Men’s Basketball: CAA road games continue to hurt Huskies

Men’s Basketball: CAA road games continue to hurt Huskies

The Northeastern men’s basketball team has shown throughout its inaugural season in the Colonial Athletic Association it has the talent to compete in its new league. However, as evidenced by this past week’s losses to Hofstra, 89-78, and Drexel, 83-47, the travel in the geographically diverse CAA is the biggest hurdle the Huskies will have to overcome if they hope to make a run at the conference title. The Huskies are 7-1 at home in CAA play, but just 2-5 on the road.

“There’s no question about it,” coach Ron Everhart said. “We have allowed the travel to affect us.”

On Saturday, the Huskies lost a tightly-contested match with the Hofstra Pride (18-4, 11-3 CAA). Despite trailing by just three points at the end of the first half, the Huskies couldn’t overcome Hofstra’s second chance opportunities and 51.4 percent second half shooting.

“The most telling stat I thought was offensive rebounds,” Everhart said. “Any time you give up that many second chances you’re gonna have a tough time winning.”

The Huskies were beaten 20-12 on the offensive glass.

Junior guard Adrian Martinez finished one point shy of his career-high with 17 points in 19 minutes off the bench. Senior guard Jose Juan Barea led the Huskies with 23 points and six assists, including an 8-for-8 mark from the foul line. Sophomore forward Shawn James blocked six shots and dropped 10 points in the losing effort.

“Its almost like it doesn’t matter who you play when you go on the road,” Everhart said. “It’s just another tough road outing.”

On Thursday, the Huskies were blown out by Drexel, 83-47. The Huskies shot 30.4 percent from the floor, their lowest mark of the season, while the Dragons, who had lost four straight, hit 47 percent of their field goal attempts, including 7-of-14 three-pointers.

“Drexel, without question, had the game of the season,” Everhart said. “They really shot the ball extremely well.”

Down early, the Huskies’ play got out of control and they dug a hole.

“Instead of being patient and trying to chip away and get back, our guys got impatient. So I benched everybody,” Everhart said. “I thought if we were going to play that undisciplined that we should give our other guys opportunities, which we did.”

Martinez and senior forward Janon Cole each played more than 20 minutes off the bench. Cole, who averages 22.7 minutes, pulled down 11 boards, while Martinez, who averages 15 minutes, added six points.

Despite the two-game skid, with just three conference games remaining the Huskies are still in the hunt for a first round bye in the CAA tournament.

“Right now, we’re right there,” Everhart said. “Obviously, we have to take care of our task at hand, but there’s a lot of basketball left to be played for everybody.”

The Huskies remaining slate does not include a team with a winning record, but the final two games are on the road against Towson and Delaware.

The Huskies welcome James Madison to Matthews Arena tonight at 7 p.m.

On Saturday the Huskies play Rider at 1 p.m. at Matthews Arena as part of the ESPN Bracket Buster. The game is the seniors’ last regular season home game and could be NU fans’ last chance to see Barea and his fellow seniors before they graduate.

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