Story by Peyton Doyle
The Northeastern University Huskies entered their Monday night matchup against the Delaware Blue Hens with a menacing storm cloud looming overhead. The Huskies were on a six game losing streak, something they had not suffered since the 2015-16 season when they lost six conference games in a row.
Their Monday night battle proved to be just as painful, if not more, than their previous month of grueling basketball. This time around the Huskies were able to battle back, lift spirits, and instill hope in themselves and their fans. They even ended regulation time tied and went to overtime.
However, overtime proved to be more pain than pleasure as it showed that a 45 minute basketball game has the potential to pack more disappointment than a common 40 minute one. Despite overcoming a 15 point second half deficit, and taking an actual lead with under two minutes to play in regulation, the Huskies found themselves with just another defeat in their lap, 82-76, this time handed to them by the Blue Hens.
From the get go, this contest seemed far from even, as paltry shooting and ball handling by Northeastern gave Delaware a 12-3 lead just three and a half minutes into the game. Six minutes later and the score wasn’t much prettier. In the first nine minutes of play the Huskies were outscored by 10 points and managed to knock down just two of their 12 shots, both threes by Nikola Djogo.
Defensively, the Huskies were able to force turnovers. Unfortunately, they struggled to gain an advantage from them, scoring a total of zero points off of the eight turnovers they forced from the Blue Hens in the first half.
Despite their weak transition play, the Northeastern offense finally started to get going in the last 10 minutes of the first half. Alex Nwagha registered a career high six points in the first half, fighting hard in his first start of the season and replacing the injured Chris Doherty.
Shaquille Walters was able to use the foul line to his advantage to help bridge the scoring gap between the two teams. The veteran guard led the Huskies with 10 points as they went into halftime down by 10.
To start off the second half for Delaware, star forward Dylan Painter wanted to remind Northeastern why he was selected to the preseason all-CAA first team. Painter had five points in the first two minutes of the second half to extend his team’s lead to 15.
The Huskies’ Canadian duo of Djogo and Jahmyl Telfort did their best to defend their home court in the second half and push back the Blue Hens. Telfort and Djogo combined for 22 second half points as the Huskies surged back. Those two, combined with a resurgent Walters and a late effort from Coleman Stucke, helped the Huskies tie the game in the closing minutes.
A key for the Huskies comeback was their ability to finally capitalize on turnovers, as they forced seven more in the second half and were able to score eight points off of those Blue Hens mistakes.
As regulation ran down, it seemed as though Northeastern was destined to come out on top, with possession after possession from Delaware resulting in either a turnover or a missed basket. Despite a scoring drought of over five minutes for the Blue Hens, the Huskies couldn’t take advantage of the beautiful gift placed at their feet, going scoreless for two whole minutes twice to close out regulation.
The five minutes of overtime went as poorly and bizarrely for the Huskies as anyone would have imagined. They scored just seven points, five of which came from Stucke, had Djogo foul out, and gave up three turnovers. Meanwhile, Painter and Kevin Anderson combined for eight Blue Hen points, ripping away the game from the outstretched Husky paws.
There is some hope for Northeastern as they work through their upcoming conference games. Four of their next six games are at home where they are 4-3 so far this year and Walters is still working his way back into the starting lineup after being sidelined by an injury. Their next matchup will be on Saturday against Hofstra University, who are 3-2 in conference play so far this season.