Men’s Basketball: NU regains momentum away from CAA

By Andrew Parente, News Staff

Looking to build momentum toward the end of the regular season, the men’s basketball team stepped out of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) to battle Wright State of the Horizon League Saturday.
‘ The Huskies were able to come away with a 69-57 win over the Raiders at the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio, in front of a national audience on ESPN2.
The game was played as part of the ESPNU BracketBusters series, which pins NCAA tournament hopefuls against one another.
With the win, Northeastern improves to 17-10 (11-5 CAA) on the season while Wright State falls to 16-12 (10-6 Horizon).
‘We had a terrific opportunity to go out of conference and play on national television,’ said head coach Bill Coen. ‘We played a quality opponent in Wright State and came away with a win against a very strong defensive team.’
Leading the way for the Huskies was senior forward Eugene Spates who scored a career-high 22 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Spates also went 3-of-6 from three-point land and 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
Sophomore guard Chaisson Allen contributed 20 points, with 13 coming in the second half.
‘We often say that Eugene is the X-factor on this team,’ Coen said. ‘When he is on top of his game it adds another dimension to our offense. I thought Chase also played an all-around solid game.’
Both teams, who pride themselves on defense, started the game by exchanging baskets for the better part of the first half.
The Raiders held an early 7-2 advantage, but the Huskies battled back to tie the game at 15 after a jumper from junior forward Manny Adako at the 9:09 mark.
Wright State took the lead again, 22-21, after a three from forward Cooper Land with 5:01 to play in the half.
From that point, the NU offense took over as it closed the half on a 16-2 run.
Spates got it started with’ ‘ a jumper, followed by a steal and a fastbreak lay-up from Allen. He was also fouled in the process and went to the line to finish the three-point play.
Sophomore forward Vinny Lima then found an open Spates who sank another three before Allen connected on a mid-range jumper off a pass from junior guard Matt Janning.
‘ Janning also made a three during the run, which came between a pair of free throws from both Spates and Allen. The Huskies went into the half up 37-24.
Despite only having eight points in the contest, Janning was still a factor as he dished out four assists and gave up contested shots to open up the floor for his teammates.
‘ ‘Matt is such a competitor who we need to be strong in order to be successful,’ Coen said. ‘While I do think he has been pressing a little as of late, I thought he did a good job in letting the game come to him today.’
‘ The Raiders climbed back into the game throughout the second half, getting within one possession on multiple occasions.
‘ However, the Huskies used timely shooting to maintain the lead and never trailed in the second half.
With less than 2 minutes to play, Spates was trapped in the backcourt but was able to get to ball into the frontcourt where Janning picked it up and finished with a two-handed slam, putting NU up 63-53 with 1:29 to play.
‘ As a team, the Huskies shot 45.8 percent from the field against Wright State, who came into the contest as the second rated defense in the nation, holding opponents to an average of just 56.1 points per game.
The Huskies also turned the ball over a season-low six times, while dishing out 15 assists as a team.
Guard Todd Brown led the way for the Raiders with 16 points.
Northeastern will move back into CAA play when it travels to Philadelphia to battle Drexel (15-11, 10-6 CAA) Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The Huskies will return home for their final game at Matthews arena Saturday against Old Dominion’ (18-8, 10-6 CAA) at 6 p.m.

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