Men's Basketball: 'Cats hold off Binghamton as Herrion gets 400th winBy MICHAEL ABELSON
Special to the Union Leader
January 10. 2018 11:43PM
DURHAM — The University of New Hampshire men’s basketball bent but didn’t break as the Wildcats did what they had to do to beat Binghamton 71-67 at Lundholm Gym.
The win improves UNH to 6-11 overall and 2-1 in America East play.
The Wildcats led by as much as 12 and held out late as the Bearcats closed the gap to three in the game’s final minute. While there was one tie, the Wildcats never trailed.
“We’re getting better defensively,” UNH coach Bill Herrion said. We think our defense is getting better. Really proud of the kids. We’re playing good basketball. I think each game we’re becoming a better basketball team.”
New Hampshire dominated on the inside. UNH outrebounded Binghamton 46-26 including a 13-3 advantage on the offensive glass. The senior duo of Tanner Leissner and Iba Camara shined in the paint.
Leissner had a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds while Camara, who had been fighting foul trouble in recent games, had a huge double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Graduate student Jacoby Armstrong chipped in seven points and seven boards as well.
Leissner and Camara both made two free throws in the final 20 seconds to help secure the win.
“I’ve been watching a lot of film with coach and they’ve been helping me,” Camara said. “For me to be able to help the team I have to stay on the court. That’s what I have been focusing on.”
Another bright spot was sophomore guard John Ogwuche. Ogwuche had 11 points and a pair of assists in 33 minutes of action. He also was tasked with defending J.C. Show, Binghamton’s leading scorer. Show entered the game averaging 15.2 points a night but was held to just 12.
“John Ogwuche is getting better and better,” Herrion said. “We’re trying to sell him on being a defensive stopper. He was on SHow most of the game and did a great job on him.”
Binghamton was paced by a game-high 23 points from senior Willie Rodriguez, but UNH held him to just one field goal in the final 10 minutes.
The win was the 400th career victory for Bill Herrion. Herrion’s career has taken him to Drexel and East Carolina before coming to UNH in 2005. He made three consecutive NCAA tournaments at Drexel between 1994 and 1996. His Dragons beat Memphis in the first round of the 1996 tournament.
“This is my 28th year as a head coach and I’ve kind of been through it all,” Herrion said. “The game of basketball has given me and unbelievable opportunity and life to do something I love. It’s in my blood. The game of basketball has given me more than I have given the game of basketball.”
Up next for the Wildcats is a matinee on Monday at UMass-Lowell.