On Saturday afternoon at Tsongas Center, The University of New Hampshire Wildcats (13-8, 5-3) snapped a three-game losing streak to the UMass Lowell River Hawks (15-6, 6-2) by an 89-73 score. The combination of senior Clarence Daniels (32 points, 12 rebounds) and Jaxson Baker (28 points, seven rebounds) was too much for the River Hawks to deal with. It also helped that UNH shot 51.9% from 3-point land (14-of-27). They lead America East in 3-point makes at 9.1 a game. For Daniels, who last Saturday, reached the 1,000-point milestone, this was his ninth double-double of the season, which is a team-high. The game featured six ties and 13 lead changes, all of them coming in the first half. The second twenty minutes belong to the Wildcats.
The first half was a back-and-forth half. Neither team had more than a four-point lead for the first 16+ minutes. Over the last 3:40, things started to change for the Wildcats. A 7-0 run over the final 1:40 seconds gave the Wildcats some breathing room as the team went to their locker room for halftime. Baker scored all seven points in this run. First, he knocked down a 3-point shot to give his team a five-point lead at 42-37. He added two more points at the free throw line courtesy of a technical foul called on River Hawks G/F Quinton Mincy (25 points on 11-of-20 shooting a career-high and the ninth straight double-figure game) for unsportsmanlike conduct. Baker then finished off the run by hitting two more FTs after being fouled by forward Max Brooks (14 points, nine rebounds). Baker’s run gave the Wildcats a 46-39 lead at the half.
The second half belonged to UNH. The 7-0 run to end the first half became a 12-4 run in the early stages of the second. The River Hawks were ranked second in the country in three-point percentage defense, but could not stop UNH’s long-range game. A 3-pointer from Trey Woodyard gave the Wildcats their first double-digit lead of the game at 51-39 with 18:52 left in the contest. The Wildcats were hitting shots from deep ao they turned the game into a 3-point shooting contest which did not favor the River Hawks. As head coach Pat Duquette said afterward “We are more of an inside-out team.” UNH was not going to allow that. Daniels would give his team their biggest leads of the game to that point. His three with 8:08 left in the game gave UNH a 15-point lead at 72-57. He would hit a couple of more jumpers to give his team a 17-point lead at 76-59. Then Baker knocked down another 3-ball (one of five in the game) and the lead was now 20 at 79-59 with 6:27 left in the game.
With 4:16 left, Baker hit his last long-range bomb to give UNH their biggest lead of the game at 87-66. From there the Wildcats ran out the clock and gave themselves their third road win of the conference schedule 89-73 over UMass Lowell.
After the game, Coach Duquette said “I am not overly concerned about the size of the loss.” He praised the Wildcats for having a great shooting night. As he said, “It was their night, not ours.” Both teams have reached the halfway mark of the conference schedule. For the Wildcats, they begin the second half on the road at Bryant next Thursday night. For the River Hawks, they will begin a three-game road trip at UMBC.
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