By: Dan McLoone
Harrisonburg, Va.- In their second triple-overtime game of the season, Northeastern outlasted James Madison down the stretch, holding on for a 95-94 win. The win gave the Huskies their first overtime win in CAA play on the season after falling to both Hofstra and College of Charleston in extra time.
“We were very, very fortunate and lucky to come out with a hard-fought victory,” said Northeastern head coach Bill Coen. “Very proud of our guys to keep battling. It looked like a couple times the game was slipping away, but the guys on the court never stopped believing in one another.”
Quincy Ford led the way for Northeastern, pouring in 24 points in the second half en route to a career-high 36. The teams battled back and forth through regulation, with the Dukes taking a 26-24 lead to the locker room after Ford hit a three at the buzzer to end the first half.
“I didn’t think I would finish the game like that, given my first half performance,” said Ford. “I was a little frustrated.”
David Walker also turned on the jets in the second half after a scoreless first frame, finishing with 19 points, including a perfect 9-9 from the charity stripe. Despite foul trouble, Northeastern also received a huge contribution from freshmen Jeremy Miller and Donnell Gresham Jr. Miller finished with 18 points on 6-7 shooting, including hitting the shots that forced both overtime and double overtime. The 6-foot-1 Gresham finished with 10 rebounds to go along with his eight points
“Both Jeremy and Donnell played terrific in a tough road environment,” said Coen. “I thought they made big play after big play… For freshman to play like that on the road was very satisfying.”
The Dukes were led by junior big man Yohanny Dalembert, who netted a career-high 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Senior star Ron Curry returned from injury, playing 47 minutes off the bench and adding seven assists and 21 points of his own, including the jumper that forced triple overtime.
“Much like Quincy, when he came back his first game, there’s a re-injury process,” said Coen. “You get back in there, you’re not totally sure of your body and confident in your body…I thought he was not quite as explosive as he was up in Boston, but still a player that is one of the best player’s in the league.”
The Huskies found themselves trailing 58-55 with 26 seconds left after two Ron Curry free throws. Coen drew up a play out of a timeout that left Miller wide open for a corner three, which he buried with 18 seconds left. Curry missed a jumper at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime.
Miller saved the day again in overtime, as he blocked Curry driving to the basket before finding himself wide open underneath the rim. He finished a beautiful pass from Gresham to tie the game at 69. Curry missed a three-pointer at the buzzer to force double overtime.
Ford scored 8 of Northeastern’s 13 points in double overtime, but missed a layup at the buzzer to win the game after Curry hit an acrobatic layup to tie the game at 82. In triple overtime, Ford hit seven free throws to ice the game for the Huskies. Winston Grays III hit a three at the buzzer, but it was too late for the Dukes.
“When you start getting into triple overtime and everything else, the stakes get a little higher,” said Coen. “Hopefully we’ll ride a little bit of emotion off this overtime victory.”
Zach Stahl only played 10 minutes while nursing a small head injury sustained in practice earlier in the week. T.J. Williams didn’t make the trip due to academic issues.
Northeastern improves to 15-13 on the year and 7-8 in the CAA. James Madison dropped to 19-9 overall and 9-6 in conference. The Huskies will be back in action on Sunday at Hofstra, looking to extend their winning streak to four games. Jeremy Leopold and Matt MacCormack will be on the call on WRBB.