By Zolan Kanno-Youngs
(Boston, Mass.) — The game was fast, baskets were traded often but the outcome was common as the Huskies lost to University of Alabama Birmingham, 74-69, pushing their losing streak to five games in the nation’s 26th hardest schedule.
“I thought it was a winning effort but we’re not getting the results were hoping for,” said coach Bill Coen after the Huskies’ record dropped to 2-7. “We’re learning a little more about ourselves, we’re competing against some of the best teams and programs in the nation. I mean this team is coming off a win against North Carolina.”
Coach Jerod Haase’s team upset the former No. 16 seeded UNC last week behind 25 points from junior Chad Frazier. Frazier was once again UAB’s highest scorer with 19 points and 6 rebounds. Senior guard Jordan Swing scored 14 points for the second consecutive year against Northeastern.
“That’s a darn good basketball team we played against,” Haase said. “I know their record isn’t what they want it to be but they’ve played a brutal schedule. I really believe their going to have a heck of a year. Maybe that helps me feel good too about the win.”
Junior guard Demetrius Pollard gave Coen nice backcourt production with 16 points. Sophomore guard David Walker also added 12 points and six assists. Red-shirt junior Scott Eatherton continued to dominate the paint with his seventh double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
“He’s the only guy in the country listed at 6’8’ who’s actually 6’8. Most guys are listed 6’8’ and are actually about 6’4’ so he’s a big strong kid,” Haase said. “He plays unbelievably big and has the ability to put the ball on the floor so he’s a big time match up problem.”
The Blazers got off to a high-paced start, securing a 14-6 lead through the first five minutes of the game. Answering his coach’s call to be more aggressive, Walker nailed a shot and followed it up with a steal on the other end leading to a made shot by junior forward Reggie Spencer. The plays sparked a 15-5 Northeastern run, tying the game up at 21-21.
“I thought we ran a little bit better particularly early in the game,” Coen said. “There’s a balance but I didn’t mind [the backcourt’s] aggression early, certainly when you’re trying to get going and get some confidence.”
Leading 31-30 at halftime, the Huskies came out of the break with a purpose, with a 15-7 run. However, UAB showed why they’re the best rebounding team in the country winning the battle of the boards 20-10 in the second half. Much of that was due to UAB captain Robert Williams playing well after senior Rod Rucker fouled out late in the second half. Williams recorded nine rebounds off the bench for the Blazers.
“He’s just a warrior out there,” Haase said. “All the guys respect him, they listen to him and a lot of times when we’re making a run in a game when it has to do with toughness and rebounding, he’s the one leading the charge and all the guys seem to feed off of that.”
Northeastern scored 23 points off UAB turnovers, keeping the Blazers at bay. The Huskies had just seven turnovers on the game, a season low. However, 11 second half points from both Frazier and senior center Fahro Alihodzic were more than enough to earn the win for the C-USA team.
“If things don’t go well you can do one of two things,” Coen said. “You can quit or try harder and these guys are committed to trying harder.”
Northeastern’s next game will be against Fairfield University on Dec. 15 at 1 p.m.
This article can also be found in the Huntington News and OneBidWonders.com.
Men’s basketball lost to UAB, 74-69, on Saturday night.
This montage was played at the beginning of the HETW Podcast posted earlier tonight. Technical difficulties caused the highlights to not be heard. Here is the correct version.
Take a listen, as Ryan and Craig talk about Northeastern’s exciting win in the Shillelagh Tournament and look to the Huskies’ game against Providence tomorrow as an important test.
Men’s basketball lost to the Crimson, 72-64, at Matthews Arena on Wednesday.
Men’s basketball lost to the Crimson, 72-64, in Matthews Arena on Wednesday.
The Northeastern Huskies rallied from a 2 goal, 2nd period deficit, for an upset win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the Shillelagh Tournament Championship this past weekend, in South Bend, IN.
The Huskies found themselves in the championship game after a 1-1 tie and a shootout victory against the Western Michigan Broncos on Friday night. Northeastern dominated play early, spending the bulk of its time in the offensive zone. Around the halfway mark of the first period, though, the Huskies began to get into some penalty trouble. They took 3 penalties in the remainder of the first period and 4 in the second period. These penalties clearly took the Huskies off their game, as they spent so much time trying to kill penalties and wearing their legs down. Fortunately for NU, they were able to take advantage of one of the Broncos’ penalties. The Huskies took a 1-0 lead right off the opening faceoff of the second period with a John Stevens power play goal, with help from some pretty passing by Kevin Roy and Braden Pimm.
By the third period, the Huskies were noticeably drained from the frequent special teams play. They only took one penalty in the period, but the Broncos made it hurt. Shane Berschbach put home a loose puck in the crease, tying the game with just less than 8 minutes to play. Neither team could score through regulation or overtime (despite Northeastern regaining a sense of urgency in the overtime period). The game officially went into the books as a tie, but a shootout was held to determine who would advance to the championship. Dalen Hedges scored on Northeastern’s first attempt and Clay Witt turned aside Western Michigan on all three attempts to secure the victory.
On Saturday, the Huskies faced off against the Fighting Irish in the championship game of the Irish-hosted tournament. Once again, the Huskies struggle on special teams. They allowed a power play goal from Shayne Taker at the 13:34 mark of the first period, giving the Irish a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Then, at 9:02 gone in the second period, Stephen John converted on a short-handed Notre Dame breakaway. It was the 4th short-handed goal allowed for NU this season. With the Huskies now trailing 2-0, head coach Jim Madigan called a timeout to settle down his team.
After the timeout, the Huskies were reenergized. Just three minutes later, Adam Reid created a turnover in the Fighting Irish’s defensive zone and found Torin Snydeman skating through the slot. Snydeman converted, putting it past Notre Dame goaltender Steven Summerhays, and cutting the lead in half.
The Huskies kept up the pressure and finally converted on the power play at the 10:01 mark of the third period. Kevin Roy found the puck in the slot, stick-handled his way past defenders, got Summerhays out of position, and then found Braden Pimm wide-open on the back door for the equalizer. Seven minutes later, with 2:42 left in regulation, Pimm won a battle for the puck down low in the Huskies’ offensive zone. He promptly found Dalen Hedges in the slot put it past Summerhays, giving the Huskies a 3-2, comeback win – and a trophy.
Clay Witt was fantastic all weekend, stopping 61 of 64 shots faced and earning All-Tournament honors. Witt is now ranked 6th in the nation with a 0.939 save percentage. Braden Pimm was awarded All-Tournament honors as well, posting a scoring line of 1-2-3 on the weekend. Kevin Roy had 3 assists on the weekend and, of course, Dalen Hedges had both game-winning scores in the tournament.
Obviously, this was a tremendous win for the Huskies. They’re still struggling on special teams (last in Hockey East in net special teams), but the way they dominated the last half of the game, scoring 3 unanswered goals against a team like Notre Dame, is very impressive. Especially after going down 2-0 on a short-handed goal allowed. Past Northeastern squads would have crumbled at that point, but this one did not give in. The Huskies are now ranked #19 by USCHO.com.
The Huskies have just two games left before the holidays. This Friday, they face off against the 4th-ranked Providence Friars at Matthews Arena, before traveling to Burlington to play the Vermont Catamounts on December 17th.