by Matthew MacCormack
SYRACUSE, N.Y. —
For most of the first half, it looked like the Northeastern mens’ basketball team might have enough in their bag to pull off one of their classic Power 5 upsets.
Facing a long and über-athletic Syracuse squad, the Huskies took an early first half-lead, and trailed by just two points, 23-21, with six minutes remaining in the opening half in Tuesday’s battle at the Carrier Dome.
What happened? Well, Syracuse happened.
The Orange went on a 12-2 run to close the second half, and went on to steamroll the Huskies, 72-49. The Syracuse 2-3 zone defense held the Huskies (4-5) to just 34% shooting from the floor and 21% from three, while the Orange scored 19 second-chance points on 15 offensive rebounds. The Orange were simply too long, too athletic, and too good for an undermanned Huskies squad to handle.
“If you want to have any chance at an upset you have to make shots, and we didn’t do that,” said Northeastern Head Coach Bill Coen after the game.
“They’re very quick in the zone. Even shots that we had that looked clean were a little bit rushed. We never really got rhythm threes.”
Sophomore forward Oshae Brisset led the Orange (5-3) with a game-high 21 points and a game-high 14 rebounds — including seven offensive boards.
Tomas Murphy — Northeastern’s sophomore big man — led the Huskies with 17 points (7-10 FG) and eight rebounds. Murphy tallied 21 points and 12 rebounds in last Wednesday’s win over Bucknell, and posted 10 points, six rebounds and a career-high seven assists in Saturday’s win over Eastern Michigan.
“Tomas was one of our few bright spots this evening,” Coen said
“I just think he’s coming into his own.”
Redshirt junior guard Jordan Roland (9 points, 4 assists) is a Syracuse native. He said he had many friends and family members watching him in the Carrier Dome.
“I thought I got some decent shots,” Roland said.
“Unfortunately they didn’t fall tonight. You just have to credit their zone and their length.”
The Huskies were missing senior point guard Vasa Pusica (wrist), junior guard Shawn Occeus (ankle) and junior forward Max Boursiquot (hip). Pusica and Occeus are expected back around the start of conference play, while Boursiquot is out indefinitely.
The Huskies will be back in action on Saturday at Matthews Arena, with a 4 p.m. battle with Oakland University.