Hawks hit 13 of 25 from the field (52.0%) in the first frame to go along with 38.5% from deep (38.5%). The Black Bears surrendered their lead; letting its first potential win since Feb. 1 (83-80 vs. UMBC), slip through their grasp. After shooting over 50% from the field in the first half, Maine saw just 39.5% (15 of 38) of its field goals fall in the final frame. The Black Bears hit just one of their nine (11.1%) shots from 3-point land as well. UMass Lowell, led by 12 second half points from senior guard Akeem Williams, hit 15 of 27 field goals to outscore Maine, 49-34, in the frame.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Xavier Pollard's team-high 15.1 points per game have paced the Black Bears' offense this season. Partnered with Pollard at guard, junior Zarko Valjarevic has averaged 11.3 points while starting in all 27 of Maine's contests. Maine's sophomores have kept its offense afloat this season. Sophomores Dimitry Coronel (10.8 ppg), Shaun Lawton (7.9 ppg), and Till Gloger (7.4 ppg) round out Maine's top five scorers. Pollard and Lawton lead the Black Bears as both scorers and facilitators. Lawton leads Maine in assists with 4.4 per game and Pollard clocks in closely behind with 4.0.
MONSTER McDONNELL: Junior guard/forward Tommy McDonnell grabbed eight rebounds last game against Albany, marking his second highest rebound total of his career. His personal-best nine-rebound performance came vs. UMBC on Jan. 15 in a 56-42 win.
DOUBLE-DIGITS, DAILY: Senior guard Jordan Bronner has been a steady presence for the Wildcats all season long. Bronner recorded his 15th double-digit scoring game of the season with his 14-point effort (5 of 9 FG) in a 66-48 loss to Albany on Feb. 27.
CRASHING THE DEFENSIVE BOARDS: With 19 defensive rebounds against Albany, the Wildcats have jumped to fifth in UNH history in defensive rebounds in a season. UNH has surpassed the 2010-11 team, which grabbed 696 defensive boards,
AMERICA EAST FANS' CHOICE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Senior guard Jordan Bronner is the Wildcats' nominee for America East Fans' Choice Player of the year. The UNH captain has been a rock for UNH this season, averaging a career-best 10.0 points per game and 33.1 minutes per game. To vote for Jordon, go to the America East Facebook page and like or share his picture.
THIS DATE IN HISTORY: On March 2, 2003, UNH fought its way to a 62-55 victory at Stony Brook. UNH finished the year with a 5-23 overall record and a 3-13 mark in America East Conference play. The Wildcats dropped its AE Quarterfinal matchup to Boston University 75-61, a week later.
PELCHER SCORES EIGHTH DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Senior forward Chris Pelcher posted his eighth double-double of the season during the Wildcats' senior-day loss to UMass Lowell. Pelcher scored 10 points and snagged 13 rebounds for UNH to secure his 10th double-double of his career.
TEAM REBOUNDING: UNH posted its second-best rebounding margin during its loss to UMass Lowell. The Wildcats outrebounded the River Hawks 42-33, for a +9 margin. The only time this year that the Wildcats posted a better margin was during their opening day victory over Suffolk, when UNH earned a +15 rebounding margin.
NOT IN THIS HOUSE: With 97 blocks this year, the Wildcats rank third all-time in UNH history for blocks in a season. Entering the game against Albany the Wildcats had 94 rejections, but thanks to two from Frank Okeke and one from Jaleen Smith UNH finished the contest with 97.
RECORD-BREAKING SENIORS: Seniors Jordon Bronner and Chris Pelcher have etched their names into UNH history during their time in Durham. Bronner is on pace to finish his careeer at least tied for first in UNH history in games played. Bronner also has a shot to crack the top-10 In minutes played (3,021) and assists (251). Pelcher has made a big name for himself on the defensive side of the court, ranking third all-time in single-season blocks (40) and career-blocks (74).
HERRION'S PLAYERS LEAVE THEIR MARK: During Head Coach Bill Herrion's time at UNH, 12 of his players have taken spots in the UNH record book. Alvin Abreu, Blagoj Janev, Tyrece Gibbs, Tyrone Conley, Dane DiLiegro, Brian Benson, Mike Christensen, Chandler Rhoads, Ferg Myrick, Jermaine Anderson, Jordon Bronner, and Chris Pelcher have all earned spots among the top-10 in UNH in various categories.
