Men’s Basketball: Scoring spree sets off 4-1 start

Men’s Basketball: Scoring spree sets off 4-1 start

After starting the season with their best record since 1981-82, the Northeastern men’s basketball team suffered its first loss of the season Saturday night to California.

Despite All-Tournament performances from senior Jose Juan Barea and sophomore Shawn James, the Huskies fell 83-76 in the championship game of the 2005 Golden Bear Classic in Berkeley, Calif.

Barea scored 26 points and dished out nine assists while James dropped 22, pulled down nine boards and blocked six shots.

NU shot well from the field, 32-of-65, but went to the free throw line just twice on the night. The host Golden Bears, on the other hand, won the game from the charity stripe, converting 20 of 30 attempts, including a late first half rally in which they scored seven unanswered points on free throws to take a 35-34 lead into the break.

“I’ve been coaching for 11 years and I’ve never seen the numbers that lopsided,” coach Ron Everhart said. “I was very frustrated at the way the whistle was blowing at both ends.”

Despite the free throw differential, the Huskies were in the game the whole way.

“We still had our chances,” Everhart said. “The whole thing was we still had our opportunities to win the game. We had open shots.”

After a James block with 2:22 remaining and the Huskies trailing 78-76, the Huskies failed to convert on three consecutive putback opportunities and went 0-3 from behind the arc as time winded down.

“Our guys gave a great effort,” Everhart said. “I think we grew up as a basketball team.”

Saturday’s contest marked the fourth game this season in which the Huskies had three or more players score in double figures – Aaron Davis added 15 on 6-for-10 shooting, although he scored just two points in the second half.

“We’ve executed pretty well this year,” Everhart said. “We’re cutting harder, screening better and we’re getting better shots.”

Through five games the Huskies have four players averaging double-digit points per game.

Friday night turned into an historic one for the basketball program, as sophomore Shawn James, playing in just his 29th collegiate game, passed Husky legend Reggie Lewis for most career blocks, as Northeastern went on to beat Cal State Northridge in the opening round of the tournament, 102-81.

Originally, James was given only three blocks by the scorers, but after tournament officials and coaches reviewed the game tape, he was awarded an additional seven blocks, giving him 10 for the game and 162 overall. He added 14 points and eight rebounds in the winning effort.

“He’s been real good for us,” Everhart said. “I hope he continues to maintain that level of play.”

Junior Bobby Kelly led the way with a career-high 23 points, as the Huskies provided an extremely balanced attack, with five players scoring in double figures.

Barea, who currently leads the nation with 48 assists, scored 19 points and recorded nine assists, while Aaron Davis scored 12 points and senior Janon Cole added 14 in 28 minutes off the bench.

The Huskies, the 15th highest scoring team in the country with an average of 88.8 points per game, continued to shoot at a high percentage Nov. 25 when they trounced Division III Lasell 105-57 at Solomon Court, connecting on 42-of-66 field goal attempts.

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