By Catherine Morrison and Milton Posner
NORFOLK, VA — Northeastern came into Sunday’s game looking to even their record after a nail-biting loss to Syracuse on Wednesday. Instead, the Huskies suffered another close loss to a strong team, falling 66–62 to Old Dominion.
The Monarchs (3–2) started strong, bolstering a moderate scoring pace with elite defense. The Huskies (1–3) hoisted 13 shots in the first seven-and-a-half minutes — and converted none of them. They seemed doomed to be blown out.
But the young team got back in the game with a strong performance by Shaq Walters, who logged 10 first-half points on his way to a game-high 17. Old Dominion’s scoring was more evenly spread, with double figures from Joe Reece, Malik Curry, and Kalu Ezikpe, plus at least one field goal from everyone else. This well-roundedness helped the Monarchs to a three-point halftime lead.
The Northeastern freshmen made a huge difference in the second half, backing up Walters and spreading the scoring around. Coleman Stucke overcame a sloggy start, notching seven straight points to key a run and ending the game with a season-high 12.
Six-foot-seven-inch Chris Doherty chipped in eight points and nine rebounds, establishing himself as a badly needed interior presence against a strong, athletic Old Dominion squad.
“We were flat after the first media timeout,” Northeastern Head Coach Bill Coen said. “I thought Chris came in and really gave us a lift and competed on the backboard. In the second half I thought he did a really nice job carving out space down low, rebounding, and defending the ball.”
The game looked markedly different from Northeastern’s first three contests. Apart from the low number of fouls — the first one on either team came twelve-and-a-half minutes in — the Huskies turned the ball over just nine times, five fewer than their previous best.
“Some of it is style of play,” Coen observed. “UMass pressed for two games, full-court pressure. Syracuse got a lot of steals up top; they lull you to sleep and jump the passing lanes. This is a totally different team. They drew you in, made you come into the paint, and had six blocks. When we got into the paint, we struggled to finish over their size and length . . . They don’t extend the floor as much.”
The Huskies couldn’t capture the three-point magic that jump-started their offense in Syracuse. They shot just 29 percent from beyond the arc, with Walters and Tyson Walker combining to go two-for-11.
Walker also had a pair of injury scares, one toward the end of each half. Though neither forced his exit from the game, Coen acknowledged that he would be examined before Tuesday’s game against Georgia.
“It’s just the nature of how he plays,” Coen remarked. “He gets into the lane, he attacks the basket, he’s going to take some bumps and bruises.”
Coen also confirmed that freshman forward Jahmyl Telfort, who won CAA Rookie of the Week after averaging 13 points through the team’s first three contests, missed today’s game due to a sprained ankle sustained in practice. He is considered day-to-day.
The team is also looking to schedule a sixth non-conference game for the last week of the year. For now, Tuesday’s game in Athens, Georgia is their last one before they open conference play January 2 at home against Elon. They will try to break through after two close losses and give themselves some momentum heading into the conference slate.