BOSTON — Coming off a
disappointing overtime loss to UNCW on Saturday, Northeastern returned to
Matthews Arena Thursday night badly needing a bounce-back win. They got it against
Drexel, soundly defeating the Dragons 85–52 in a game that was never in doubt.
Jordan Roland led the scoring charge for the Huskies as usual, netting 26
points in just 28 minutes of action.
From the jump, it was clear that it was going to be the Huskies’ night. Drexel (12–9, 5–3 CAA) got on the board first, but Northeastern (11–9, 5–3 CAA) reeled off 18 unanswered points keyed by several Roland jumpers. When the halftime buzzer sounded, Roland had scored as many points (17) as the entire Drexel team.
Bolden Brace also came up
big on offense, scoring 14 of his 17 points in the opening half and helping his
team push the lead to 32 points at the break. The senior swingman was coming
off arguably his most disappointing effort of the season against UNCW — he took
just one shot — and his impact was much needed.
“We got together as a team at the beginning of the week and talked about what we can be,” Brace said. “I know we were all disappointed with the results on Saturday.”
The second half was more of
the same, with Northeastern maintaining a lead of at least 30 while smothering
Drexel on defense. They forced Drexel’s best perimeter players, Camren Wynter
and Zach Walton, into a combined ten turnovers. Wynter, the conference’s fourth-leading
scorer, was limited to just six points on 3–12 shooting; Walton was scoreless.
“We challenged our guys to step it up on the defensive end,” Northeastern
head coach Bill Coen said. “I think they bought into that.”
The blowout win allowed
Coen to rest Roland, Brace, and some of his other starters for most of the
second half. The Huskies have a noon tip against Delaware on Saturday, making
that extra rest even more important. Michael Petillo and Milton Posner
will be on the call, with coverage beginning fifteen minutes before tipoff.
Saturday’s game is the
annual Coaches Against Cancer game; coaches will wear suits and sneakers in an
effort to raise awareness and money to fight cancer.
“I’m hoping everybody will come out and support us,” Coen implored. “For
every student that comes to the game on Saturday, I pledge a dollar to the
American Cancer Society. I hope they come out and cost me $5,000 because it’s a
great day to partner with our student body against this deadly enemy.”
CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Coming
off a pair of heartbreaking, buzzer-beating home defeats to William & Mary
and Hofstra, the Northeastern Huskies marched into TD Arena Thursday night
badly in need of a win. Against Grant Riller and the second-place College of
Charleston Cougars, snapping that two-game skid would be no small feat. But in
a wild back-and-forth contest the Huskies did just that, defeating the Cougars,
Jordan Roland was at his
sharpshooting best, starting strong and keeping Northeastern within striking
distance throughout a tumultuous first half. Over a stretch of four-and-a-half
minutes in the first frame, Charleston went on a 13–0 run capped by senior
forward Sam Miller’s third three pointer of the game. That brought the score to
35–21 in the Cougars’ favor.
But with just under five
minutes to go in the first half, Northeastern began clawing back and a Roland
layup trimmed the deficit to just two. Riller sparked a quick 5–0 Charleston response,
yielding a 43–36 Cougar halftime advantage.
The start of the second
half belonged to Charleston, with Riller leading the charge and extending the
margin to double digits. Once again, however, the Huskies refused to roll over,
with Roland dominating the scoring.
But Roland wasn’t the only
key to the win. Graduate transfer Guilien Smith came off the bench to guard
Riller in the second half and made an immediate impact. His quick feet and
energy disrupted Riller on multiple occasions and several of Riller’s seven
turnovers came when Smith was defending him.
just had fresh legs and the appropriate amount of aggressiveness,” Northeastern
head coach Bill Coen said. “And really kind of bothered him a little bit [with]
his athleticism and toughness.”
helped the Huskies get back into the game, but with the score tied at 72 and
barely 30 seconds to play, Northeastern turned to their star to deliver the
final blow. Roland used a Greg Eboigbodin screen to drive to his left, stepped
back, and buried a contested three. The shot silenced a raucous Charleston
crowd and Northeastern took the lead for good.
well on the road will make any coach happy, but this one was extra special.
talked about the losses,” Coen remarked. “Everybody was obviously frustrated
that we didn’t get the results we wanted, but we got back into the gym, guys
got recommitted to what we gotta do, work on the fundamentals, and get better .
. . it was just a complete, total team win. Proud of the guys.”
Roland finished with an efficient 33
points and tacked on four steals. Bolden Brace recorded his third double-double
of the year with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Riller paced the Cougars, finishing
with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists for the first triple-double in
Charleston history. That said, his mildly inefficient shooting and seven
turnovers caused some headaches for the Cougars. Miller’s six three-point makes
on seven tries netted him an uber-efficient 20 points, and Zep Jasper finished
moved Northeastern to 10–8 (4–2 CAA) and kept them tied with Drexel for fourth
place. Charleston has lost its last two games after a 5–0 start to conference
will look to pick up another conference win on Saturday when they travel to
UNCW. Coverage will begin at 6:45 PM EST with Michael Petillo and Matt Neiser
on the call.
