Alosa, Drapeau and ’94-95 UNH men’s hoops team to be honored by school

  • The 1994-95 University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team photo. Merrimack Valley High graduate Scott Drapeau (No. 4, back row center) and Pembroke Academy’s Matt Alosa (No. 10, second row, third from right) starred on that team and helped it set the UNH record for wins with 19. The team is being honored Friday at UNH’s annual Gerry Friel Memorial Golf Tournament at the Links at Outlook in South Berwick, Maine. Courtesy

For the Monitor
Published: 9/25/2018 10:40:22 PM

They smashed the program record for wins and fans jammed Lundholm Gymnasium game after game to share in all the fun.

Nearly a quarter of a century ago, Matt Alosa and Scott Drapeau crossed the state from the Concord area and led the University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team to never-before-attained heights.

On Friday, current UNH men’s basketball coach Bill Herrion and his crew will honor the 1994-95 Wildcat team at the university’s annual Gerry Friel Memorial Golf Tournament at the Links at Outlook in South Berwick, Maine.

“I don’t know if the 1994-95 team ever got its just due and recognition for how good they really were,” Herrion said. “I think it’s long overdue to honor them. They really deserve to be honored.”

The ’94-95 Wildcats posted an overall record of 19-9 and went 11-5 in the North Atlantic Conference (now America East). That shattered the previous school records for wins, as no Wildcat squad had posted more than 16 in the previous 91 years of the program. That record was finally broken by Herrion’s 2015-16 and ’16-17 teams, which both won 20 games.

Herrion knew the 1994-95 team well. He was the head coach at Drexel at the time, where he coached future NBA player Malik Rose and developed his team into a powerhouse and North Atlantic Conference rival of New Hampshire.

“As an opposing coach, I knew how good that basketball team was,” Herrion said. “They got beat in the conference semifinal game, but it was a good enough team to win the league championship.”

Late that season, Drexel came to Durham for a game that was going to go a long way toward determining what team was going to win the top seed – and thus a home-court advantage – for the conference tournament.

“It was a real big game,” Herrion said. “I remember the teams were up in the gym shooting and I came up 45 minutes before the game and the place was packed to the rafters. Absolutely packed. You couldn’t put another person in Lundholm. I always remember that game from an enthusiasm standpoint.”

The ’Cats set an attendance record with 31,871 fans at 12 home games at Lundholm. Drapeau out of Merrimack Valley High School and Alosa out of Pembroke Academy were the driving forces behind the success and enthusiasm. They both scored over 600 points and finished as the top two scorers in the NAC. Drapeau broke his own single-season scoring record with 648 points (23.1 points per game), and Alosa averaged 22.3 ppg while setting UNH’s single-season record for made 3-pointers (87) and leading the NAC in free-throw percentage (.845).

Both players had transferred back to UNH: Drapeau from UMass and Alosa from Providence College and played two years in Durham, but they had only that 1994-95 season together.

“They were two big-time scorers and both were very, very hard to guard,” Herrion said. “If they were here four years, they both would have scored 2,000 points. That’s how good of careers they had. Drapeau was an inside-out big guy. He was big enough and physical enough and athletic enough to hurt you around the basket and he was talented and skilled enough to make threes. . . . Matt had deep, deep range with his three and was very, very good with the ball.”

There was a third local on the team, Concord’s Matt Smith, who was part of a talented supporting cast that included fellow in-staters such as Eric Montanari of Hudson and Ryan Gatchell of Epping, along with Doug Wilson, Ed Eusebio and Matt Acres. Montanari was the third player on the team to average in double figures at 11.9 points per game.

“I thought he was one of the biggest keys to the team,” Herrion said of Montanari. “He was a skilled four-man and a very smart player, a real glue guy.”

Herrion and Co. have honored former Wildcats in recent years at their golf tournament – Al McClain and Billy Pappas the first year and Wayne Morrison and Robin Dixon, then Keith Dickson and Danny Nolan the last two years.

Herrion is excited about honoring one of the greatest teams in program history this year and members of the team – including assistant coaches Whit Lesure and Paul Faison – are coming from around the country for the occasion.

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