EDWARDS BRINGS THE ENERGY: Freshman forward John Edwards scored a team-high nine points for the Wildcats in Wednesday's loss to Vermont. Edwards scored seven of his nine points from the free-throw line, hitting 7 of the 8 shots he took from the charity stripe.
KONAN NETS 1,000TH POINT: Senior captain Patrick Konan scored the 1,000th point of his collegiate career in the Wildcats' 61-59 loss to Hartford. Konan, who entered the game one point away from 1,000, scored his 1,000th point on a layup 6:57 into the game. The captain finished with 15 points and four rebounds.
FANTASTIC FRESHMEN: The Wildcats have one of the best freshman classes in the America East this season. Among newcomers, Jacoby Armstrong and Jaleen Smith rank in the top-10 in rebounding, with Daniel Dion and Armstrong also ranking in the top-10 in scoring.
SHARING THE WEALTH: Freshman guard Daniel Dion dished out a career-high nine assists during the Wildcats' loss to Binghamton on Feb. 12. Dion posted five assists in the first, two in the second, and two in the overtime period for UNH. The nine assists replaces his previous career-high of seven, which he recorded in a win against UMass Lowell.
FROM DOWNTOWN: Senior captain Jordon Bronner went 5-for-7 from beyond the arc against Binghamton. The five 3-balls were a career-high for 3-pointers made in a game. Bronner has been hot from distance, hitting on 13 of his last 25 3's.
WINDEX: Senior captain Scott Morris tied a personal-best when he corralled seven rebounds for the Wildcats against Binghamton. The captain captured four in the first half and three in the second half to tie the career-high that he set earlier this season at Towson.
PUNCHING THE CLOCK: Jordon Bronner, Daniel Dion, and Chris Pelcher all set career-highs in minutes played during the Wildcats' overtime loss to Binghamton. Bronner led the way for UNH in time on the floor, playing in 43 minutes, while Dion and Pelcher logged 40 minutes apiece for UNH.
TOP OF HIS CLASS: Freshman forward Jacoby Armstrong has made a name for himself in the America East this season. The young star is ranked 10th in the league in rebounds per game and ranks second among all freshmen in rebounding, averaging 5.1 boards per contest.
A TEAM EFFORT: The Wildcats used a full team effort in their victory over Stony Brook. Four members of the team scored in double-figures, nine players recorded at least one rebound, and eight members earned at least one assist in the victory. Jordon Bronner led the way with 16 points, one rebound, and three assists.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL: The Wildcats posted a season-low eight turnovers in their win against Stony Brook. UNH also posted its second highest assist-to-turnover ratio of the year, recording a 2.25 mark. The Wildcats only posted a higher ration in its victory over UMass Lowell (2.56).
MOVING UP THE ALL-TIME LEADERBOARD: Senior center Chris Pelcher has moved into third place on UNH's all-time blocks list. In just two seasons with UNH, Pelcher has registered 74 total blocks. The senior rejected 34 shots in 25 games last season and has recorded 40 swats in just 16 games so far this year. Pelcher is now just 5 blocks shy of second place on the list.
PERFECT 10: Jacoby Armstrong shot a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line on his way to 14 points in UNH's 68-57 loss to UMBC. Armstrong fell just two free throws short of tying a school record for most free throws made without registering a miss.
A FIRST FOR EDWARDS: Freshman forward John Edwards, who returned from an injury that forced him to miss seven games, buried the first 3-pointer of his career in The Wildcats' loss to UMBC. Trailing 62-52 with less than five minutes remaining, Edwards took a pass in the left corner and drained a 3-ball to cut the UMBC lead to seven points. Edwards had been 0-10 from beyond the arc before hitting that trey.
NATIONALLY RANKED: The Wildcats have one of the top ranked defenses in the country. UNH has moved into 40th in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 64.0 points per contest. In America East play the Wildcats keep opponents to just 61.1 points per game.
DION-A-MITE: Freshman guard Daniel Dion has been stellar for the Wildcats in the past seven games. Dion is averaging 11 points over that span, including a career-best 20-point effort in the Wildcats 61-32 triumph over UMass Lowell.
