Men’s Basketball: Triple-double too much for VCU

Men’s Basketball: Triple-double too much for VCU

It’s about time.

After finishing within one block or rebound shy of a triple-double five times this season, sophomore forward Shawn James finally recorded his third career triple-double in a 79-74 win over visiting Virginia Commonwealth (15-6, 9-4 CAA) Saturday.

James, who has all three triple-doubles in school history to his credit, had posted 10 rebounds and 10 blocks to go with a career-high 26 points, shooting 10-of-13 from the floor.

“It feels good. I know a lot of times this year I was close, but I never got it,” James said. “Right now, I’m feeling real good.”

Without question, the win was the biggest of the season for the Huskies (13-8, 9-4 CAA), as it brings them to a third-place tie with VCU in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) standings, also giving them the tie-breaker.

“We needed this game,” senior guard Jose Juan Barea said. “We needed to beat a team that was better than us in the standings and we came out and we did it.”

Barea started the game slow, but turned it on in the second half, scoring 13 of his 22 points. His 9-of-10 mark from the foul line was crucial down the stretch.

“[Barea] is just a big money player,” coach Ron Everhart said. “When the game is on the line, he just always comes up huge; he just makes plays at the right times.”

While they didn’t play perfectly, the Huskies played their most complete game of the year, shooting 51.8 percent from the floor, while holding the Rams to 35.9 percent.

“I’m excited at the way our team is developing in practice,” Everhart said. “I think for us, moving into the Colonial and beating a team that’s in the top three is a real statement that our basketball team is getting better and that we’re progressing.”

Junior forward Bennett Davis had another solid performance on the glass, pulling in nine rebounds, and senior forward Janon Cole provided off the bench, scoring six points in 13 minutes.

“I’m proud of our basketball team,” Everhart said. “Without question, I think we saw, from both teams, some big-time performances out there with some very good players. All and all, I think we really executed well, especially down the stretch.”

For what seemed like the first time all season, the Huskies didn’t come out flat in the first 10 minutes of the second half. It’s a trend that had cost them in their four CAA losses, outscored by a collective margin of 84-66 in the first 10 minutes of the second in those games.

“We addressed that at halftime,” Everhart said. “We talked about getting a great warmup and really focusing defensively on every possession.”

Despite being outscored in the second half, the NU defense, and James in particular, was too much for the Rams to handle, Everhart said.

“[James] got some pretty huge blocks where we got out on the break and got some fast break layups,” he said. “I think that was pretty much the difference in the game.”

While James and Barea played impressive games, in a perfect world Northeastern’s offensive stat sheet would probably look more like it did after Thursday’s 84-69 win over William ‘ Mary (7-14, 2-10 CAA).

Barea led the balanced attack with 17 points and nine assists, finishing as one of five Huskies to score in double-digits.

James finished two blocks shy of a triple-double, with 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks, while Bennett Davis recorded his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The Huskies hit the road for another Thursday-Saturday road trip against Drexel (12-12, 6-7 CAA) and Hofstra (16-4, 9-3 CAA). Three of the Huskies’ four conference losses have come on the road this year, and the league as a whole has struggled in the second game of Thursday-Saturday road trips, with a league-wide record of 3-10.

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