After an amazing offensive performance by the Huskies to get by Belmont, there was worry that the quick turnaround would hamper the young Huskies on their quest to win the Great Alaskan Shootout. Coach Coen was not worried, believing that having such a young team would help the Huskies recover for last night’s championship match against Charlotte. Unfortunately for Northeastern, that was not the case, as they faced the best defensive team in the Atlantic-10, a conference which many college basketball pundits have pegged as the best mid-major league in the NCAA’s this year.
Charlotte’s defense was very impressive early on, not allowing a field goal until sophomore Quincy Ford made a jump shot with eight minutes gone. Luckily for the Huskies, the 49ers are not known for their offense otherwise the lead may have been even larger. After that jumper by Ford it was only a 14-3 lead. Although the Huskies have made a living all year on slow starts and coming back just as the other team let’s up the gas, that was not the case last night. The 49ers made sure to control the tempo of the game. Head Coach Alan Major must know that his team has struggled offensively all year and to counteract that, he made sure his team got out in transition, with point guard’s Denzel Ingram and Pierria Henry leading the break, the 49ers never slowed down, and showed no signs of having played the night before as they rushed their offense up the court on the fast break to get some easy baskets. These easy baskets coupled with some great lockdown defense allowed the 49ers to head into the break up 30-19, the 19 points being the fewest the Huskies have scored in a half all year, the reason for this was the fact that as a team, Northeastern was only shooting 27% at the end of the half. Joel Smith led the way with 8 points but was shooting 3-10 from the field after being lights out against Belmont. He would finish the game with 19 but only shot 33% from the field on a large quantity of shots. Meanwhile, Terrence Williams was leading the way with 8 as well for the 49ers, which was one point away from being a career high.
Things turned around in the second half as they have all year for the Huskies, as they cut the 49er lead to 5 with 13:52 remaining on the back of some great inside out play by the freshman, David Walker, who finished with his career high 13 points on perfect shooting from behind the arc, as well as Dinko Marshavelski, who strung together his best four minutes of play all year, scoring some easy layups and forcing bad shots by the big men for the 49ers. However, right as things seemed to be turning for the Huskies, Charlotte responded by going on an 8-0 run to extend the lead back to double digits. Northeastern was able to keep the game close eventually cutting the lead to 6 on the back of some impressive team free throw shooting. However, the referees were not allowing anything to go as both teams were in the bonus with a little over seven minutes to go. One would think a free throw battle would favor the Huskies as Charlotte was last in the A-10 shooting just over 50% from the line, but credit has to be given to the 49ers as they ended up making 22 of 27 free throws down the stretch, effectively ending Northeastern’s come back bid. The game ended with Charlotte holding on 67-59, however there was some silver lining as the 40 points the Huskies scored in the second half was the most Charlotte had given up in a half all year.
Even though the Huskies were not able to win the elusive Shootout, it was a great learning experience for a team still missing their co-captain, Jon Lee. This tournament allowed freshmen Zach Stahl, Derrico Peck and David Walker with an opportunity to get meaningful minutes against strong opponents which should help when conference play starts up. At the end of the tournament both Quincy Ford and Joel Smith were named to the all-tournament team, and this team seems poised to challenge for the CAA crown.
Backed by the type of strong defensive effort that has come to define their season, the Huskies defeated Boston College, 1-0, in the first round of the 2012 NCAA DI Men’s Soccer Tournament. Northeastern advances to face UConn on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Head Coach Brian Ainscough post-game:
Want to know what’s on WRBB Sports this week? We’ve got you covered right here.
Tuesday, November 13
6:45 p.m. – Huskies Pre-Game
7:00 p.m. - Northeastern Basketball: Huskies vs. Princeton University
with Zolan Kanno-Youngs and David Kroopnick
from Jadwin Gymnasium
Thursday, November 15
7:00 p.m. – 2012 NCAA DI Men’s Soccer Tournament: Northeastern vs. Boston College
with Ben Horner and Brandon Challener
8:00 p.m. – Hockey East This Week
Due to WRBB’s coverage of the 2012 NCAA DI Men’s Soccer Tournament, Hockey East this Week has been preempted.
