Men's Basketball: Wildcats earn second conference win over Albany
The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team ended its two game skid Thursday at Lundholm Gymnasium, prevailing 60-56 over American East foe Albany. The win marks its fourth win of the season, improving to 4-15 overall and 2-4 in conference play, while Albany slipped to 10-10 overall and to 4-3 in conference play.
UNH men's basketball Head Coach Bill Herrion praised his players for playing hard, and being defensively sound.
"It's been a long, long road," Herrion said. "One thing these guys have done over this stretch of games is play hard. Ever since the Binghamton game, we have been committed to play our style of game and that is to be defensively sound. [The] defense has given us a chance and we did a great job at fighting back."
Herrion credited great offensive games from Daniel Dion and Chris Pelcher.
"Dion made some big threes and obviously having Pelcher back as a big presence helped," Herrion said. "If we ever wanted to win the championship, we have to beat the better teams, and beating Albany, the defending champs, is a solid win. We just need to get better and better from here."
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. In a half of exchanging blows, the Danes jumped to a 26-18 lead, following a 10-4 run sparked by DJ Evans and Michael Rowley who contributed seven of the 10 points.
UNH fought back, ending the first half on a 9-2 run bringing the deficit down to 28-26.
Jacoby Armstrong put the Wildcats back on top 33-32 with a layup two minutes into the second half.
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 three-pointers to start a 10-0 run for the Wildcats. Armstrong added two free throws for UNH and Dion capped the run with a layup to put UNH up front 51-50 with 4:54 remaining.
Both teams allowed no points over the next 2:28. Albany broke the drought when Evans made one of two free throws to knot the score at 51-51. UNH immediately regained the lead when Bronner converted a 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 dunk and a foul as the crowd rose to an ovation. Armstrong converted the free throw to give UNH a 57-53 lead.
Albany would not quit as Evans came right back to nail a three-pointer from the left shoulder to cut the UNH lead to one. It was the Wildcats notching the final three points of the game on free throws by Pelcher and Bronner to close out the victory for New Hampshire.
Bronner finished the game with a team leading 14 points for New Hampshire, while Evans led Albany with 22 points.
New Hampshire will travel to UMass Lowell on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m., for the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Rob Wilson can be reached on Twitter @RobWilson_TNH
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