Thursday night’s ending was a test of just how much déjà vu
the college basketball gods can cram into one play.
Just like Saturday, Northeastern faced a top-tier CAA
opponent at Matthews Arena. Once again, the Huskies overcame first-half
struggles, closed the deficit with hot second-half shooting, and tied the score
in the game’s waning minutes with a clutch three.
But, unbelievably, and again, their opponent’s elite senior
scorer caught a pass above the arc, drove left, and hit an athletic lefty layup
with tenths of a second left on the clock, leaving Northeastern to miss a halfcourt
heave as the buzzer sounded.
The only difference: tonight’s victor was Hofstra, not
William & Mary. The final assassin was Eli Pemberton, not Nathan Knight.
But the result was the same: a two-point loss to a top-notch CAA foe in a game
Northeastern arguably should have won. It was like finding out your friend has
an identical twin they never mentioned.
The Huskies fell to the Pride, 74–72, losing their second
straight game and dropping to 9–8 (3–2 CAA) and fourth place in the CAA.
Hofstra (13–5, 4–1 CAA) is third.
After the 66–64 loss to William & Mary on Saturday, the
Huskies were left wondering if a few things going right — namely Roland shooting
better — would have yielded a victory. Tonight’s first-half culprit was . . .
well, how much time do you have?
It began with turnovers. Northeastern surrendered the ball
11 times in the first half, seven of which were Hofstra steals. Forfeiting possession
that many times will always hurt your prospects, but the harm is amplified when
so many of the giveaways are live-ball turnovers. Though Hofstra didn’t eviscerate
the Huskies on points off turnovers or the fastbreak, the Pride benefitted from
the extra possessions, took more shots than Northeastern, and retained their
momentum for most of the first half.
Northeastern also repeatedly missed uncontested layups. Besides
the obvious loss of two points, each miss ended with the shooter underneath the
Husky basket, allowing Hofstra to push the ball in transition and attack Northeastern’s
defense before it was set.
Northeastern struggled in navigating Hofstra’s matchup zone,
a defense that combines zone and man principles, prioritizes switching, and
employs quick perimeter defenders. The Pride pressured Husky guards along both sidelines,
and the Huskies struggled to circumvent the traps with quick passes. Even when
the passes found their targets, their lack of accuracy and zip meant that Northeastern
couldn’t make Hofstra pay for doubling.
“Their matchup zone is not the typical zone; it’s not like you run your zone offense and you get [shots],” Northeastern head coach Bill Coen explained. “You have to be able to move, manipulate the defense to be able to create some openings, and understand their slides and their movements. It gets you guarding yourself a little bit and you get timid.”
Coen also remarked that his team’s “ball screen coverage was
very soft,” which allowed Hofstra to invade the lane and grab rebounds. The
Pride also took advantage by screening to spring shooters loose on
out-of-bounds plays, which netted several baskets.
Roland followed up his poor showing Saturday — seven points
on woeful three-for-14 shooting — with just three points on five shots in the
“I think I’m just gonna have to play better for us to be
able to win games,” Roland said, one of several similar comments he made after
the game. “If I played [well] for 40 minutes I feel like we win today.”
It was shocking to see Roland be so hard on himself. True,
he was absent in the first half save for one made three, one of many reasons
why the Huskies trailed by 16 at the break. But his second half was a fireworks
display. Roland posted 25 second-half points, splashing home seven of his nine
threes to key the Northeastern comeback. His final stat line — 28 points on 17
shots — was patently ridiculous, and his final three tied the game with 21
There’s no disputing that Roland’s play in the last six
weeks has been inconsistent from game to game, and even within games. But when knocks
down a few shots, when he finds his rhythm and finds his range, he has a gear
most college players can’t reach with a stepladder. It almost doesn’t matter
how far he is from the basket or how close the defender is to him; he will rain
down three-point fire from above and make opposing guards look foolish for
trying to defend him.
The other key Husky performer was Bolden Brace, whose 18-point, 10-rebound effort was easily one of his best games all year. In the first half, he became the 39th player in Northeastern history — and the second player this season — to reach the 1,000-point plateau. He was the only Husky who played well throughout the first half, repeatedly sliding into open space, making intelligent passes, and using his gravity to bend the Hofstra zone.
Tyson Walker, fresh off his second straight and fourth
overall CAA Rookie of the Year win, scored 10 points but made just five of his
15 shots. He did notch a couple of gorgeous layups, though, showing impressive driving
strength and body control for a six-foot, 162-pound player.
For Hofstra, it was Pemberton and Desure Buie, both senior guards, who led the way. The pair finished with similar stat lines — 20+ points, efficient shooting inside and out, and four rebounds — but Pemberton, courtesy of his game-winner, walked away the center of attention. He made the most of his time on national television, chatting with a CBS reporter as the Huskies trudged off the court. Isaac Kante also made his mark, logging 15 points, making all seven of his shots, and snagging 12 rebounds.
