Tchoukuiegno’s career night propels Wildcats beyond Central Connecticut State – The New Hampshire

WILDCATS 67, BLUE DEVILS 45

DURHAM, NH – The University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats (4-2, 0-0) stayed in the win column on Saturday night with a 67-45 win over the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (CCSU) (2-7, 0-0). They’re an unlikely pair of players who did the work for New Hampshire in this one. Senior big man Tayler Mattos started UNH early. But it was second-year point guard Blondeau Tchoukuiegno’s career-high 20 points that really put the Blue Devils to sleep on a night when CCSU played UNH tighter than the scoreboard might have read.

Outside of a 17-2 run late in the first half and a handful of buckets from Tchoukuiegno late in the second half, New Hampshire struggled to find a rhythm offensively. for most of the night. Head coach Bill Herrion and Tchoukuiegno mentioned how well-planned the CCSU game was for their star seniors, Jayden Martinez and Nick Guadarrama.

“They kind of surprised us because they were jostling each other in the position, and they were double or triple teaming with Jayden [Martinez] most of the time,” Tchoukuiegno explained. “We have to get used to that and play with it because Jayden and Nick [Guadarrama] are going to get a lot of attention all year round, so we have to adjust and play with that.

Tchoukuiengo was finally able to adapt to the Blue Devils defense, noting that the attention given by Martinez and Guadarrama helps the rest of the team to be open.

Tchoukuiegno finished the night with a career-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-for-6 from the 3-point line. He also added four rebounds, five assists and three steals to his line.

Eleven of the team’s last 13 points came from the point guard. He held Lundholm Gymnasium in the palm of his hand at the end of the night and handed CCSU its seventh loss before conference play even began. .

Three-point shooting was something Tchoukuiegno said he made an effort to improve in the offseason to expand his game instead of just being an enabler. Herrion has been impressed with his improved attacking play so far.

“As a head coach, you can probably count on a hand or two on the number of players you coach in your career who really understand,” Herrion said. “Every day he comes to the gym and he plays like [he did on Saturday]. I don’t need to push him, motivate him, he just brings it every day. He’s so coachable. He’s just awesome.

The Wildcats have proven their scoring depth in the starting lineup in six games. Tchoukuiegno’s backcourt partner, second Nick Johnson, added 13 points and six rebounds to the box score while Martinez notched his third double-double of the year with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Where Herrion is always looking for more production is from his second unit. The New Hampshire bench scored three combined points on Saturday; Graduate student Josh Hopkins was the only one to find the back of the net. The group was 1 for 14 from the field.

Two players in particular who have cooled off in the last three games are junior transfer Sloan Seymour and senior guard Qon Murphy. Seymour is 0 for 9 shooting from the field during that streak and shooting just 22% from 3-pointers on the year — an area he was considered a specialist in. Murphy hasn’t been quite as quiet but compared to his first three games of the season when he averaged 11.7 points, he has seen a slight drop in production. Murphy scored 2.7 points per game over that last three-game streak.

New Hampshire will have their fifth win of the season in mind when they travel to Bryant (3-6, 0-0) on Wednesday for a date with the Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. from Chace Athletic Center.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Yourell

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