Friday, November 16
3:00 p.m. – Dog Pound Sports Sound
6:45 p.m. – Huskies Pre-Game
7:00 p.m. – Northeastern Hockey: Huskies at Providence College
with Ben Horner, Jack Thaler and Ryan Fallon
from Schneider Arena
Saturday, November 17
6:45 p.m. – Huskies Pre-Game
7:00 p.m. - Northeastern Basketball: Huskies vs. University of Vermont
with Brandon Challener, Coray Runge and David Kroopnick
from Matthews Arena
After claiming the first CAA Championship in program history, Northeastern will host Boston College on Thursday, November 16 in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Tournament. WRBB Sports will be at Parsons Field to call all the action, with kick-off set for 6 p.m.
Northeastern Athletic Director Peter Roby
Head Coach Brian Ainscough
Special thanks to Eoghan Kelly (@EoghanKelly), of The Huntington News, for the audio.
Last year: 14-17 Overall (9-9 CAA) 7th in the CAA, Lost to VCU in the CAA Quarterfinals.
What Happened: Northeastern was expected to improve on its bottom three finish from last year, which it was able to do. However, the Huskies were still below the top class in the CAA. They seemed poised to make some noise in-conference after a nice away win at St. John’s, but then proceeded to lose their next six games including a conference match up against Old Dominion. The Huskies were able to win five of their first seven conference games, but were only able to win three games against teams that finished better than they did.
- Kauri Black (F): He was one of Coen’s most valuable assets coming off the bench. He had been a staple on the team for the last two years and was one of the few big(er) men that could score for the Huskies. However, after being a starter most of 2010-11, his relegation to the bench was not something Black wanted as he opted for a transfer to Tulsa, where he’ll be a grad student and use his last year of eligibility.
- Alwayne Bigby (G): He started the majority of games last year for the Huskies, however Alwayne was only the team’s seventh leading scorer. Bigby’s career at Northeastern centers mostly on what could have been. After playing well in his freshman year, his sophomore year was marred by a season-ending injury. Last year was supposed to be his breakout year, but instead looked a step slow after returning from injury, which meant the lock-down defense he was supposed to supply was not quite there. He has moved on to URI for grad school where he’ll use his last year of eligibility after graduating from Northeastern.
- Jon Lee (G): He will expected to be the focal point of the team this year, even with news that an injury will keep him out as much as six weeks. The returning captain was selected to the All-CAA First Team this preseason as Lee looks to continue to build on his break out season last year. He led the Huskies in multiple categories last year including minutes, assists, points per game as well as posting the best 3PT %. He also led in turnovers, an area he’ll need to improve on if the Huskies want to challenge for those top three spots.
- Joel Smith (G): The other co-captain is also returning for his senior year and is hoping to provide Jon Lee some relief on offense, and will now have to be the main scorer while Lee recovers from his injury. Smith has started on the team for the past three years and knows Coen’s system better than anyone. He is expected to carry most of the leadership duties with Lee. Expect the Huskies to cause trouble when Smith can find his space and attempt the jump shots he’s so good at making. After averaging the worst FG% out of any starter, not including Alwayne Bigby, Smith will have to take better shots in order for the Huskies to succeed. Regardless, I expect Smith to come out strong in his final year, leading to his best year here at Northeastern.
- Quincy Ford (F): Finished second in rookie of the year voting for the CAA. Ford blossomed for Northeastern in the second half, and really did all he could from keeping NU from being eliminated by VCU in the quarterfinals by posting a double-double. Ford provided the Huskies with a third option if either Lee or Smith wasn’t playing well early on, but down the stretch he became a more consistent performer than Joel Smith. In order for the Huskies to contend for a top three finish, Ford needs to continue his rapid development, and concentrate on both his passing and defense. Having a freakishly long wingspan, Ford has the potential to disrupt the passing lanes leading to many fast break points for the Huskies.
