The Huskies withstood a second-half surge from Delaware on Saturday to win 74-70 and remain undefeated in the CAA. The 6-0 record of the Huskies is tied with the 08-09 Northeastern team for the best CAA start in program history.
Senior co-captain Joel Smith led the way for Northeastern with 18 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field, including 3 of 4 shooting from downtown. Sophomore forward Quincy Ford tallied 17 points for his fourth straight double-digit scoring game and senior co-captain Jon Lee registered 14 points and 5 rebounds.
“We came out sharp, we executed, we got quality shots right from the jump,” coach Bill Coen said. “I thought in the first half we really got clean offense.”
That great first half included an 8-0 run to start the game, jumpstarted by sophomore Reggie Spencer hitting his first two baskets with the probably All-CAA Jamelle Hagins defending him. The Huskies were able to maintain an efficient first half offense shooting 60 percent from the field, including 7-9 from downtown. Ford also kept his offense rolling early, scoring 10 of his 17 in the first half.
Northeastern looked like they were going to enter the half on an 9-4 run to put them up 43-33 before sophomore Demetrius Pollard hit a driving lay-up at the buzzer.
The officials went to review the shot to see if it got off on time, but not before coach Monte Ross expressed his frustration to the officials and was called for a technical. While the shot did not count, Joel Smith connected on both free throws from the technical giving the Huskies all the momentum going in to the second half.
The second half looked like it was going to be another offensive showing with both teams trading baskets until the 17-minute mark. With a 55-41 lead, the Huskies did not hit another field goal for 7 minutes.
“We knew they weren’t going to go away and we were going to get their best effort in the second half. We were just hoping we had enough in the tank to really withstand that run,” coach Coen said.
The Huskies did withstand it, maintaining a ten-point lead after the drought. However, the Blue Hens continued to fight cutting it to a two-possession lead multiple times in the coming minutes.
One of these times came with 3:37 left to play in the game when sophomore Kyle Anderson hit a three to cut Northeastern’s lead to 67-61. Both teams did not score on the next two possessions until Northeastern ran an inbounds play to perfection coming out of a media timeout, freeing Jon Lee up for three.
“I thought Jon maybe hit the biggest shot of the game when he hit the three out of the corner when we were really struggling and it gave us a little separation and we can finally settle down, get some stops and finish the rest of the game,” coach Coen said.
A huge reason for the Husky win was their defense on the leading scorer in the CAA, Devon Saddler. The junior guard only had 10 points on 3 for 12 shooting from the field.
“He’s so strong in his upper body that once he gets his shoulders on you he’s really tough to contain,” coach Coen said. “I thought our guards did a good job in concentrating on him, he’s tough to keep down but I think they did a good job this afternoon.”
The Huskies will hope to play the same intense defense next Wednesday against Marcus Thornton and William and Mary.