By: Mack Krell
Despite trailing by 17 points at the half, Northeastern rode an 18-point, seven-rebound effort from junior guard Devon Begley to defeat the Kent State Golden Flashes in Matthews Arena Sunday afternoon. After playing one of its most disappointing halves of basketball this season, Northeastern trailed 42-25 at the half but was able to turn it around in the second half, walking away with a 73-70 victory.
“I know it didn’t look like it in the first half, but this team had a great week of practice, getting better,” said head coach Bill Coen post-game.
“I was really happy with their response to it today in the second half. I thought we played really well in the second half.”
Over the last 12 minutes of the game, Northeastern slowly cut into Kent State’s lead. NU ultimately took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Begley with just 2:01 remaining in the second half that made it 69-68. He then iced the game for the Huskies by making 2 free throws to put the Huskies up, 73-69, with 25 seconds left in the game. In one of his best efforts of his college career, Begley did it all for the Huskies by contributing 18 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
“We needed every bit of him today,“ Coen said of Begley. “I thought he stepped into a couple big shots.”
In the first half, Northeastern struggled on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court. Northeastern shot just 35 percent from the field and 18 percent from behind the three-point line. They also surrendered 11 turnovers. Defensively, Northeastern gave up six three-pointers and put Kent State on the free-throw line eight times. The Golden Flashes was able to hit all eight of those free throws in the first half. The 1st half ended on a buzzer beating bank 3-point shot by Kevin Zabo that gave KSU a 17-point lead.
The second half was a totally different story. With 16:14 remaining in the second half, Begley hit a ttriple that sparked a 16-2 run for the Huskies over the next four minutes. During the run, Max Boursiquot scored six points for the Huskies by attacking the rim and getting points in the lane. Boursiquot, along with Shawn Occeus, have been big contributors this season as freshmen.
“We have a young team and we’re just in this process of improving,” Coen said post-game.
Following this 73-70 win at home, Northeastern will travel to Ithaca, New York to play Cornell. Discussing their next game, Coach Coen said, “It’ll be great preparation; they play Princeton-style offense and that’s going to get us ready for William and Mary in our league and that’s really the purpose of our non-conference play.”
That game will be Wednesday, November 30th at 7 PM.
“I thought we were a rebound and two foul shots away from being 5-0 over the weekend,” Coen added, alluding to a 1-2 weekend at the Steve Wright Classic.
“We didn’t get it done but we weren’t that far away. “This team just has to get a little bit better each and every day when we go to practice and concentrate on the fundamentals, take better care of the basketball and rebound the ball and when we do that we’re a good team.”