Seniors rise to occassion on Senior Night
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 02:03
Tempers flared and tensions grew in an infamous rivalry as the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (9-19, 5-11 in America East) narrowly defeated the University of Maine Black Bears (11-18, 6-10 in America East) 79-74 at the Lundholm Gymnasium on Sunday to cap off an emotional Senior Day Celebration. UNH honored five seniors Chris Matagrano, Ferg Myrick, Chandler Rhoads, Jeron Trotman and manager Matt Dario
In the 180th installment of the series, New Hampshire was slated as an underdog because Maine held a 115- 64 edge in previous matchups. Although on Senior Day, the veteran leadership of the Wildcats proved too much for a younger and less experienced Black Bear team.
The University of New Hampshire’s upperclassmen dominated the floor led by, player of the game, senior Ferg Myrick (27 points, seven rebounds) and senior Chandler Rhoads (13 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals).
“Congratulations to the seniors, who played like seniors,” UNH head coach Bill Herrion said. “This momentum entering the conference tournament will help us try to achieve our goal of an NCAA tournament appearance.”
The Wildcats opportunities stemmed from efficient shooting outside the arc (UNH shot 47.4 percent from 3-point-territory) combined with an impressive defensive performance in the first half holding Maine to 37.5 percent shooting.
As the defense slowed down for New Hampshire, sophomore Justin Edwards (29 points) and junior Alasdair Fraser (22 points, six rebounds, three steals) headed a Black Bear offense that seemed unstoppable.
Throughout the game momentum continued to shift as the score was tied 12 times and the lead changed 13 times.
Chandler Rhoads made the difference with a crucial 3-point shot to tie the game at 72 with two minutes left, which roused the ‘Cats defensively to hold of Maine and get to the foul line.
“That was a huge three, one of those shots that if he missed you wanted to tackle him, but if he makes it everybody loves him,” Myrick said. “But [Chandler] stepped up and made the shot to turn things our way.”
Looking towards the America East Tournament after a big win over a perennial rival, UNH will continue to rely on their seniors.
A key factor that the upperclassmen bring on and off the court is leadership and passion. Jeron Trotman can always be seen stirring his team mates, whether it is by taking a key charge, or with an emphatic block that brings the crowd to it’s feet.
“Jeron Trotman gives us terrific energy every game,” Herrion said.
New Hampshire will begin their tournament campaign this Saturday against Vermont in Albany, N.Y. The ‘Cats plan to lean on their experience and momentum to win the tournament and make an NCAA Tournament appearance.