PELCHER EARNS SECOND AE WEEKLY HONOR: Wildcats' center Chris Pelcher was named America East Co-Player of the Week, the league announced Monday Jan. 27. Pelcher returned from a leg injury that kept him out 11 games to average 12.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 6.0 blocks in two games last week for the Wildcats. The senior started the week with 11 points, seven rebounds, and five blocks during UNH's 60-56 win over Albany on Thursday, before notching 13 points, 14 rebounds, and a career-high seven blocks during the Wildcats' 61-32 triumph over UMass Lowell.
MAKING HISTORY: The Wildcats had a record-setting day in their 61-32 win over UMass Lowell. UNH held the River Hawks to 12.2% shooting (6 of 49) from the floor, the lowest shooting percentage in the history of the NCAA since the shot clock was introduced in 1986.
HE'S A FLIRT: Senior center Chris Pelcher flirted with a triple-double in the Wildcats 61-32 win over UMass Lowell. Pelcher scored 13 points, snagged 14 rebounds, and recorded a career-high seven blocks. Though he missed out on a triple-double by three blocks, the senior captain still collected his fifth double-double of the season in the victory.
DION SETS CAREER-HIGHS: Freshman guard Daniel Dion notched a career-high 20 points and seven rebounds against UMass Lowell. Dion hit 8 of 11 shots, and 4 of 6 from downtown. The guard bested his previous career-high of 14 that he set against Suffolk.
CRUNCH TIME: The UNH defense buckled down over the final seven minutes of its win over Albany. The Wildcats held the Great Danes to six points over the final 7:16 of the game, including a five-minute scoreless span that allowed UNH to take a 51-50 lead.
PELCHER RETURNS: Senior center Chris Pelcher returned to action in the Wildcats' 60-56 victory over Albany. Pelcher, who played in six games before going down with a leg injury, posted 11 points, seven rebounds, and a career-high five blocks for UNH in the victory.
BLOCK PARTY: Freshman forward Williams Gabriel posted a career-high three blocks in the Wildcats' loss to Vermont. Gabriel ranks second on the team with 21 total blocks and a 0.8 blocks per game average. His 0.8 bpg is good for eighth in the America East.
VARIETY PACK: The Wildcats have used 20 different starting lineups over the course of the season. Every member of the team who has played in a game has earned a start. Jordon Bronner is the only player to have started every game.
DROPPING DIMES: Sophomore forward Frank Okeke posted a career-high five assists in the Wildcats loss to Hartford. Okeke bested his previous career-high of three, which he posted in the Wildcats' loss to Stony Brook earlier this season.
CONFERENCE CALL: Junior guard/forward Tommy McDonnell is averaging a career-high 4.0 rebounds during conference games this season. McDonnell opened the conference schedule with one rebound before posting five against Binghamton, a career-high nine against UMBC, five against Hartford, three against Vermont, four against Albany, and five against UMass Lowell. Most recently, McDonnell notched eight boards during the Wildcats contest against Albany.
FOUR SCORE: Four Wildcat players scored in double-figures during the team's 56-42 victory over UMBC. Daniel Dion netted a game-high 13 points, Frank Okeke added 12, and Jaleen Smith and Jordon Bronner notched 10 points each. It marks the first time since Nov. 11, 2013 that the Wildcats had four players hit double-figures.
AE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Sophomore forward Frank Okeke netted his first career double-double in UNH's 56-42 win against UMBC. Okeke scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds on the way to being named America East Player of the Game for the Wildcats.
TENACIOUS D: The Wildcats own the second best defense in the America East. UNH ranks second in opponent points per game, allowing just 64.0 points per contest. The Wildcats also rank second in field goal defense, with opponents shooting just 40.6% from the floor.
SUPER SMITH: Freshman Jaleen Smith registered a career-high 15 points for UNH against Brown. The freshman netted seven points in the first half and eight in the second. Smith went 4 of 10 from the field, 3 of 5 from beyond the arc, and 4 of 4 from the line on the night.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: Senior Patrick Konan posted his second double-double of the season and the seventh of his career at Brown. Konan scored 14 points and grabbed career-high 13 boards for the Wildcats in the loss.
