By Michael Petillo
BOSTON — Coming off a tough two-week stretch in which they lost four straight games, Northeastern returned to Matthews Arena on Thursday and picked up a much needed win, defeating UNCW 71–63. The Huskies held the Seahawks to just 24 first half points and Jordan Roland poured in 27 on the night to lead the Huskies.
Northeastern burst out of the gates with a sense of urgency, holding UNCW scoreless for the first six-and-a-half minutes. That set the tone for a strong defensive showing in which Northeastern forced 11 first-half turnovers and led by 10 at the break.
The second half was more of the same for the first few minutes. Undersized forward Max Boursiquot brilliantly defended the Seahawk big men, using his active hands to create turnovers and easy buckets for the Huskies in transition.
“Defense is something I try to bring every game; I think it’s my best attribute,” Boursiquot said. “I have a long wingspan and I try to set the tone for other guys. Size doesn’t really matter to me. I think I can guard one through five. I just have a dog mentality about it.”
Northeastern’s lead had stretched to 16 points before UNCW mounted their biggest run of the game. With 11:30 to play, freshman swingman Jake Boggs knocked down a triple, the first of five consecutive threes for the Seahawks. Guard Brian Tolefree contributed three of the five makes during that span. But Northeastern weathered the Seahawks’ hot stretch with sound offensive execution. The Husky lead never dipped below ten during the UNCW’s four-minute downtown deluge.
“I thought we had a good enough cushion there, but they came back and every team’s going to make a run at you,” head coach Bill Coen said. “You can’t take your foot off the gas and you have to play buzzer to buzzer.”
The win was doubly important for Northeastern (12–13, 6–7 CAA), as it snaps their losing skid and, combined with a Drexel loss to William and Mary, moves them back into sixth place in the CAA. The league’s top six teams earns a first-round bye in next month’s conference tournament.
The win also moved Coen into a tie with former Drexel coach Bruiser Flint for the second-most career CAA wins with 158 wins, an accomplishment Coen, true to form, understated.
“There are a lot of players that have come through this program that have won a lot of games,” he noted. “It’s been many years since I’ve scored a basket or grabbed a rebound . . . it’s about the student athletes and we’ve had some great guys in the program.”
Next up for Northeastern is a Saturday showdown with third-place Charleston. Milton Posner and Matt Neiser will call that game, with coverage beginning at 11:45 AM EST.