Buie’s efficiency has been remarkable this season, trailing
only Roland in shooting efficiency among CAA guards. He has been on fire in
conference play, and entered Thursday’s game fresh off a 44-point explosion
against Elon. His performance was expected. Pemberton’s was much more in doubt,
as his efficiency has been relatively low and his scoring inconsistent. But he
showed the Huskies why preseason expectations pegged him as the best player on
the conference’s best team.
“He just made a really, really athletic play to his left hand
off the glass,” Coen said. “We had a little bit of a sloppy closeout, he’s a
terrific athlete, and he’s been a very good player in this league for a long,
It’s hard to know where the Huskies stand after five
conference games. They won their first three conference games by 16, 16, and
nine points, then lost the next two on game-winners. They’ve seen stellar performances
and season-lows from Roland. They’ve protected the ball brilliantly — just five
turnovers against William & Mary — and tossed it around carelessly,
committing 11 first-half turnovers tonight. They were outrebounded cleanly by bottom-dwelling
Elon, then held their own down low against William & Mary’s twin tower
lineup of Knight and Andy Van Vliet.
Sometimes they’ve looked like a first-place team.
And sometimes they’ve been overpowered.
“We got two losses in this league by a total of four points,”
Coen lamented. “It’s not where we want to be, but we know we’re not that far
“What I do like about both these losses is the character of
this team. We got down in both games, came back, and narrowly missed salvaging
both games. It’s in these guys, they know it. The standard in this program has
been pretty high, it’s a championship-level standard, and their efforts and
expectations are the same.
“It’s all about where the teachable moments are . . . and
getting to the point where these guys can learn from it and get better. I know
the desire is there.”
After Thursday’s games, there are three teams ahead of
Northeastern in the conference standings. They just lost to two of them in
heartbreaking fashion, making next Thursday’s game against the undefeated Charleston
Cougars all the more essential.
Losing will lower their overall and conference records to
.500, likely move them to the middle of the standings, and cast serious doubts on
the team’s ability to repeat as CAA champions. A win would prove their talent,
their execution, and their resilience after a pair of tough losses.
Michael Petillo and Matt Neiser will call that game, with
coverage beginning at 6:45 PM EST.
Entering Saturday’s games, three CAA men’s basketball teams boasted undefeated
records. Two of those teams, Northeastern and Charleston, were of no surprise
to most CAA followers. But you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who predicted
the third team would be where they are.
The William & Mary Tribe, with long-time head coach
Tony Shaver freshly fired and four of five starters from last year
transferring, were projected to finish seventh in the conference in the
preseason coaches and media poll. After an impressive non-conference run and a
2–0 start to the CAA slate — including a 27-point destruction of
preseason-favorite Hofstra — no one is picking them that low anymore.
Northeastern looked to leave a black mark on that résumé
while adding to their own as the two teams faced off in Matthews Arena Saturday
evening. In a back-and-forth affair that came right down to the final
possession, the Huskies — and Tyson Walker’s last-second half court heave —
came up just short as the Tribe came away with their second-straight statement
win over a conference heavyweight.
After a quick William & Mary (11–5, 3–0 CAA) burst to
begin the game, Northeastern (9–7, 3–1 CAA) found their groove and evened the
game at nine points apiece heading into the first media timeout. This theme
would persist for most of the first half, with the two sides trading runs.
Trailing 21–15 a little over halfway through the first frame, the Huskies went
on a 12–0 scoring spree to take a six-point lead.
Not to be
outdone, the Tribe answered with their own 12–0 burst to close the half,
spurred by seven points from seven-foot Wisconsin transfer Andy Van Vliet.
While Van Vliet scored 11 points in the first half,
his partner-in-crime on the low block — reigning All-CAA First Teamer Nathan
Knight — was relatively quiet, scoring just six points on two-for-five
Knight struggle, you may ask? Two words: Max Boursiquot. The 6’5”, 210-pound
redshirt junior gave up five inches and 25 pounds to Knight, but more than
matched the star forward’s strength. Boursiquot battled on the block all half,
keeping Knight in check and drawing a pair of fouls that kept Knight on the
bench for the final 5:32 of the frame. He got it done offensively as well,
pouring in a team-high eight points in the first half.
Husky head coach Bill Coen praised Boursiquot’s play,
saying, “Max is a strong, aggressive kid. He’s got a low center of gravity and
he’s a competitor. He’s not afraid to stick his nose in there, he’s not afraid
of contact. I thought he did an admirable job on him. It’s a tall task; Nathan
Knight could start for a lot of Power Five teams.”
The teams continued their tug-of-war in the second half,
with William & Mary taking advantage of their slight head start to keep
Northeastern at bay. A 14–2 Tribe run boosted their lead to 14 points,
threatening to blow the game wide open as they did against Hofstra.