SECOND CHANCE POINTS: The Wildcats registered 14 offensive rebounds on the way to scoring a season-high 22 second chance points against Brown. UNH topped its previous high of 16 second-chance points, which they recorded at Central Conn. St. and Yale.
CRASHING THE BOARDS: UNH grabbed 42 rebounds in its loss to Brown, the third highest total of the season. Patrick Konan led the Wildcats with 13 boards on the night. UNH only posted more rebounds against Suffolk (50 rebs) and Central Conn. St. (46).
CAROLINA HURRICANE: Freshman forward John Edwards (Charlotte, N.C.) registered a career-high 13 points during the Wildcats' loss to Sacred Heart. Edwards shot 3-7 from the floor and 7-10 from the charity stripe.
IRONMAN: Senior guard Jordon Bronner is averaging a career-best 33.1 minutes per game this season. Bronner has registered 37+ minutes in 10 games, including times of 40 against Bryant, Sacred Heart, and UMass Lowell, and 43 minutes against Binghamton.
KONAN THE BARBARIAN: Senior forward Patrick Konan scored a career-high 25 points and snagged eight rebounds in UNH's 72-64 loss to Towson. Konan scored 14 points in the second half and netted a career-best 11 free throws.
12's THE NUMBER: The Wildcats snatched 12 offensive rebounds during their loss to Towson. Patrick Konan led the way for UNH with four offensive boards. The Wildcats outrebounded Towson 36-33 in the game.
OKEKE'S A-OK: Sophomore forward posted a career-day for UNH during the team's loss to Stony Brook. Okeke scored a personal-best 14 points on 6-12 shooting. The forward also snagged four rebounds, dished-out a career-high three assists, and earned a career-high two steals.
McDONNELL MAKES A DIFFERENCE: Junior forward Tommy McDonnell registered a +9 plus/minus for UNH during the second half against Yale. McDonnell scored four points, collected four rebounds, and dished out two assists in 19 second-half minutes for the Wildcats.
GABRIEL'S BIG DAY: Freshman big man Williams Gabriel filled in well in the absence of Chris Pelcher during UNH's loss to CCSU. The Wildcat center scored a career-best seven points on 2-of-4 shooting, snagged a career-high six rebounds, and added two blocks.
TEXAS YOUTH MOVEMENT: The freshmen trio of Jaleen Smith (Freeport, Texas), Daniel Dion (Cedar Park, Texas), and Jacoby Armstrong (Sachse, Texas) all notched career-bests in UNH's loss to CCSU. Smith posted career-highs in points (10), rebounds (5), steals (2), free throws (4-4), and minutes (20). Dion posted career-bests in assists (6) and rebounds (5). Armstrong claimed his first career double-double, earning 10 points and a career-high 10 rebounds in the loss.
PELCHER HONORED WITH MONTHLY AWARD: Chris Pelcher was named to the collegehoopsdaily.com's November All-Conference Team. The senior center logged 13.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks over the course of six games in November. Pelcher recorded four double-doubles for the Wildcats during that span.
BE AGGRESSIVE: After shooting just one free throw in the first half of the team's loss to Holy Cross, the Wildcats drew 13 fouls and shot 18 free throws in the second stanza.
OFF THE BENCH: Patrick Konan provided a spark for the Wildcats off the bench in the team's loss to Holy Cross. Konan notched 13 points and six rebounds to lead UNH.
THEY CALL HIM RAMBO: Jacoby Armstrong earned himself another career-day for UNH against Bryant. The freshman netted a career-high 15 points and grabbed six rebounds in the team's, 60-55, loss to Bryant. Armstrong accelerated his game after he performed well in UNH's loss to Marquette. The freshman forward scored, a previous career-high, six points and hauled in a career-high eight rebounds in a 27-minute effort for the Wildcats.
DOUBLE-DOUBLED: Chris Pelcher scored 11 points and hauled in 13 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season against Bryant. In his first three seasons of college basketball, Pelcher had recorded just two double-doubles.
