Men’s Basketball: Northeastern off to 1-5 start

Men’s Basketball: Northeastern off to 1-5 start

At 1-5 the men’s basketball team certainly doesn’t have a winning record. But with the first six games of the season played in a 10-day span and two matches against nationally- ranked opponents, 1-5 is just where the Huskies should be.

Northeastern kicked off the season at No. 18 Syracuse in front of more than 19,000 Orange fans Nov. 15.

“That was one of the best experiences of my college career,” said senior co-captain Bobby Kelly. “To play in front of that many fans and when we went up they were silenced. They were completely surprised.”

The Huskies didn’t seem intimidated, racing out to a 22-7 lead capped by a four-point play by senior co-captain Adrian Martinez at 15:48. But Syracuse went on a 9-0 run after a timeout by head coach Jim Boeheim to take the lead. After shooting 43.8 percent from the field in the first half, the Huskies settled to just 29.6 percent in the second half, dropping the season-opener 81-58.

Freshman forward Matt Janning led the Huskies with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting in his collegiate debut.

Just two days later, Northeastern took on its second Big East opponent as they faced off against No. 4 Pittsburgh in the first of three games at the First Commonwealth Colonial Basketball Classic in Pittsburgh. Senior Big East Preseason Player of the Year Aaron Gray put up 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Panthers in a 78-52 win over Northeastern.

“Against Syracuse we played against one of the top zone defenses in the country and Pitt is one of the best man defenses,” Kelly said. “Playing them early in the season will make us better against CAA teams. We have already faced the best.”

On Saturday the Huskies battled Oakland, falling 67-52 despite a 21-point night from senior co-captain Bennet Davis. Kelly posted 18 points for Northeastern.

The Huskies stayed within five points of Oakland for the first 12 minutes of play and came within one at 17-16 on a jumper from Davis. Oakland went on a 7-0 run to extend their lead by 11 points.

Down by as much as 14 in the second half, the Huskies attempted one last comeback behind two triples from Kelly and one from Janning to cut the lead to four before the Grizzlies put the game out of reach.

In their fourth game in five days the Huskies took on Massachusetts for the final game of the tournament. The Minutemen handed Northeastern a 79-56 loss to drop the Huskies’ record to 0-4. Davis’ 18 point performance earned him a spot on the All-Tournament Team.

Back on their home court the Huskies got their first win of the season Nov. 21 over cross-city rival Boston University.

Martinez racked up a career-high 21 points with 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range and Davis posted a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Janning continued his impressive freshman campaign with 16 points and three assists.

“[Janning] has done a lot so far this season.” Kelly said. “He has contributed right away. As a young team we needed someone to step up right away and he really has done that for us.”

The Huskies sent the Terriers home with a 73-54 loss.

In the final match-up of the grueling start to the season, the Huskies headed to Rider to take on the Broncs.

With 1:03 left in the game, a layup from Martinez followed by a Broncs turnover that freshman forward Manny Adako converted on a short-range hook shot gave the Huskies the lead. But Rider senior Terrance Mouton laid in a basket with five seconds remaining to hold off the Huskies 10-point comeback and win the game 70-69.

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