By Michael Petillo
On Tuesday night against BU, Northeastern senior guard Jordan Roland scored 39 points, just shy of the school record of 41 held by Husky legends J.J. Barea and Reggie Lewis. Northeastern needed every one of those points, as they edged BU out in the closing seconds.
Tonight, the Harvard Crimson, a team that has received votes in the AP Top 25 rankings, strolled into Matthews Arena. The Jordan Roland Experience awaited them.
Roland dropped 42 spectacular points, setting a school record and leading the Huskies (2–0) to an 84–79 win over the Crimson in their home opener. Roland bumped his per game scoring average to 40.5, still the best in college basketball.
Roland got his offense going early, netting the Huskies’ first 11 points in an outburst that included three three-pointers. The Matthews Arena crowd was rocking as Northeastern leapt out to a 13–2 advantage within the game’s first four minutes. Roland’s hot hand was complemented by 10 first-half points from freshman point guard Tyson Walker, and Northeastern took a 44–27 lead into the halftime locker room.
The tide changed in the second half as Harvard’s offense kicked into high gear. Sophomore guard Noah Kirkwood and senior forward Chris Lewis led the charge for the Crimson (1–1), who cut the Husky lead to as little as three points on two separate occasions.
Northeastern head coach Bill Coen said of the Crimson’s second half performance, “It looked for a while we were never gonna get a rebound. But, you gotta give them credit; they’re a good team, they’re an experienced team, they’re a tournament-tested team.”
But it was Roland’s night. Every time Northeastern needed a key bucket to stop a Harvard run, they turned to their budding superstar to make it happen. Roland dropped an efficient 23 points in the second half, and his most important bucket came with three minutes remaining and his team clinging to a three-point advantage. After catching the ball at the top of the key, Roland rose into his jump shot while being bumped by Harvard guard Rio Haskett. Roland buried the three anyway. The Huskies regained the momentum and rode out the last few minutes thanks to clutch free throw shooting and ball security.
Roland was humble as ever following his record-breaking night, saying of the record, “It means a lot. More importantly we got the win, but breaking records obviously is something that feels kinda good.”
Coen was complimentary of Roland, saying “I can’t say enough about his approach in the offseason. He’s been so professional and consistent every day — getting extra shots, getting into the gym, taking care of his body, doing all the right things.”
Northeastern returns to action on Tuesday night at 7 PM against UMass Amherst.