Men’s basketball pulls away from Delaware

by Matthew MacCormack

NEWARK, Del. — Delaware kept it close in front of its home crowd, but the Northeastern men’s basketball pulled away late in the second half, toppling the Blue Hens, 75-64, to earn their third-straight double-digit victory.

Redshirt senior point guard Vasa Pusica had 22 points and three rebounds, redshirt junior guard Jordan Roland had 17 points, and junior forward Bo Brace chipped in 16 points and eight rebounds for the Huskies (19-10, 13-4 CAA). With the win, Northeastern put themselves in position to fight for a share of the CAA title on Saturday.

All the Huskies need for a share of a conference title for the second-straight season is a win at Drexel, followed by a Hofstra loss at Delaware on Saturday night.

Just eight players suited up for NU Thursday night, with junior guard Shawn Occeus (lower leg) missing his eighth straight game, and sophomore forward Tomas Murphy (foot) skipping the trip, as well. Both are considered doubtful for Saturday.

“We’re really proud of this group,” Coen said.

“To come in shorthanded and be able to execute the way they did, I thought our entire team really stepped up to the challenge and won a gritty game on the road.”

Delaware’s guard duo of sophomore Ryan Allen and freshman Ithiel Horton each scored 16 points to pace the Blue Hens (16-14, 8-9 CAA). Senior forward Eric Carter had 12 points and eight boards.

The Huskies shot 56% from the floor and 46% from three-point land. Sharing the basketball was a key, as NU assisted on 18 of its 29 field goals, while only coughing up eight turnovers.

Northeastern led early on Thursday night, but the Blue Hens held on for most of the game. A trio of Roland free-throws put the Huskies up, 36-26, with 1:37 to go in the first half, but Delaware ended the half on a 7-2 run to cut the lead back to five.

The game truly turned with 8:53 to go in the second half, when senior center Anthony Green (9 points, 4 rebounds) threw down a ferocious and-1 slam over Carter that turned a 50-48 lead to a 53-48 advantage.

“Anthony has the ability to change the game with a big defensive block or a dunk,” Coen said.

“Emotionally, that was exactly what we needed at the time.”

Horton cut the lead back to 2 with a layup three minutes later, but the Huskies responded with a 9-0 run. Gresham, Roland and Pusica each buried a triple to push the lead to 66-55, and the Huskies cruised from there.

Justin Littman and Matt MacCormack will have the call from Drexel, with pregame coverage beginning at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday from Philadelphia.

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