By Peyton Doyle
BOSTON – In one of their closest CAA matchups of the year and their last ever CAA game against JMU (13-7, 4-5 CAA), Northeastern University’s men’s basketball team (6-16, 0-11) proceeded to yet again break the spirit of their fans.
The Huskies entered Thursday night’s game with a great opportunity to break their perplexing plight of a losing streak. The Dukes were without their second best scorer in Takal Molson and were also lacking Terrell Strickland, a key guard for them off of the bench. Despite this, Northeastern still managed to hand the game away to JMU in the last few minutes, giving their now former CAA foe, a 76-71 victory.
For the Huskies though, the game was not painful all the way through, as they showed flashes of a potentially potent offensive squad and a tenacious defensive machine. Northeastern began the game on a 10-0 run thanks to smart passing by every member of their offense and buried threes by Shaquille Walters and Nikola Djogo.
The combination of Djogo’s sweet shooting, including 14 points on 5-7 shooting in the first half, and persistent all around defense by Northeastern had the Huskies up by nine points with eight minutes left in the first half. To close out the opening period however, the sled dogs were torched by their royal cousins. JMU outscored Northeastern by 16 points over the final eight minutes of the first, mostly off the back of costly Northeastern turnovers and Justin Amadi drives to the rim.
As the second half started with the Huskies down 39-32, head coach Bill Coen needed to bring some authority to his offense.
Enter the Marlborough Masher, Chris Doherty.
After a strong first half that included five points, eight rebounds and two blocks, the Red Haired Raider decided it was his time to pound the paint and schooled the Dukes in post play.
Over the final 20 minutes of the game, all of which Doherty played, he added 12 points, seven rebounds, two assists and another block for good measure for the Huskies.
Even Doherty cannot topple a team on his own, as he saw several of his fellow Huskies hampered and haunted by the press of the Dukes. This press helped JMU force eight second half turnovers. Their high pressure defense combined with Vado Morse’s 14 points was just enough for the Dukes to stay ahead of the Huskies to close out the game.
This loss marks the 12th loss in a row for the Huskies, extending into their last non-conference game against Davidson in December. Luckily for Northeastern, their next opportunity to remedy their spirits comes very soon as they are slated to take on the Towson Tigers Saturday afternoon at home. WRBB will have the call, with Daisy Roberts and Justin Diament on the mic.