Huskies end CAA slate with win at Drexel

by Matthew MacCormack

PHILADELPHIA — Drexel scored the opening points in Saturday afternoon’s matchup with the Northeastern men’s basketball team. Senior walk-on guard Kevin Doi hit a free-throw less than a minute into the game, and the Dragons led 1-0.

But the lead was short-lived — 64 seconds to be exact. After an early jumper from redshirt junior guard Jordan Roland that put the Huskies up 2-1 at the 18:56 mark in the second half, Northeastern (20-10, 14-4 CAA) never trailed again, cruising to a 90-66 victory at Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center.

Roland (game-high 26 points) led the way, and redshirt senior guard Vasa Pusica (21 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists) scored his 1,000th point as a Husky. With the win, Northeastern secured a second-straight 20-win season and it’s second consecutive 14-4 finish in conference play.

“Guys kind of knuckled up and got the job done,” said Northeastern head coach Bill Coen.

“It’s been kind of a crazy year with guys getting nicked up and everything but I’m really proud of the group and the way they hung together, particularly on this road trip.”

Senior guard Shawn Occeus (ankle) missed his ninth straight game, and sophomore forward Tomas Murphy (foot) missed his second straight.

Senior forward Anthony Green had 14 points and eight rebounds, and junior forward Bo Brace added six points and eight boards for Northeastern.

Drexel (13-18, 7-11 CAA) got a team-high 19 points and eight assists from freshman guard Cam Wynter. Junior forward Alihan Demir (14 points, 9 rebounds) and senior guard Trevor John (11 points) joined Wynter in double figures on Senior Day.

Roland came out firing, notching 16 of his 26 points in the opening frame, thanks to four first-half threes. The Huskies led by as many as 13 in the opening frame, but the Dragons mounted an 8-0 run to end the half, capped by a 55-foot buzzer beater from freshman guard Coltrane Washington that cut the score to 37-33.

“Our guys were disappointed,” Coen said.

“They felt like they let a comfortable lead go with the last minute and a half [of the first half]…The guys responded really, really well.”

The Huskies took control early in the second half, mounting a 19-0 run that turned a 41-37 lead with 16:45 remaining into a 60-37 advantage with 11:49 to go. Roland started the run with an and-1 layup, and Pusica contributed seven points in the stretch.

Pusica topped 1,000 points with a pair of free throws with 4:17 remaining.

The Huskies had already secured the two-seed in next week’s CAA Tournament. They will play the winner of Saturday’s play-in game between No. 7 Elon and No. 10 UNCW on Sunday at 6:00 p.m in the North Charleston Colosseum. Matt MacCormack, Justin Littman and Michael Petillo will have the call, with pregame coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m.

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