Jackson Goodman/WRBB Sports File

BOSTON — It was a tough beginning to the new year at Matthews Arena for Northeastern, as the Huskies struggled offensively against a very talented Stony Brook team in the first game of CAA conference play. The Huskies shot just 33% from the floor, including a rough 22% from beyond the arc, and as a result, fell 62-53 to the Seawolves.

“As the game went on, our offense really sputtered,” said Northeastern head coach Bill Coen. “We passed up some makeable shots. We were turning down good ones for not-so-good ones, and as a result, it was our offense that let us down.”

The defeat raised concern for the Huskies’ potential moving forward in conference play, especially for how well NU can play without graduate transfer Luka Sakota, who was out with an injury he sustained in the Rhode Island game on Dec. 30. Thankfully for Northeastern, coach Bill Coen denoted Sakota’s status as “day-to-day.”

The game began with promise, as Northeastern led for over 18 minutes of the first half and briefly in the early stages of the second half, 25-24. In the first half, Stony Brook shot very poorly with a measly 23% field goal percentage as a team, which included a rocky 29% from three. However, in the second half, the Seawolves caught fire, shooting an impressive 53% from the floor and an enhanced 33% from three. As for the Huskies, the main problem stemmed from prolonged scoring droughts throughout the night. For example, Northeastern went scoreless for over five minutes in the second half, from 12:49 to 7:45.

Stony Brook’s profound half-to-half shooting improvement, headlined by the Seawolves’ 8-0 run that began just under six minutes into the second half, and graduate guard Tyler Stephenson-Moore’s impressive 16-point back half, put the game fully out of Northeastern’s reach. Stephenson-Moore ended his impressive night with 21 points on an 8-14 shooting performance from the floor after improving his field goal percentage to 70% and 50% from beyond the arc in the second half, as opposed to his 17% first-half shooting.

Stars Joe Pridgen and Jared Turner’s rough performances epitomized the Huskies’ cold offensive game, as Pridgen shot just 3-15 from the floor and Turner 0-5, including 0-4 from three. 

“Their style of play is that they try to limit stuff around the rim,” said coach Coen. “They have a couple of big guys and they kind of sag into the lane and take away our two point game and force us into a three point game. Unfortunately we just couldn’t hit enough threes.” 

Sophomore Masai Troutman and graduate transfer Chris Doherty were two bright spots in an otherwise game to forget for the Huskies. Troutman notched 16 points on a 6-11 shooting performance, and Doherty recorded a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds on 6-13 made field goals. 

Doherty has long-established himself as a top big in the league, and, as the Huskies move ahead this season, they will need a leap from Troutman to reach the team’s full potential.  

“Masai has made a huge jump from his freshman year,” Coen said. “He’s a hard worker and he’s got a lot of pride in his game. He’s a terrific athlete. He does so much for us. We’re asking him to guard the best perimeter player now and provide some scoring and rebounding punch to our lineup and I thought he delivered today.” 

Without Jared Turner’s “A-game” from three-point land and a well-distributed team offensive effort, the Huskies could not hang with the Seawolves.

“Our offense kind of let us down… I thought we competed tonight, it was more our execution than anything,” said coach Coen when asked about the game as a whole.

Moving forward, it is important that the Huskies learn from this early conference play struggle going into their next contest against Monmouth on Monday, January 8th. Matty Wasserman will have the call on WRBB 104.9 FM.