Roland was struggling from the field and had just seven points, and it looked
like the Huskies were out of answers. Coen pulled Roland in favor of grad
transfer Guilien Smith, who has played sparingly this season.
“Guilien is an outstanding teammate. He’s one of the most
well-liked guys in our locker room, provides great energy every day in practice,”
Coen said of his decision. “We were a little flat. Nothing against Jordan, but
[Guilien plays] his position and I felt like we needed a spark, we needed to
change the energy on the floor.”
The move paid off, and the Huskies went on a 21–7 run over
the next eight minutes to tie the game at 64. The largest contributor was
Shaquille Walters, who scored 12 of those 21 points, including an and-one layup
with 13 seconds left to even the score and send Matthews Arena into a frenzy.
After running the clock down to five seconds and taking a
timeout, William & Mary gave the ball to Nathan Knight looking for the
game-winner. After losing the ball on a drive to the hoop, Knight regained
control, rose up, and nailed a tough, contested layup to take the lead with
just over a second left.
Northeastern had to inbound the ball from full court, and Walker’s
65-foot heave hit both the front and back of the rim, but wouldn’t fall as the
Tribe escaped with the 66–64 victory.
Walters and Bolden Brace scored 15 points each to lead the
Huskies, combining for 14 rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Roland tied
his season low with seven points (3–14 FG, 1–5 3FG) and, for the first time all
season, ceded his position as the CAA’s top scorer. He now trails Charleston’s
Grant Riller, who scored 31 points against James Madison on Saturday and is
averaging 26 points across four conference games.
Knight recorded his nation-leading 12th double-double,
finishing with 23 points and 11 boards to lead all players in both categories.
Van Vliet chipped in 15 points and six rebounds of his own.
“It’s tough to say that you’re happy when they shoot 55
percent from the floor, but we generated 17 turnovers and we had to be in a
scramble mode because they had such a size advantage on us,” Coen said. “We had
to give help in the post, so we were constantly rotating. Those situations
either generated turnovers and runouts for us or baskets for them. They shot
the ball well from three, their high–low post attack is very effective, and
Nathan Knight’s a special player. He’s without a doubt one of the top five
players in our league.”
The Huskies will face more stiff competition when they play
the Hofstra Pride on Thursday. WRBB will call the game, with coverage beginning
at 7:45 PM EST.
BOSTON — On December 31, 13 hours before the clock hit midnight and the year reset, Tyson Walker was named CAA Rookie of the Week for the third time this season; no other player has won it more than once. The main reason the league cited was his scoring; Walker notched a combined 32 points in the Huskies’ double-digit wins over Towson and James Madison on Saturday and Monday.
But apparently three awards weren’t enough. Tyson Walker
wants a fourth.
Think 32 points in two games isn’t impressive? How about 32
in one game? Walker’s performance — remarkable for anyone but astonishing for a
freshman — buoyed Northeastern throughout a 77–68 victory over the Phoenix. It
was the fourth straight win for Northeastern (9–6) and their third straight to
begin conference play.
“He’s got the ability to score the ball. He’s got the
ability to distribute the ball,” Northeastern head coach Bill Coen said. “He’s
got great feel, he’s got great confidence, and he’s got great presence.
“The hardest position in college basketball to transition
into is the point guard position. You’re growing into your own game, trying to
get a feel for how the coaches would like you to play, get a feel for how your
teammates play. But Tyson has been unbelievable. It’s been a seamless
transition to the position.”
Much of the offensive success that Walker and the Huskies
found could be attributed to Elon’s strategy of — or, at the very least, resignation
to — switching on Northeastern’s ball screens.
“When they kept switching,” Walker remarked, “and it was a
mismatch where the big man’s guarding me, I recognize that I’m pretty fast and
it’s hard to guard me.”
“It gets teams to slow down their pace,” Coen added. “Tyson’s
a hard guy to switch on. A lot of teams have tried it, but he’s able — with his
quickness — to get to the rim and use his shooting ability to create shots from
In case his driving layups weren’t sufficient, Walker also
splashed home four of his seven three-point attempts, raising his season three-point
mark to a blazing 46 percent.
Walker was aided by Northeastern’s constant offensive activity.
Players moved well without the ball, cutting to the basket and popping into
open perimeter space. When a player completed an action, be it a dribble, pass,
or screen, he immediately looked for the next one. Particularly essential was 6’5”
Max Boursiquot, who started his fifth consecutive game as an undersized center.
His effort has boosted the Huskies’ inside presence and floor balance in the
absence of injured forward Tomas Murphy, who Coen confirmed has not been
cleared to return to practice.
“When we gang-rebound it really helps our transition game,”
Coen explained. “Max can really run the floor; he can rebound and run and push
the ball. So it makes us a little bit more deadly in transition. Obviously we
give away a little bit of size and girth down underneath, but Max is a tough,
physical competitor and he’s battled through that.”
Elon jumped out to a 10–2 lead before Northeastern’s
shooters found their rhythm. The teams traded buckets — yielding eight lead
changes and four ties — until Walker got hot, with Elon’s last lead of the
evening coming with 7:21 to play in the first half.