Outlook: Another year together should allow the Huskies to mesh considerably better than last year. Since they are returning four of their five starters, the Huskies will automatically be expected to contend for a top 4 finish. This extra year allows younger players like Ford and Reggie Spencer to work out in a college environment, and have a better understanding of Coen’s expectations. Spencer, will need to have added some muscle in order to be real effective down low. Since this is Jon Lee and Joel Smith’s final year, expect both players to finish their career here on a strong note. I’m looking for Smith to start the season on a roll, because he knows this is his team to carry with Lee out for the first six weeks. Northeastern could turn some heads in the weakened CAA, and if they can sneak out some upsets, come tournament time the Huskies could be Tourney bound.
- Brandon Challener
Boston – Northeastern continued the impressive start to its 2012-2013 season with a surprising upset victory over the defending national champions in a packed Matthews Arena. For the second straight game, the Huskies jumped on their opponent early with two first period goals in the first eight minutes of the contest, coming from Ryan Belonger and Kevin Roy. Boston College cut the lead in half towards the end of the first period, scoring just 10 seconds into its first power play opportunity with a quick wrist shot from Steven Whitney. The second period remained scoreless as both teams benefited from tighter defensive play and solid goaltending. The atmosphere in Matthews Arena was electric with the Huskies up by one to begin the final period of play. Just under four minutes into the third frame, Matthews Arena exploded as Colton Saucerman sent a dancing slap shot from beyond the blue line that froze Parker Milner and found the back of the net. With the crowd and momentum in their favor, the Huskies dominated the majority of the play throughout the third period. The Eagles did their best to tie the game with a late flurry of offense, but were denied by a series of blocked shots and impressive saves from Chris Rawlings. The complete performance by the Huskies effectively ended the Eagles’ 19 game win streak and gave the Huskies their first 2-0 start since 1999.
Chris Rawlings – Had another solid outing in only his second win against the eagles in his four years at Northeastern. The senior goaltender was not tested too frequently with only eight shots a piece in the first two periods. Rawlings stood tall when he was needed most at the end of the game with a total of 15 saves in the third period. The late offensive push by the Eagles left Rawlings in the position to keep his team in the game and he did just that. He finished with 31 saves on the night and was a big reason the Huskies were able to hold the Eagles to under two goals for the first time since they shutout by UMass in January of last year.
The Freshmen continue to contribute. With all three goals coming from freshmen on the night, it is obvious that the success of this Husky squad will rely heavily on the contributions of its first year players. With goals scored by Ryan Belonger, Kevin Roy, and Colton Saucerman, along with impressive play from Cam Darcy, both the coaching staff and Northeastern faithful must be awfully excited about the future of their team.
Johnny Gaudreau was brilliant. He may not have been able to put the puck in the net, but that does not mean that he was not incredibly effective throughout the night. The former Northeastern commit consistently made difficult plays look effortless as he used his speed and vision to set up dangerous scoring chances for his teammates. Whether the Eagles were on the power play, penalty kill, or playing 5 on 5, the sophomore forward was able to generate quality scoring chances out of seemingly broken plays throughout the night. Despite the losing effort, Gaudreau’s talent was consistently on display and proved why he is considered one of the most talented players in the nation.
The Huskies are in unfamiliar territory beginning their 2012-2013 campaign with a 2-0 start. Northeastern has not been 2-0 since 1999. This year’s squad will attempt to avoid the same fate as their 1999 counter part that ended their season with a combined record of 11-20-3.
Last Year: 18-14 (12-6 CAA) 5th in the CAA, Lost to Old Dominion in the 2nd round of CAA tournament, Lost to Butler in first round of CBI.
What Happened: After a mediocre start to the season in which Delaware found no consistency in nonconference play, Coach Monte’ Ross’ team was able to turn it on in CAA play, specifically in February when they went 8-0. The Hens showed that they have the weapons to cause CAA teams problems as they set a record for CAA wins (12) and reached post-season play (CBI) for the first time since 2000.
