By: Justin Littman
WILLIAMSBURG – The Northeastern Huskies stepped up to the challenge against the top team in the CAA, controlling the game in a 90-70 victory over the William & Mary Tribe. This was only the second time in 11 tries that the Huskies have been able to escape Kaplan Arena with a victory. As for William & Mary, they have now lost two in a row at home, and are now 20-3 in their own arena since the start of last season.
Vasa Pusica led an efficient offensive attack for the Huskies, who seemed to get whatever they wanted throughout the night. Pusica finished the game with 20 points and nine assists. For Pusica, 18 of those points came in the first half, where the Huskies led by as many as 19. Coach Coen had high praise for his point guard after the game.
“He’s been big for us all year, and his shooting is just a small part of what he does for us. He always seems to settle us down when the other team is making a run to come up with a big play, big pass, or a big shot. He played at a high level tonight and we needed him to do so.
As a team, the Huskies shot over 71 percent from the field, and over 63 percent from downtown. This anomaly highlighted both the strength of Northeastern’s offense tonight, as well as the struggles the Tribe have faced defensively all year.
The Huskies were equally masterful on the defensive end, scoring 26 points off 13 William & Mary turnovers. Shawn Occeus set the tone on defense once again, finishing the game with four steals and many more deflections. He even put his body on the line to take a charge midway through the second half.
The Tribe, who entered the game shooting 44 percent from three on the season, shot under 30 percent from behind the arc. They made only five threes all game. David Cohn, who leads the CAA in assist-to-turnover ratio, had only three assists, and turned the ball over five times. Four starters scored in double figures for William & Mary, but they struggled to get any production from their bench, which scored only 11 points.
With the victory, Northeastern has ascended into a three-way tie for first place in CAA, joining William & Mary and Hofstra at the top. They are all 5-2 in the conference. The Huskies have a quick turnaround, as they fly back to Boston and quickly prepare for a Saturday afternoon matchup with the Delaware Blue Hens. Delaware (11-9, 4-3 CAA) is coming off a big road loss to Hofstra, losing 90-63.