Walker had 14 points at halftime, then dropped another eight
in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the second half. When Walker went to the
bench and the Phoenix made a run, Jordan Roland was there to slow them down
with a series of midrange jumpers. Roland finished with 17 points and four
But when Elon closed the gap down the stretch, even trimming
the lead to two points three separate times in the game’s waning minutes, it
was Walker who held them at bay.
The Phoenix (4–11, 0–2 CAA), who have struggled all year
after graduating or losing last year’s top five scorers, were led by freshman
guard Hunter McIntosh and grad transfer guard Marcus Sheffield II. Both scored
17 points, though McIntosh was markedly more efficient, making six of his 11
shots and four of his six triples. Freshman guard Hunter Woods contributed 12
points and eight assists.
The Huskies were extremely disciplined, committing a season-low
five turnovers and scoring 15 points off 11 Elon giveaways; nine of the 11 came
off Northeastern steals. Though Walker’s superhuman scoring allowed the Huskies
to weather it, they did lose the rebounding battle, 37–24, to a team that
entered the game with the conference’s worst rebounding margin. The Phoenix pulled
down nine offensive rebounds to the Huskies’ two and scored 14 second-chance
points to the Huskies’ three. Things worked out against Elon, but such a
deficit could prove more costly against a great rebounding team like William
Northeastern closed the 2019 calendar year with a win on
Monday at James Madison, then opened 2020 with a win at home. After a sporadic
start to the season leading to a 6–6 record in non-conference play, the Huskies
appear to have hit their stride.
“We’ve gained valuable experience,” Coen observed. “Tyson’s
not the same player he was [in the season opener] at BU. He’s grown. Shaq had a
whole year off; now he’s 15 games into it and getting a little bit of rhythm.
Max was out with an injury for a year; he’s getting a rhythm. Greg was out for
a whole year. It takes time to blend in those new pieces.”
The Huskies will remain in Boston awaiting the William &
Mary Tribe, who will visit Matthews Arena on Saturday afternoon. WRBB will call
the game, with coverage beginning at 3:45 EST. It will be the Huskies’ first
major test in conference play, but the Huskies are up to the challenge,
especially if Walker can carry Thursday night’s momentum into Saturday’s
“We’ve had a lot of really good point guards here,” Coen
said. “I think Tyson, when everything’s said and done, will be one of the best
ones we’ve had.”
Many of Northeastern’s wins this season have resulted from a
wave of improbable Jordan Roland shots. The senior guard has shown out this
season, his long-distance bombs guiding the Husky offense.
On Saturday afternoon, a squad hailing from Roland’s old
conference arrived at Matthews Arena to battle the Huskies. Roland stood a good
chance of winning the senior guard battle over Jon Axel Gudmundsson, whose
sporadic play this season is a far cry from his dominance last year.
But Gudmundsson rediscovered the play that garnered him the 2018–19
Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Award, dropping 28 points on just 12 shots and
adding seven rebounds and four assists. He paced his Davidson Wildcats to a
70–63 win over the Huskies in Northeastern’s last big test before the start of
conference play later this month.
Gudmundsson’s deadly onslaught and preposterous efficiency stemmed from his three-point shooting. His six makes on eight attempts were all the more remarkable considering many of them were shot from a no-rhythm standstill, under duress from Northeastern’s wing defenders, from several feet beyond the arc. After heavily riding Roland’s hot perimeter shooting hand early this season, the Huskies finally felt what it’s like to be on the other end.
“You never want to live with that,” Northeastern head coach
Bill Coen said after the game. “We want to make him put it down [on the floor]
a little better, our closeouts have to be better. But he was spaced pretty
“Stretching your help into the post or way out to 30 feet — when you shoot with range like that it makes it tough on the defense . . . he didn’t miss; so he’s got to help you out a little bit.”
Compounding Northeastern’s defensive to-do list was Davidson
big man Luka Brajkovic. The 6’10” sophomore stands five inches taller than Max
Boursiquot, who guarded him for most of the game.
“You could let him go one-on-one in the post or you could
try to bring somebody at him and hope that your rotation is better than his
ability to pass out of it,” Coen explained. “We did both and he was elite at
“In the first half I thought he did a great job getting the
ball out of the post, out of the double team. We were a little slow on our
rotation or closed out a little short and they didn’t miss any shots. We did a
little better job playing them one-on-one and tried to beat them to the spot
but he’s a good player and that’s what good players do.
“He plays with great poise and composure in the low post,
which is unique. He’s got the ability to score the ball with both hands and he’s
a very good passer. When you spread the floor with very good shooters and put
them around that level of a post player it’s tough to guard.”
Brajkovic finished with 14 points (7–11 FG), pulled down four rebounds, and dished out three assists. Junior guard Kellan Grady, who entered the game averaging a team-leading 17 points, was quiet for most of the game. Though his seven rebounds tied Gudmundsson for the team lead, he never quite found his shot, missing nine of his 13 shots and finishing with just nine points. Some of the misses are a credit to Northeastern’s interior defense, others were makeable shots that caromed, slid, or dripped off the rim.
