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Men's Basketball: UNH hangs tough in loss to Longhorns

Special to the Union Leader

November 15. 2017 1:33AM

AUSTIN, Texas — Down by six late in the first half at the University of Texas, it looked like the New Hampshire men’s basketball team was doing enough to hang with the Longhorns. Instead the Longhorns scored 18 of the next 22 points to blow it open in the second half and rolled to a 78-60 win over the Wildcats.

The game was New Hampshire’s first Division I game of the season after opening the season against Division III Wheelock College on Friday in Durham.

“We were in a good spot late in the first half. It was a six-point game, and we had gotten back into the game,” UNH coach Bill Herrion said. “The zone really bothered us. Once they went to the 2-3 zone we did not react to it well.”

Texas had too much, especially on the inside. Texas outrebounded UNH 40-36 and had 38 points in the paint compared to just 14 by UNH. The Longhorns had four scorers in double digits, led by 17 points from Dylan Osetkowski. Texas’ biggest lead peaked at 22 points. Osetkowski also had a game-high 14 rebounds.

Despite taking the loss, the Wildcats did have much to like. UNH broke Texas’ fullcourt press regularly throughout the game and defended well at the perimeter all night. The Wildcats held Texas to just 7-for-24 shooting from beyond the arc.

“I think we’re definitely making strides forward as a team,” senior forward Tanner Leissner said. “We still have a lot of work to do and continue to have to move forward.”

The Wildcats looked their best early. Jacoby Armstrong had all 11 of his points in the first half. UNH went shot for shot with Texas in the first 15 minutes before Texas’ size and strength showed itself. Armstrong fouled out with eight minutes left in the second half.

Senior forward Iba Camara was a workhorse on the interior. Camara had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Leissner had a team-high 14 points for New Hampshire.

“Coach has been really helping us and getting us better,” Camara said. “He really challenged us today. I just had to step up and do what I could for my team.”

Freshman guard Elijah Jordan had eight points and junior guard Jordan Reed added six of his own.

The game was a homecoming for Lone Star State natives Armstrong, Leissner, Kijana Love and Reed.

Up next for UNH is a date with eighth-ranked Florida in Gainesville on Sunday.