Men’s Basketball: NU clinches tournament spot

Men’s Basketball: NU clinches tournament spot

After its first two-win road trip of the season, the stage is set for the Northeastern men’s basketball team in their its Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament.

The Huskies, currently riding a four-game winning streak, beat Delaware, 80-66, and Towson, 86-70, to remain the No. 5 seed for the tournament. Despite not earning a top-four seed and the first round bye that comes with it, the Huskies play No. 12 James Madison on Friday, a team they’ve bested twice this season. However, the tournament takes place in Richmond, Va. about a two-hour drive from JMU’s campus.

“That’s the scary part,” head coach Ron Everhart said. “You’d like to think it’s a neutral site, but it really isn’t.”

On Saturday, the Huskies were led by sophomore forward Shawn James, whose 23 points and 11 rebounds gave him his 10th double-double of the season. He also contributed six blocked shots.

Senior guard Jose Juan Barea contributed 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in his final regular season game, while fellow senior guard Aaron Davis recorded his 1,000th point hitting 4-of-12 shots from the floor and swiping two steals.

“[Davis] has paid his dues,” Everhart said. “I’ve always admired his toughness and willingness to play hurt.”

The Huskies had to rally from behind, as Towson held a two-point lead after the first half. A 21-12 run to start the second frame put the Huskies on top and their 54.2 percent shooting in the second helped them keep the lead.

Junior forward Bennet Davis also had a double-double for the Huskies, with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with two blocked shots. Junior guard Adrian Martinez hit 3-of-4 attempts from beyond the arc for nine points in just 16 minutes of action off the bench. Martinez has hit 55 percent of his three point attempts on Northeastern’s current four-game run.

On Thursday the Huskies almost witnessed two players record a triple-double in the same game, as Barea and James finished just three and two rebounds short, respectively.

“Both of those guys have been playing very well,” Everhart said. “Every game they both play well we win.”

Barea led the team with 26 points and 10 assists to go with his seven rebounds, while James dropped 15 points and turned back 10 shots to go with his team-high eight boards.

While James has four career triple-doubles, including two this season, Barea has never accomplished that feat. Thursday’s game was the closest he’s come since the Semifinals of last year’s America East tournament, when Barea scored 20 points, dished out 11 assists and pulled down eight rebounds.

Bennet Davis scored a career-high 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the floor while Janon Cole added seven points and six rebounds off the bench.

The Huskies led by just two points at the break, but used a 29-12 second half run to put the game out of reach. The win snaps a nine-game losing streak at Delaware for NU and clinched the No. 5 seed in the tourney for the Huskies.

If they win their matchup with JMU, the Huskies will advance to play Old Dominion, a team they almost bested on Jan. 7.

“ODU is one of those teams that we are dying to get a chance to play,” Everhart said. “After they beat us we talked about how we hoped we’d see them again because we thought we should have won that game.”

The Huskies fell 85-79 in their first meeting with ODU despite leading 42-29 at the half.

Their first game is at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.

Leave a Reply