Men's Basketball: Rebounding, missed buckets lead to first conference loss
The UNH men's basketball team could not keep up with the Stony Brook University Seawolves in their first conference game of the year Sunday afternoon, losing 67-48. Their record fell to 2-7 overall, 0-1 in America East.
The Wildcats went into halftime only six points behind the Seawolves, but by the 13 minute mark, Stony Brook had taken a 17 point lead. The Wildcats only scored two points in the first seven minutes of that half.
The starting five struggled in the first half. UNH forward Patrick Konan, who averaged 12.3 points per game going into Sunday, was 0-2 in that half, 0-3 overall. UNH forward Jacoby Armstrong was 1-2 in the first half, 2-6 with four points overall.
The starting five for the Seawolves did not struggle. Stony Brook's Eric McAlister, Dave Coley and Jameel Warney combined for 18 first half points. It was UNH bench players Frank Okeke and John Edwards, who scored 12 and four points, respectively, that kept the Wildcats alive in the last ten minutes of the first half.
Going into halftime, the Wildcats were confident. Okeke said they thought they were going to win.
"We really thought we were going to win that game at that point," Okeke said. "I know the second half, first five minutes, [we] didn't come out hard enough."
In the second half, the Wildcats could not keep pace with the bigger and faster Seawolves. Stony Brook outscored UNH 34-21 in that half, their starters combining for 12 points. Off the bench, Stony Brook's Scott King used his six-foot-10 height and his skill as a three point shooter to knock down nine points from beyond the arch. Besides scoring the first basket of the game, the Wildcats did not lead once.
The biggest factor that killed the Wildcats in the game was their inability to rebound. Stony Brook beat the Wildcats on the boards 41 to 23. Rebounding has not been a problem for the Wildcats. They lead the conference in offensive rebounds with 38.8 per game and in rebounding margin with +3.8.
"We haven't been getting hammered," UNH head coach Bill Herrion said. "But they're good, and I think they totally, totally outplayed us today."
The Wildcats missed fifteen field goals in the first half, twenty seven overall.
In addition, they passed the ball when they had clear opportunities to shoot. In one instance in the first half, Okeke received a pass at the top of the paint with a second to shoot. At that point, he was had made five of nine field goal attempts. Instead, he passed to UNH guard Daniel Dion, who was calling for the ball on the left wing from three point range. Dion had missed all three of his shot attempts up to that moment. He shot and missed the three-pointer, his third missed three of the game. It was just one of many wrong choices by the Wildcats in the offensive zone.
UNH hosts Dartmouth University this Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
Max Sullivan can be reached on Twitter @MaxSullivanLive
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