MBB upends JMU, 80-67: improves to 3-1 in CAA

by Matthew MacCormack

BOSTON — For the second time in nine days, the Northeastern men’s basketball team defeated conference foe James Madison, this time with a 80-67 victory at Matthews Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Sophomore guard Shawn Occeus led all scorers with 18 points on 4-5 shooting from beyond the arc, and redshirt junior point guard Vasa Pusica just missed a double-double with a 12 point, nine assist effort. The Huskies (10-6) improved to 3-1 in Colonial Athletic Association play, and swept the season season against the Dukes (4-13, 0-4 CAA) after pulling of an 81-70 victory in  Harrisonburg, Va. on December 30.

The Huskies gave a masters-level lesson in sharing in the Sunday matinee. Northeastern tallied assists on 24 of their 29 made field goals, with Pusica and Occeus (5 assists) combining for more than half the helpers.

“That’s our style,” head coach Bill Coen said post-game.

“You know we’re playing healthy basketball when we’re sharing the ball at a high rate, and getting a high ratio in terms of assists to made field goals. Today was a prime example of that.”

Sophomore forward Max Boursiquot (13 points) and freshman center Thomas Murphy (10 points) joined Pusica and Occeus in double figures. Four different players hit at least a trio of three pointers, as the Huskies connected on 47% of their looks from three and 55% of their field goals overall.

Freshman Darius Banks led the Dukes with 16 points, and classmate Matt Lewis poured in 14 from the other guard spot. Redshirt junior guard Stuckey Mosley battled foul trouble all evening long, racking up just nine points despite entering the game as the CAA’s second-leading scorer with 20.7 points per contest.

Junior center Anthony Green played just four minutes in the game, and didn’t suit up for the second half. Coen said post-game that Green was dealing with a stomach bug, and shouldn’t miss more time moving forward.

The Huskies next face a road trip down to the Carolinas. NU will battle at College of Charleston (11-5, 2-2 CAA) on Thursday at 7 p.m. and then at UNC-Wilmington (4-12, 1-3 CAA).

“Another exciting week in the CAA,” Coen said.

Going up against some great opponents and outstanding coaches. We’re going to have our challenges down south.”

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