by Matthew MacCormack
Funny enough, it was a sophomore big man who sparked the Northeastern men’s basketball team to victory on Senior Day.
Tomas Murphy tied career-highs with 21 points and 12 rebounds, adding three assists to guide the Huskies (18-10, 12-4 CAA) to a 73-58 victory over Towson (10-19, 6-10 CAA) on Saturday at Matthews Arena. The Husky hallmarks were defense and unselfishnesses, as Northeastern scored 18 points on 13 Towson turnovers and assisted on 19 of their 25 field goals.
NU was out-rebounded 40-22 in a January loss at Towson. On Saturday, each team corralled 30 boards, and Murphy played a huge role.
“You can’t control your opportunities but you can control your attitude and effort, and I thought Tomas did that in a big way today,” Coen said.
“We really needed every bit of it today to get by a difficult Towson team.”
Northeastern’s three seniors — likely playing their last game at Matthews — were honored pre-game. Point guard Vasa Pusica had 19 points and four assists, while center Anthony Green (9 pts) had a solid effort despite battling foul trouble. Forward Jeremy Miller, who was hobbled with a lower leg injury that forced him out of Thursday’s win over JMU, entered the game with a minute remaining to a standing ovation.
Redshirt junior guard Donnell Gresham added 16 points for the Huskies.
Nakye Sanders led Towson with 13 points and seven rebounds, while freshman guard Allen Bertrand chipped in 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. Gresham and Co. held leading-scorer Brian Fobbs (18 ppg) to just 10 points on 4-13 shooting.
Gresham scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half for Northeastern. After a Bertrand layup gave the Tigers a 37-34 lead with 16:44 to go in the game, the Huskies mounted a 12-2 run highlighted by three triples from Gresham. From there, they cruised.
“It’s been different guys on different nights for us,” Coen said.
“I’m proud that we could get a game that we got out of Donnell today. The offense was one thing but the defense on Fobbs was really strong again.”
Reigning CAA Defensive Player of the Year Shawn Occeus (lower leg) missed his seventh straight game for the Huskies
The Northeastern seniors reminisced on their favorite moments at Matthews. Green and Miller both mentioned a matchup with No.1 Michigan State during the 2015-16 season.
“It’s a different home court, it’s a different arena, and there were just so many wins,” said Pusica, who played his final two years of college at Northeastern after transferring from University of San Diego.
“That’s what I’m going to remember from this place.”
The Huskies will be back in action for the penultimate game of the regular season in a road clash at Delaware on Thursday night. Matt MacCormack and Justin Littman will be on the call, with pregame coverage beginning at 6:45.