Despite the blend of rebounding, shooting, and time
management errors that doomed Northeastern down the stretch, the Huskies played
a solid game. Roland, who entered the contest as the nation’s second leader
scorer behind Marquette guard Markus Howard, logged 24 points and five rebounds.
Though his two-for-six effort from three-point range was pedestrian by his
standards, his six-for-seven mark on two-pointers ensured a high offensive
Senior forward Bolden Brace hit two clutch threes but missed
the other five he took. Most of the shots were quality looks, and given that
Brace has made about half of his threes this season, Coen was understandably
unconcerned with the open misses.
“Bo’s going to end up top-five in three-pointers made,” Coen
said, referring to Brace’s place on Northeastern’s all-time list. “It’s going
to come and go. For whatever reason he missed his shots, but I’ll take Bolden
Brace with his feet set from three any day of the week. I think most opposing
coaches don’t feel too comfortable if he’s got his feet set.”
Shaq Walters and Tyson Walker joined Roland in double
figures, with each netting 11 points. Walters added five rebounds and two assists,
and — a couple of airballed jumpshots notwithstanding — played a productive,
energetic game. He even showed off some new moves.
Walker tacked on five assists and tallied 36 minutes despite
being sent to the bench twice after hard body-check fouls from Davidson big men.
Two of his assists yielded dunks, including a gorgeous transition feed to
Walters for a one-handed spike.
Despite entering the game shooting a substandard 33 percent
from downtown, the Wildcats won the game on the perimeter, nailing two more
threes than the Huskies despite taking four fewer shots. Northeastern’s season-low
turnovers (none of which yielded fastbreak points for Davidson) helped them gain
momentum after halftime and tie the game. But Gudmundsson found the range again,
Brajkovic’s gravity re-opened the floor, and Northeastern had no answer.
Northeastern (5–5) has four remaining games in December, all
road games. After a weeklong rest, they will fly to Michigan for tilts against
Eastern Michigan (December 17) and Detroit Mercy (December 19). After another break,
they begin conference play against Towson (December 28) and James Madison
WRBB will not broadcast those games, but will upload game
stories to the website. On December 27, the day before Northeastern opens CAA
play, the site will feature a breakdown of the Huskies’ CAA opponents, including
rankings and analysis of their non-conference performance and what to expect
Jordan Roland tallied 28
points and the Northeastern Huskies defended home court against the Maine Black
Bears, winning 78–63 on Wednesday night. Roland notched his 1,000th
career point while leading the Huskies to their second consecutive win.
Northeastern (5–4) started
slowly, committing turnovers on each of their first three possessions before a
Roland three broke the ice.
The Huskies outplayed Maine
(2–6) for most of the first half, getting scoring bursts from freshman Tyson
Walker and redshirt sophomore Jason Strong to maintain a solid margin for most
of the period. The Black Bears moved the ball well, however, keeping the game
close by beating the Northeastern defense on several backdoor cuts for easy
Northeastern coach Bill
Coen made the necessary adjustments at halftime to slow the Maine attack. The
Huskies built a double-digit lead and held it for most of the second half.
“I thought it was just
a bigger commitment to our original game plan. We did it better and with more
urgency in the second half,” Coen said.
Northeastern turned up
their defensive intensity, turning 16 Maine turnovers into 22 points. Walker
and Bolden Brace paced the team with four steals each.
Maine mounted a comeback with
around eight minutes to play, but Northeastern consistently answered, usually
thanks to Strong, Walker, or Roland, whose last two free throws put him into
the 1,000-point scoring club. The feat is remarkable considering Roland spent
his first two years coming off the bench for George Washington, scoring less than
300 points. He is now 39th on Northeastern’s all-time list.
was as reserved and humble as ever following his big performance.
“Obviously it feels good, it’s a milestone, but I feel like it’s not
something I’m super concerned with,” he said. “We’re trying to win a CAA
Championship this year and that’s the main thing that I’m really focused
Northeastern returns to
action at Matthews Arena this Saturday against Davidson, where they’ll try to
extend their winning streak to three games. Milton Posner and Mack Krell will
be on the call, with coverage beginning at 3:45 PM EST.
WORCESTER, MA — From 1096 to 1271, the Roman
Catholic Church waged a series of wars against Muslim powers in the eastern
Mediterranean. Though the Crusades arguably increased Christianity’s reach, the
Church’s wealth, and the Pope’s power, the Crusaders repeatedly failed in their
main goal of retaking the Holy Land.
Tuesday night, in a conflict with far lesser stakes, the Northeastern Huskies
rode into Worcester to battle the Holy Cross Crusaders on the basketball court.
The modern Crusaders fared even worse than their namesake.
years of men’s basketball, Northeastern has never dominated like they did Tuesday
night. It was overwhelming. It was absurd. It was borderline unfair. They
eviscerated Holy Cross 101–44.
