Men’s Basketball: Northeastern drops sixth straight at VCU

Men’s Basketball: Northeastern drops sixth straight at VCU

Since New Year’s Eve the men’s basketball team has played four games. That is 160 minutes of fast-paced basketball in nine days, and the fatigue seems to be showing as the Huskies (3-12, 1-3 Colonial Athletic Association) have dropped six straight including a heartbreaker to Boston College 87-82 Dec. 31.

“Some of us are a little tired,” said senior co-captain Bobby Kelly. “But we are trained to play at this level and we’re in very good shape. We just aren’t putting in a 40-minute effort.”

Conte Forum welcomed head coach Bill Coen for the first time since he left his assistant coaching role at BC for Matthews Arena.

“Honestly it was an odd experience before the game,” Coen said. “Pre-game I got to see and catch up with a lot of people. Once the game started it was like every other game. It was our team and staff playing another team like every other game.”

Down 52-37 at halftime, the Huskies stormed back early in the second half behind the hot-shooting freshman guard Matt Janning. He put up a career-high 21 points, helping NU knot the game at 59.

The Eagles mounted mini runs, taking the lead twice before Northeastern battled back to a tie at 70. Over the next five minutes BC went on a 13-0 run to take an 83-70 lead.

Northeastern attempted one last comeback but ran out of time as the Eagles won the game 87-82.

“We play well but have these two or three-minute times when the other team goes on a run and we are forced to play catch-up,” Kelly said. “We are all aware we need to play 40 minutes and coach has talked about it. We don’t know what it is – maybe it is youth but we are too far in to the season to say that. Maybe it is part fatigue, maybe we need to focus and maybe we get too excited.”

Senior co-captain Bennet Davis put up 27 points and sophomore Eugene Spates added 20, both career highs.

On Jan. 3 the Huskies hosted CAA rival Old Dominion. The Monarchs ended Northeastern’s 11-game home winning streak that dates back to last season, handing the Huskies a 73-67 loss.

Kelly led Northeastern with 18 points, matching his season high. Junior Mark Washington put forth a solid defensive effort, but was no match for the Monarch’s senior Valdas Vasylius who put up 27 points.

“Mark has developed a tremendous amount since the beginning of the season,” Coen said. “He has become a very steady player and a great veteran influence off the bench.”

Saturday Northeastern battled in a three-point loss at William ‘ Mary. NU had a 57-55 lead with two minutes left in the game before two turnovers and a missed three by senior co-captain Adrian Martinez allowed the Tribe to take the lead and the 60-57 win.

“Coach told us we lost that game ourselves,” Kelly said. “It came down to execution and we didn’t do it.”

The Huskies were again paced by Kelly with 17 points, with Davis adding 10 points and five rebounds.

The constant play and close games caught up with NU in Monday night’s game at Virginia Commonwealth. Within two points at the half the Huskies managed just 16 points in the second half, dropping the 64-44 decision.

Before the winter break the Huskies dropped games at Detroit (60-51) and Louisville (61-41) on Dec. 22 and 27, respectively. Northeastern’s last win was against New Hampshire Dec. 18 with a 51-41 victory over the Wildcats at Solomon Court.

Tonight, with just one day off since playing at VCU, Northeastern will host Georgia State (5-9, 1-3 CAA) at Matthews Arena at 7 p.m. The Panthers are fresh off a 57-43 loss to William ‘ Mary Monday.

“Some of us are tired but we will be in bed early and ready for Georgia State,” Kelly said. “We are ready to be back at home and ready to play. This is a winnable game for us if we come out focused. They have the big men, we just have to contain them.”

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