by Milton Posner

A few things are certain when Northeastern and Elon meet up. Bolden Brace will light up the nets. The game will head into overtime. The Huskies will win.

Saturday afternoon’s contest was no different. Inexplicable and frantic though it was, normalcy finally prevailed when the Huskies topped the Phoenix, 72–60.

“Somehow we got the game into overtime,” Coen said. “And when the overtime came it was Bo time.”

The game boasted frequent momentum shifts, with each team’s turnovers fueling the other’s hot streaks.

“[It] kept them hanging around,” Coen observed. “You keep giving them a chance to climb back into the game and eventually they will. We were very, very fortunate to earn a victory today.”

Northeastern opened up a nine-point lead in the first half and an eight-point margin in the second half. Both times, Elon closed the gap by the end of the period.

Brace, Vasa Pusica and Jordan Roland combined for 64 of Northeastern’s 72 points, 43 of their 59 field goal attempts and all 14 of their free throw attempts. Brace is no stranger to torching the Phoenix; he notched 40 points and a team-record 10 threes against them two years ago in a double-overtime win.

Brace had a terrific defensive game, adding 14 rebounds. He’s also developed a knack for silencing All-CAA forwards, starting with Charleston star Jarrell Brantley on Jan. 17 and continuing on Saturday with Elon’s Tyler Seibring. Seibring normally averages 17 points on a cool 53 percent shooting; Brace limited him to three points on an abysmal 1–17 shooting.

Coen credited Brace.

“Bo and Jason [Strong] did a really solid job on him,” Coen noted. “Keeping him off his sweet spots and making sure they had a hand in his face every time he shot the ball.”

Brace credited Coen.

“We had a really good walkthrough today,” he recalled. “Coaches put together some really good film and we kinda knew what they were going to run.

“Tyler’s a really versatile player, so one of the biggest things for me when I’m guarding him is trying to limit his three-point attempts. I think I did a pretty good job of that today. When he got it down low we had good help and it was a really good defensive team effort.”

Northeastern benefitted from Elon’s 3–10 effort from the foul line and 35 percent shooting from the floor. Steven Santa Ana, Elon’s second-leading scorer, posted 12 points and seven rebounds but struggled from the perimeter, hitting just one three in seven tries.

Second-place Northeastern (15–9, 9–3 CAA) has won four in a row and eight of their last nine. The Huskies held place ahead of Charleston — which escaped Drexel, 86–84 — and behind Hofstra, which triumphed over William and Mary, 93–87, behind 48 points from Justin Wright-Foreman.

“They know what time it is,” Coen remarked of the impending conference tournament. “They look at the calendar and they see it’s February and it’s getting to ‘go time.’ We’ve got a veteran group of guys that’s been there before and is hungry to get back.

The Huskies will be back in action on Thursday night at UNCW. Milton Posner and Matt Neiser will be on the call, with pregame coverage starting at 6:45 p.m for a lovely Valentine’s Day matchup.

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