Bill Herrion began his 14th season as the Head Coach of the UNH Men’s Basketball team, and his 28th overall season as a head coach on Tuesday night. This season is different than any other he’s experienced.
“This is the first time I’ve gone into a season with a lot of unknown,” he said.
With the loss of key seniors, most notably UNH’s all-time leading scorer Tanner Leissner, there are a lot of minutes up for grabs on this team.
UNH defeated Division III Rivier University 108-54 in their season opener on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats were much bigger than the Raiders and that showed up in the box score.
The ‘Cats outrebounded their opponent 53-22 and were able to dominate the boards all night long.
This advantage allowed UNH to get multiple shots off as they recorded 18 offensive rebounds over the course of the game.
UNH shot an impressive 60.3 percent from the field, and 44.8 from deep.
The Wildcats didn’t waste any time early on, jumping out to a huge 26-2 lead in the first nine minutes and 30 seconds of the game.
This run included impressive play from both the Wildcats starting lineup and their bench.
UNH’s depth shined bright all throughout the game.
First-year guard Marque Maultsby, sporting a protective face-mask to protect a broken nose he suffered last week in practice, closed the first half by attacking the Rivier defense and finishing strong with a right-handed layup which increased the Wildcat lead to 52-18 at the break.
Maultsby was not the only first-year player to shine for the ‘Cats.
First-year forward Jayden Martinez was impressive in his first career collegiate game. Martinez ended up leading the team in points with 15, while shooting an efficient seven of nine from the field and one of two from three.
The first-year forward had the play of the game, a monstrous dunk in transition over a Rivier defender late in the second half.
Martinez was the leader of a bench unit that impressed from start to finish. The reserves were responsible for 74 of UNH’s 108 total points.
“I have the belief that I can take and make shots,” said Nick Guadarrama, a first-year guard.
Guadarrama did a little bit of everything, finishing the game with 14 points, six rebounds, two steals, an assist and one block off the bench.
Coach Herrion was happy with the performance of his young players.
“We’re young. I think in time we could be a good basketball team… I think our young guys are good,” he said.
Other standouts including junior forward Luke Rosinki, who recorded his first career double-double. Rosinski finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench.
The Wildcats will travel down to Amherst to battle with UMass (1-0).
UMass defeated UMass Lowell 83-75 on Tuesday night and will be a much tougher test for the Wildcats.
The ‘Cats will look to carry their momentum from Tuesday night’s blowout win into their matchup with the Minutemen
Coach Herrion is focused on improving and figuring out his team’s strengths.
“I think each game is a learning process,” he said.