KONAN CLAIMS FIRST DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Senior forward Patrick Konan earned his first double-double of the season in the Wildcats' loss to No.25 Marquette. Konan notched 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting and corralled 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season and the sixth of his career.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Chris Pelcher was recognized as the America East Co-Player of The Week, Monday Nov. 18. Pelcher averaged 17 points, 15.5 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, and 1.5 assists during a 1-1 week for the Wildcats. The center tallied a double-double with 14 points and 16 boards in UNH's 84-81 victory over Duquesne before adding a second double-double performance of the week in the Wildcats' loss to NJIT, scoring 20 points and securing 15 rebounds on the night.
GLASS CLEANER: After five games Chris Pelcher was ranked fourth in the nation in rebounds per game with 13. The redshirt senior grabbed 17 rebounds in the Wildcat's opening win over Suffolk, snagged 16 boards in UNH's victory over Duquesne, and secured 15 rebounds in the team's loss to NJIT.
ON POINT: Through the first two games of the season the Wildcats were ranked 18th in the country in field goal percentage, shooting 54.1% from the field. Jaleen Smith (75.0%), Chris Pelcher (64.0%), and Daniel Dion (60.0%) led the Wildcats in the category.
GIVE ME MORRIS: Scott Morris netted a Career High 17 points in the Wildcat's win over Duquesne. Morris scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half. The senior captain shot 5-of-8 from beyond the arc and 2-of-2 from the free throw line in the win.
FOUR SCORE: Chris Pelcher led the Wildcats on offense with 25 points while Patrick Konan dropped 19 points in UNH's 94-70 win over Suffolk. Freshman Daniel Dion drained 14 in his collegiate debut as Jordon Bronner finished the night with 12.
BIG DEBUT: Daniel Dion's 14 points in the Wildcat's season opener against Suffolk was the most by a UNH freshman during their collegiate debut since former Wildcat Chandler Rhoads scored 14 points in his 2009 debut against Suffolk.
CRASHING THE BOARDS: The Wildcats pulled down 51 rebounds against Suffolk in the season opener Saturday, Nov. 9. Senior Chris Pelcher came down with a career high 17 rebounds in the effort, while classmate Patrick Konan recorded seven.
ALL-TIME CONFERENCE WINS LEADER: Head coach Bill Herrion, who enters his ninth year with UNH and 23rd in the America East Conference, currently holds the title of winningest coach in America East Conference history, earning 334 wins in his career.
PRESEASON COACHES' POLL: The Wildcats (31 points) were picked to finish fifth in the America East preseason coaches' poll. Vermont (64), received six first-place votes and were tabbed as preseason favorites to finish first. Stony Brook was picked second with 58 points and took the remaining three first-place votes. Albany was selected third with 49 points while Hartford was fourth with 44 points. After New Hampshire, UMBC was selected sixth with 28 points while Binghamton (24), Maine (20) and UMass Lowell (8) rounded out the field.
A FRESH GROUP OF FRESHMEN: UNH welcomed in a group of five freshmen in the off-season, all of which are poised to make a big impact for the team. Jacoby Armstrong (Sasche, Texas) arrived in Wildcat Country from Wylie High School while Daniel Dion (Cedar Park, Texas) most recently played at Vista Ridge High School. John Edwards (Charlotte, N.C.) is fresh off a career at Brewster Academy as Williams Gabriel (Lagos, Nigeria) came from Huntington Prep. Jaleen Smith (Freeport, Texas), who hails from Brazosport High School, rounds out the group.
A CLASS WITH CLASS: Each of the four members of the 2013-14 senior class have been elected as captains. Jordan Bronner, Patrick Konan, Scott Morris and Chris Pelcher will serve as captains.
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 2013-14 UNH men's and women's basketball seasons on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network. Veteran play-by-play man Jeannotte will return for his 32nd year broadcasting UNH men's basketball, while color analyst Murphy enters his 13th 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 and WEEY in Keene (93.5 FM) and WEEI in Concord (101.5 FM) plus all broadcasts are streamed live and archived via Stretch Internet at www.unhwildcats.com. All game broadcasts begin 30 minutes prior to tipoff.
WILDCATS STREAMING LIVE: The America East Conference and NeuLion have partnered to bring fans complete game coverage of all America East basketball games. The portal, AmericaEast.tv, brings fans exclusive content as well as live events, free of charge.
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.