In a game in which the Huskies were without their co-captain and reigning CAA player of the week, Jarvis Threat stepped up as the hero for Delaware in an overtime thriller.
After Northeastern (17-9, 12-2) went up by five with 3:46 left in the game, the Blue Hens went on a 7-0 run, capped off by a three by Threat resulting in a 76-74 Delaware (14-12, 9-4) win.
The injury snapped Smith’s streak of appearing in 92 straight games and 71 consecutive starts.
“They’re a terrific basketball team. That’s why they were so highly thought up in the preseason rankings; they’re every bit of that,” coach Coen said on the second ranked team. “They have experience, they have talent, they have inside play and they have outside play and they made the plays they needed to win the game and we fell a little bit short.”
The game was as close throughout the game as it was physical with 10 lead changes and 13 ties. In addition to playing without Smith, who was hurt in the last minute of Huskies last game against William and Mary, Northeastern lost junior Dinko Marshavelski to injury in the first half.
Sophomore Reggie Spencer fouling out with 5:51 seconds left in the second half also didn’t exactly increase the Huskies chances of stopping one of the CAA’s best rebounders, Jamelle Hagins.
The senior center had 17 point on 7-8 shooting to go along with 9 rebounds. The Blue Hens beat the Huskies in rebounds overall 38-30. Threat led the way for the Blue Hens in scoring with 20 points and senior Devon Saddler pitched in 18.
“Dinko went down during the game, that’s minus another big man and Zach wasn’t fully 100 percent. Those things play into it and we’re coming off a stretch where we played a lot of games in a short period of time so I think both teams were a little bit fatigued,” Coen said.
Despite the fatigue, the Huskies we’re still able to put up points. Senior co-captain Jon Lee led the way with in scoring with 23-points, 16 of them coming in the second half. Sophomore Quincy Ford also pitched 21-points to go along with a team leading six rebounds.
While it was these two who carried the load for the Huskies throughout the game, sophomore Zach Stahl, who is still fighting off a bad ankle, made his presence known in Coen’s short-handed frontcourt.
With 4:40 left in the second half and the Huskies down 62-60, Stahl and junior forward Carl Baptiste got tangled up and exchanged words after a missed 3-pointer by sophomore guard Demetrius Pollard.
Following a 30 second timeout and both players receiving technical fouls, Stahl hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to give Northeastern the lead.
“He’s had an ankle injury so he hasn’t been able to practice so I think the first couple times out there he was a little tentative but maybe it was that altercation or the heat of the moment but he made some big shots for us and I thought that was going to be the difference of the game,” Coen said. “When he hit that three I thought it was going to be it.”
Jarvis Threat and Devon Saddler had something to say about that. After two made free throws by Threat and a layup by Lee, Saddler got himself to the line and converted on one of two free throws.
It looked like the Huskies still had the game when Stahl hit another big layup with 34 seconds left in the game. However, 20 seconds later Saddler hit his biggest shot of the night after freeing himself up with a pump fake to tie the game 67-67 and give his team the opportunity to win in overtime.
The Huskies have been in situations to make late game winning shots all season and they found themselves in another one after Threat’s big shot.
Out of a Coen timeout and with 14 seconds on the clock, freshman David Walker inbounded the ball to Ford. The sophomore forward then handed the ball back to Walker who attempted to pass the ball crosscourt to Pollard, however, the ball was deflected out of bounds with just .5 seconds on the clock.
“Davie’s a really good ball handler and he’s got a really good sense of where the ball should go. We thought Jon would be the one to be open in a misdirection play but he thought he saw [Demetrius] open,” Coen said. “I trust Davie to make the right play, he’s made so many for us in his freshman year.”
The loss was just the second for the Huskies this year but it came against the second place the Coen-claimed most talented team in the CAA. Despite the home loss, Coen emphasized that his team must keep their focus on closing out the season.
“Good teams rarely lose two in a row. When you take a loss you have to go back that much harder and refocus and rededicate to make sure that it doesn’t become a streak,” Coen said.
This article can also be found in The Huntington News.