Men’s Basketball: Promising start takes turn for worst

Men’s Basketball: Promising start takes turn for worst

The last time The Northeastern News went to press was Dec. 7.

That night the men’s basketball team demolished Towson, 89-67 for their first home victory in the Colonial Athletic Association. At the time, NU was scoring 88.4 points per game, fourth-best in the nation, and they were ranked 33 in the national Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).

At this point, it seems that was the high point for the season.

In the six games since Dec. 7, the Huskies went 1-5, including a four-game losing streak, the longest since Ron Everhart’s first year at the helm.

The bright side is the Huskies played half of those games on the road and only two of those losses came at the hands of conference opponents – Old Dominion and George Mason, the top two teams in the league.

In terms of overall national ranking, ODU is ranked No. 21 and George Mason is ranked No. 38, according to the RPI.

“I think we finally got our rhythm back,” Everhart said. “The only problem is we are playing some pretty tough teams.”

On Saturday, the Huskies dropped a close one to defending Colonial champion ODU in Norfolk, Va., 85-79.

Senior guard Jose Juan Barea continued to put up All-American numbers with 32 points and 10 assists, while junior forward Bennet Davis added 13 points and seven rebounds.

The Huskies showed in the first half they can play with the Monarchs, as they reeled off a 20-6 run to start the game and led by 16 points at the break, after shooting 55.2 percent from the floor in the first frame. However, the Monarchs outscored the Huskies 56-37 in the second half, helped by a 6-for-9 shooting effort from beyond the arc.

“Their [power forwards] really stretched us out and hit some big threes,” Everhart said. “But we got lazy on the transition defense and they got some easy baskets, too.”

Sophomore forward Shawn James, who leads the nation with 6.1 blocks per game, came within one block and one rebound of his third career triple-double, finishing with 12 points, nine boards and nine blocks. More importantly, James helped hold reigning CAA player of the year Alex Loughton to just seven points.

The difference maker for the Monarchs was senior guard Isaiah Hunter. After scoring just two points in the first half, ODU’s leading scorer broke out with 19 second-half points en route to a team-high 21 for the game.

“Give those guys a lot of credit, they played well,” Everhart said. “But we definitely did some things to beat ourselves.”

On Thursday, the Huskies put together an impressive performance against the other newest member of the CAA, Georgia State. Northeastern outscored the Panthers 46-25 in the second half on their way to an 89-63 win.

Barea had 26 points and 10 assists, while Davis had 16 points and six rebounds (four off the offensive glass).

Junior guard Adrian Martinez hit 3-of-5 three-point attempts, scoring 10 points in 19 minutes off the bench.

The Huskies play two conference home games, against Delaware Thursday at 7 p.m. and against Drexel Saturday at 1 p.m., before hitting the road again next week.

“In any league you have to hold your home court advantage,” Everhart said. “These next few games are very important to us.”

Thursday night’s matchup with Delaware will front two potential CAA Player of the Year candidates: Northeastern’s Barea and Delaware’s Harding Nana.

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