57-point margin of victory eclipsed the previous record of 56 set against Connecticut
in 1946 and equaled against Suffolk in 1984. It is the second school scoring
record the Huskies have broken in their last four games, with Jordan Roland’s
42-point masterpiece against Harvard on November 8 setting a new individual
Cross got the scoring going with a free throw two minutes in. It was their only
lead of the night, and it lasted for 15 seconds.
first field goal was a three-pointer five minutes in. It would be their last bucket
from downtown for 35 minutes.
Northeastern turned the first half into an unmitigated farce. They clogged the passing lanes, poked the ball away from incautious ballhandlers, and reaped the benefits with easy transition buckets down the other end. They pushed the pace on almost every possession whether they had stolen the ball or not, as they recognized early that the Crusaders couldn’t keep pace.
Roland, the nation’s leading scorer entering the game, played perhaps his best
basketball of the season in the first half. He dropped 21 points on 8-for-9
shooting and made all five of his threes. Almost every perimeter shot he took was
tightly contested, fading away, or both. He was in such a rhythm that he almost
shot from 30 feet while bringing the ball up. When a hard close forced him to
shovel the ball to a teammate, his wide grin matched the feeling he and every
fan in the arena had: it probably would have gone in.
Roland didn’t have as dominant a second half — he played just 27 minutes all
game in light of the Huskies’ enormous lead — he did hit the most unbelievable
shot in a game full of them. After a hesitation move forced his defender to run
into him near the foul line, Roland chucked the ball up. He was nearly parallel
to the floor, shooting with an awkward flailing motion, only because he thought
a foul would be called.
but Roland made it anyway. He finished with 28 points on 11-for-13 shooting,
including 6-of-7 from downtown. When he left the game for good with 12 minutes
remaining in the second half, he was one point shy of outscoring the Crusaders
is the centerpiece,” Northeastern head coach Bill Coen remarked. “I’m actually
shocked when he misses.”
Roland wasn’t dominating, Jason Strong was. The seldom-used forward contributed
17 minutes on a night when regular starting big man Tomas Murphy sat with an
ankle injury (Coen doesn’t expect the injury will sideline Murphy for long).
Strong nailed seven of his eight shots — including all four threes — and
finished with a career-high 18 points and six rebounds. His textbook, upright
shooting form was on full display.
think he’s been a little bit frustrated at times early on,” Coen said of
Strong. “But he attacked practice this week. That’s the type of player he can
be. He might be our second-best shooter [after Roland].”
Northeastern had opened up a 63–23 lead. Coen typically waits to empty his
bench until the closing minutes of a blowout, when his lead is secure beyond
any reasonable doubt. By the end of the first half, all 11 Huskies that dressed
to play had seen the court. Strong, Quirin Emanga, Vito Cubrilo, and Guilien
Smith — who entered tonight’s contest with a combined 13 minutes of playing
time this season — played 53 combined minutes tonight.
an opportunity for us to go deeper in the bench,” Coen observed. “We’re going
to need that later on in the season, certainly in the tournament down in
shot a ludicrous 71 percent from the floor — and 75 percent from three — in the
first half. Some of the threes were difficult, contested shots that went in
anyway, but many of them were open shots earned through crisp passing, strong ball
screens, movement off the ball, and a nearly constant transition pace.
you’re catching the ball in rhythm, [you get] much better shots,” Coen said. “We
shared the ball at a high level tonight, and I think that set the tone. That
type of passing got contagious, and then the basket got real big for us.”
42–24 rebounding edge makes sense in light of Holy Cross’s abysmal shooting (17–57
FG, 2–27 3FG). It’s easier to get rebounds when the other team is bricking most
of their shots. But Northeastern’s 11–9 offensive rebounding edge is nothing
short of remarkable considering they had so few opportunities to get them. Greg
Eboigbodin led the rebounding with eight, followed by Strong’s six. Emanga and Shaq
Walters both registered five-point, five-rebound games.
scored six efficient points, but his biggest contribution was his defense. He
played a season-high 25 minutes and committed one foul, a season low. His coverage
on Holy Cross’s ball screens — stepping up on good shooters, dropping back to
contain drivers, and hedging when appropriate — defended Northeastern’s
interior territory against the Crusaders and helped the Huskies build and
Walker, Myles Franklin, and Max Boursiqout all finished in double figures.
Walker stood out, earning 15 points with a series of drives.
shooting and rebounding, Northeastern won the battle of assists (23–7), steals
(13–7), fastbreak points (21–6), points in the paint (38–22), and points off
turnovers (24–6), among others. There were no individual bright spots for the
Crusaders; their four leading scorers combined for just 32 points and all of
them missed more shots than they made. Leading scorer Drew Lowder missed all
six of his three-point attempts in Holy Cross’s biggest home loss since they
started playing at the Hart Center in 1975.