- Khalid Lewis (G): While it’s worth noting Delaware is graduating two seniors in Samer Madarani (G), and Hakim McCullar (F), neither had significant roles in Coach Ross’ rotation. Lewis, on the other hand, started every game last season as a freshman for the Blue Hens, averaging 5.2 points and 1.9 assists in 29.6 minutes per game. The point guard, who was effective even with most of the touches going to former rookie of the year Devon Saddler, has transferred to the A10 as the newest member of La Salle.
- Devon Saddler (G): This junior is sure to be a player of the year contender. The former rookie of the year had another outstanding campaign last season averaging 18.8 points (second in the CAA) and 4.1 rebounds a game. The Maryland native has the speed to get by perimeter defenses and this season, his outside shot also dramatically improved. Selected to the 2nd team All-CAA.
- Jamelle Hagins (F): Another second team All-CAA selection and a rebounding machine. The big fellah averaged a double-double last season with 12.4 points and 11.1 rebounds a game. The senior will be the anchor of the Blue Hens defense as he ranks third in Delaware history with 117 career blocks.
- Jarvis Threatt: The Virginia native showed that he could adapt to CAA play quick through his rookie campaign. The guard provided scoring off the bench as he averaged the third most points per game on the team with 10.7 and he finished the end of the season on a tear, averaging 19.6 points a game.
With players like Saddler, Hagins, Threatt, and Kyle Anderson, Delaware has the weapons to cause teams problems. However, the only way they’ll be able to utilize those weapons is if they clean up their ball movement on offense. The Hens were ranked second to last as a team last year with 9.4 assists a game. Delaware’s best players all love to have the ball in their hands in order to make plays so Coach Ross will need to tweak his offense so that they all get their touches without sticking to isolation offense. Look for the Blue Hens to contend with Drexel and George Mason for the CAA title.
- Zolan Kanno-Youngs
Last year: 22-12 Overall (11-7 CAA) 7th in the CAA, Lost to George Mason in the CAA Tournament
What Happened: After losing the first three games they played in the World Vision Classic, the Panthers got incredibly hot and strung together 11 straight wins. Ron Hunter had the team turning heads especially when they beat VCU on the road. As the season progressed Georgia State began to cool off, going 7-6 in its last 13 games.
- Jihad Ali (G): Georgia State will be without its captain and second leading scorer from the 2011-2012 season, guard Jihad Ali. In his senior season Ali averaged a solid 12.5 points per game. He was third on the team in rebounding pulling in 6 rebounds per game and led the team in three point percentage (.365). Ali was a crucial piece of the Panther’s offense and earned a spot on the All-CAA Third Team.
- Eric Buckner (F): Georgia State also loses a player who has been touted as the best defensive player to ever sport a Panther uniform in Eric Buckner. Despite playing only two seasons Buckner holds a program record for career blocks with 167. He set a single-season school record with 118 blocked shots which was tops in the CAA and sixth most in the NCAA. His 118 blocks were also fifth most in CAA single-season history. Buckner finished the season shooting 62% from the floor, which was the best percentage in the CAA. Last season he earned All-CAA Defensive Team and Third Team selections.
- Devonta White (G): Devonta White returns to Georgia State after a solid sophomore campaign during which he lead his team in scoring with 12.9 PPG. White is a talented shooter who was first on the team in three-pointers made (54), FT-percentage (83) and was second in assists with 2.9 APG.
- Rashad Richardson (G): Rashad Richardson another junior guard played in all 34 games for the Panthers last season. His 40 made three-pointers were good enough to rank him third on the team. Richardson showed the potential to be able to take over games with lights-out shooting with performances knocking down 7 threes against Washington and Leading the team in scoring against FIU.
This Panthers team will be able to make some noise during the CAA regular season. Coming off a season where Ron Hunter surprised almost everyone with a team full of underclassman stringing together wins, it would be impossible to discount them. Unfortunately, due to the fact that Georgia State is leaving the CAA, this year’s team will not be allowed to compete in the postseason tournament. Expect this team to make some noise during the regular season as that is all they can do.
- David Kroopnick