Men’s basketball: NU keeps it going at home

By Andrew Parente, News Staff

It’s becoming clear around the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) that the men’s basketball team is the squad to beat this year in the conference.
After defeating Old Dominion and VCU on the road last week, the Huskies returned home Saturday and took down Delaware, 73-59.
The Huskies are now 15-6 overall and improve on their first place position in the league standings, moving to 10-1. The Blue Hens slip to 3-8 in the CAA and 9-14 overall.
‘I think we just played the best team in the league,’ said Delaware head coach Monte Ross. ‘They have a style and way about them, offensively and defensively that really causes problems for opponents.’
Northeastern was led in scoring by juniors Matt Janning and Manny Adako, who scored 19 and 17 points, respectively.
Both teams started slow out of the gate, with many missed shots on both ends. The Hens held a six-point lead, 16-10, midway through the first half after guard Marc Egerson buried a three. He led Delaware in scoring with a game-high 26 points.
After the Huskies got the lead down to two, senior forward Matt Smith subbed into the game and made an immediate impact.
Junior guard Baptiste Bataille found an open Smith who connected on a three to put the Huskies up one, 19-18, with 6:53 to play in the half.
The Hens responded with a lay-up, but the Huskies came right back and took the lead for good after senior forward Chris Alvarez made a nifty pass inside to Adako, who finished it off, giving NU a 21-20 lead.
From that point, the Huskies closed the half on a 13-0 run. Smith connected on another three and Adako cashed in on four straight free throws to aid the run.
The highlight of the half came when Janning converted on a fade-away jumper while falling out of bounds. He was also fouled in the process and made the free throw to finish off the three-point play.
‘ Northeastern went into the half up 32-22.
‘We started off fairly slow,’ said head coach Bill Coen. ‘We really had a lack of defensive effort, which is uncharacteristic of us, but we were able to regain our balance and get back into our style of play.’
But the lead soon increased in the second half as the Huskies went on a 12-0 run between the 15:22 and 13:21 marks to go up by 20, 51-31.
The run was aided by the three-ball, which was falling for NU throughout the game. Also, guard play from Janning and sophomore Chaisson Allen, was stellar throughout.
‘Those two guys have been terrific for us all year long,’ Coen said. ‘Especially in a game like today, it was great for them to step up and give us that kind of advantage.’
Sophomore guard Allen Aragbaye hit a three with 10 minutes to play to push the NU lead to 23, 60-37, its biggest of the game.
Delaware was able to go on a 12-3 run of its own and got the deficit down to 12 points with about two minutes to play. However, the defense remained strong down the stretch to carry the Huskies to the win.
Janning finished 7-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Adako was 5-of-8 from the floor and converted on 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
‘For a while it just didn’t feel right,’ Janning said of his three-point shooting as of late. ‘But now it’s flowing well and just getting in the offense, getting good looks, guys are getting me open and we’re just having fun.’
As a team, the Huskies shot 49 percent and made a season-high 11 three-point shots.
‘Everybody’s getting good looks and they try to take something away and we just make the extra pass,’ Janning said. ‘Smith has been the beneficiary of that lately, he’s shooting a great percentage; Chase knocked a couple down, Eugene’s been hitting a few lately and we’re tough to stop when we have four guys able to knock it down.’
However, when the three-ball isn’t falling, Janning said he knows there is always another option.
‘When they do stop it, we always got the big guy down low,’ Janning said with a smile, referring to Adako.
The win was also the ninth straight for the Huskies over the Hens. NU also finished January at 10-1, its best calender mark since going 11-0 in January of 1987.
Northeastern will look to build on its lead on top of the CAA when it travels to Williamsburg, Va. to take on William & Mary Wednesday at 7 p.m.’ ‘

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