The win bumped Northeastern to
3–2 on the year; the Crusaders are winless in four games. Northeastern will fly
to Fort Myers, Florida for the Gulf Coast Showcase, where they begin play
against South Alabama Monday at 11 AM ET.
Even though Northeastern entered
the game on a two-game skid, and even without the hot-handed Tomas Murphy, the
Huskies were expected to handle Holy Cross. They were not expected to bludgeon
them to this degree, in this manner.
The first half was a wonder,
when any Northeastern player could cast up a contested three with everyone in
the building assuming it would fall. The hot shooting, mixed with the volume of
turnovers the Husky defense forced, made it seem as though Northeastern was
making more shots than Holy Cross was taking. The game was a fastbreak and the
Huskies were running it.
It wasn’t suspenseful. It wasn’t
competitive. It bordered on being a joke. But, especially for the first 20
minutes, it was a sight to behold.
Old Dominion used strong
rebounding and defense to knock off Northeastern Saturday afternoon by a score
of 76–69. ODU outrebounded the Huskies 36–26 — including a 14–6 margin on the
offensive glass and an 11–3 second-chance points advantage — and pulled away
during the last few minutes of what was, for the most part, a close game.
Old Dominion’s length and
athleticism bothered Northeastern from the start, and the Monarchs jumped out
to an early 13–3 lead. Husky senior guard Jordan Roland began to find his
offense, scoring 18 of Northeastern’s 33 first-half points and trimming the Monarch
lead to six by halftime.
In the second half, the
Northeastern offense stagnated for long stretches, with no Husky stepping up as
a consistent scoring option behind Roland. For ODU, guard Xavier Green turned
on the offense with 18 of his 24 points coming in the second frame. The
redshirt junior seemed to get a key bucket every time Northeastern got within
Old Dominion’s aggressive
defensive style forced 18 Husky turnovers and yielded 16 fast break points for
the Monarchs, something Northeastern head coach Bill Coen lamented after the
“Usually when you play
contrasting styles, it’s the team that executes the best at what they do and
this is what they do,” he said. “We have to deal with aggressiveness. You can’t
leave the ball out in public property, you have to put it away and be strong
Roland finished with 29
points (10–19 FG, 6–10 3FG), and at 31 per game he still leads college
basketball. But while three Monarchs — Green, Jason Wade, and Malik Curry — finished
in double figures, no Husky joined Roland in that category. Same goes for their
scoring averages through four games; Bolden Brace is second on the team at 9.8
After two straight wins to open the season, the Huskies have dropped two straight. They conclude their opening stretch against Massachusetts teams Tuesday night against Holy Cross. Milton Posner and Matt Neiser will call the action, with coverage beginning at 6:45 PM ET.
night against BU, Northeastern senior guard Jordan Roland scored 39 points,
just shy of the school record of 41 held by Husky legends J.J. Barea and Reggie
Lewis. Northeastern needed every one of those points, as they edged BU out in
the closing seconds.
Tonight, the Harvard
Crimson, a team that has received votes in the AP Top 25 rankings, strolled
into Matthews Arena. The Jordan Roland Experience awaited them.
Roland dropped 42 spectacular points, setting a school record and leading the Huskies (2–0) to an 84–79 win over the Crimson in their home opener. Roland bumped his per game scoring average to 40.5, still the best in college basketball.
Roland got his offense going early, netting the Huskies’ first 11 points in an outburst that included three three-pointers. The Matthews Arena crowd was rocking as Northeastern leapt out to a 13–2 advantage within the game’s first four minutes. Roland’s hot hand was complemented by 10 first-half points from freshman point guard Tyson Walker, and Northeastern took a 44–27 lead into the halftime locker room.
The tide changed in the
second half as Harvard’s offense kicked into high gear. Sophomore guard Noah
Kirkwood and senior forward Chris Lewis led the charge for the Crimson (1–1),
who cut the Husky lead to as little as three points on two separate
Northeastern head coach Bill Coen said of the Crimson’s second half performance, “It looked for a while we were never gonna get a rebound. But, you gotta give them credit; they’re a good team, they’re an experienced team, they’re a tournament-tested team.”
But it was Roland’s night. Every
time Northeastern needed a key bucket to stop a Harvard run, they turned to
their budding superstar to make it happen. Roland dropped an efficient 23
points in the second half, and his most important bucket came with three minutes
remaining and his team clinging to a three-point advantage. After catching the
ball at the top of the key, Roland rose into his jump shot while being bumped
by Harvard guard Rio Haskett. Roland buried the three anyway. The Huskies
regained the momentum and rode out the last few minutes thanks to clutch free
throw shooting and ball security.
Roland was humble as ever
following his record-breaking night, saying of the record, “It means a lot. More importantly we got the win, but
breaking records obviously is something that feels kinda good.”
complimentary of Roland, saying “I can’t say enough about his approach in the
offseason. He’s been so professional and consistent every day — getting extra
shots, getting into the gym, taking care of his body, doing all the right
returns to action on Tuesday night at 7 PM against UMass Amherst.