Player of the Week

Player of the Week

When Northeastern hosted James Madison at Matthews Arena Wednesday the focus was on senior co-captain Bennet Davis, who entered the game 17 points shy of 1,000 for his career.

But freshman guard Matt Janning stole Davis’ thunder with a career-high 23 points and his best all-around game of the season in the 67-51 Northeastern victory. The rookie guard had five steals, five rebounds and two blocks to halt the James Madison Seahawks.

The Watertown, Minn., native followed that career performance with a 14-point performance against Delaware Saturday and 18 points in Monday’s 68-59 loss to Drexel, earning him The Northeastern News Player of the Week honors.

“It starts with my teammates helping me and passing,” Janning said. “I start making shots and get into the flow of the game and it all works.”

Wednesday the Huskies went on a 16-2 run with 11 minutes remaining to put the game out of the Seahawks’ reach. The breakaway lead was capped by Janning’s four-point play.

Janning knocked down a three-pointer in the right corner near his team’s bench, falling down as he was fouled by JMU’s Juwann James.

“It felt good right when I let go,” Janning said. “I think it came from the inside. I’m not sure where the ball came from, maybe it was Bennet [Davis], but I got it off, put it up and he pushed me over. Right when I let it go I knew it was going in.”

The career performance continued Janning’s impressive growth since New Year’s Eve, when the Huskies were narrowly defeated by Boston College, 87-82. Janning nearly won the game for the Huskies by shooting 9-of-12 from the floor for 21 points to bring NU back from a 15-point deficit at the half.

Before the Boston College loss, Janning had hit the so-called freshman wall. He averaged six points in the previous five games after starting the season with an impressive 16-point performance at Syracuse.

“I was aware I was slumping,” Janning said. “There was a time when I was in the gym every day after Christmas. The extra work has put my game up another level. I think my poor performances did hit me mentally. I knew I had to put in some work. My game was sleeping.”

Janning was also named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week, proving the Husky faithful aren’t the only ones taking notice of his improvement.

“He is very good; he is not a guy that would necessarily stand out if you’re recruiting him at 6 foot, 4 inches and 165-170 pounds,” said James Madison head coach Dean Keener. “But the more you watch him, he has a great basketball IQ. He can make open shots. He played back-up point guard for NU so he has good ball handling skills. As he continues to get experience and builds strength he is going to be a very good player in the CAA. [Wednesday] he drained shots that just killed us.”

– Erika Carrubba, News Staff

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