Men’s Basketball: NU stays hot, moves to 8-1

By Andrew Parente, News Staff

After falling behind by 15 points to Old Dominion with seven minutes to play in the first half, the men’s basketball team used a 51-20 run to capture its second straight win in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Saturday night in Norfolk, Va.
With the win, 58-42, the Huskies remain tied atop the CAA standings with Virginia Commonwealth at 8-1 and stand at 13-6 overall. The Monarchs fall to 11-8 (4-5 CAA).’ ‘ ‘
It was also Northeastern’s first ever win at Old Dominion since joining the conference prior to the 2005-06 season.
‘ ‘I thought we started extremely slowly out of the box and made some uncharacteristic mental mistakes that caused us to turn the ball over nine times in the first half,’ said head coach Bill Coen. ‘When we eventually settled down and defended, it loosened up our offense and allowed us to settle into our usual game tempo.’
During the first half, the Monarchs played strong defensively, which forced the Huskies into poor shots and turnovers and allowed ODU to go on a 17-1 run.
With the lead at 22-7, senior forward Eugene Spates got the momentum turning in the Huskies favor when he came up with an off-balance three as the shot clock was expiring. The basket sparked a 14-2 Husky run to end the first half.
‘Sometimes when you go through those scoring draughts it looks like there’s a lid on the basket,’ Coen said. ‘He threw up a prayer at the end of the shot clock. I don’t know how it went in but it went in and it gave us a little more pep in our step and we were able to play with a little more confidence from that point on.’
‘ On the Monarchs’ ensuing possession, Spates stole the ball and fed sophomore guard Chaisson Allen who finished strong with a dunk.
‘ Junior forward Manny Adako then scored four straight points, both off passes from junior guard Baptiste Bataille.
After a pair of free throws from senior forward Chris Alvarez, fellow senior Matt Smith continued his hot shooting with a three, which brought the ODU advantage to just 24-21 at the half.
‘ In the second half, junior’ captain and guard Matt Janning stole the show as he dropped 20 of his game-high 24 points in the frame.
He outscored the entire Monarchs team, 20-18, in the half.
After ODU went up by five points, 32-27, Janning took control, scoring 16 of the next 21 NU points.
‘I just found some open looks and my teammates got me open in the second half a little bit more,’ Janning said. ‘I know I got caught in foul trouble early on and slowed down the flow of the game for me but I think we just moved the ball a lot better in the second half and got a lot of open looks up and down the line-up.’
A three ball from Spates with 14 minutes to play gave the Huskies a 34-32 lead and put them on top for good.
Spates and Adako finished with eight points apiece. Adako also pulled down eight rebounds.
The Husky defense continued to make their presence felt as they baffled the Monarchs throughout the second half. They held ODU to just six field goals while forcing 10 turnovers.
All-CAA forward Gerald Lee was held to a season-low four points for ODU.
The Monarch’s were also held to their season low in points and field goal percentage (29.1).
Northeastern as a team shot 48 percent from the field, and 52 percent in the second half.
The 42 points given up is tied for the third-fewest points given up by NU since the 1991-92 season. Northeastern also held Indiana to 42 points earlier this year.
For the second time in three games, first place in the CAA will be on the line when the Huskies continue their Virginia trip to Richmond, where they will take on VCU (15-5, 8-1 CAA) tomorrow night at 9 p.m.
The game will be shown live on ESPNU.
NU will return home Saturday to battle the Delaware Blue Hens (9-12, 3-6) Saturday at 1 p.m. at Matthews Arena.

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