'Cats begin pursuit of America East title
The University of New Hampshire men's basketball team kicks off their season on Saturday as they take on Suffolk at 1 p.m. at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Head coach Bill Herrion said the team is ready to get the season underway and pursue the America East conference championship. First though, Herrion's goal is to lead the team to a winning season, a goal the team has not met since coach Herrion has been with the program.
"We are all anxious to start winning more games than we lose," Herrion said.
Herrion said the team is working on finding their identity early on in the season and then maintaining it throughout the year.
Coach Herrion is considered one of the most successful coaches in America East basketball history, coaching at Drexel from 1991 to 1999 with a 167-71 overall record. He then spent time at East Carolina before coming to UNH in 2005.
The beginning of the season is tough for the Wildcats as they hit the road following their matchup with Suffolk for five-straight games away from Durham. They will not return for a home game until Dec. 1 against Brown. UNH will play 12 home games and 16 away games this season.
"Really good teams win on the road and then take care of business at home," Herrion said.
Senior tri-captain and guard Chandler Rhoads will be the anchor of the team from the backcourt. Rhoads was second on the team last season in a points-per-game with 11.2, behind Alvin Abreu who graduated last spring.
The captains for this season's team are Rhoads, Ferg Myrick and Chris Matagrano.
Traditionally, the Wildcats offense centralized around the play from the three-point line. This year though, Herrion says the team will be putting up more points from the big men up front, especially with forwards Ferg Myrick and Patrick Konan returning for their senior and junior years, respectively.
"We need more balance... we have had a lack of a post presence and I think we finally have a post presence," Herrion said.
The Wildcats has had to rely heavily on the defense in past years, but now with stronger play expected from the post, the team will not have to completely rely on a great defense to win ball games.
Herrion mentions he will be looking for more play down low from the power-forwards and not only rely on the centers in that portion of the court.
Last season, UNH opened the season up with an 85-64 win over Suffolk.
UNH and Suffolk have faced off five times in history - the first time being in 2004 - with UNH winning each game.
The Wildcats have won their last five season openers, playing Suffolk in four of them.
UNH welcomes four new players to the team in freshman Logan Mortenson, Frank Okeke and Chris Orozco. Also new to the team is Matt Miller, a junior transfer from Seton Hill. Miller will not be able to play this season due to NCAA transfer regulations.
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