BOSTON – Following a Thursday night loss to a hot UNCW team, the Huskies faced an evenly-matched opponent Saturday afternoon against the William & Mary Tribe.
The Tribe came into Matthews Arena 2-5 against CAA opponents and on a four-game losing streak, but only one game behind Northeastern in conference standings. While the score was close throughout the contest, the Tribe took their largest lead of the game, 62-52, with just over six minutes to go. Despite the Huskies tying the game at 68 a piece with 40 seconds left, the Tribe regained the lead, ultimately winning 72-68.
From tip-off, it was a game of keep-up, with the Tribe continuously taking single-digit leads and the Huskies trying not to fall too far behind. Northeastern only led once in the first half thanks to a fast break layup from sophomore guard Harold Woods, putting the Huskies up 25-23 with six minutes left before halftime. But from that point on, the Tribe would go on a nine-point run due to a pair of threes from the Dorsey brothers, forwards Gabe and Caleb, and three free throws to graduate student guard Sean Houpt after a freshman guard JB Frankel foul. Luckily, the Huskies would go on their own run to end the half, heading into the break only down 34-32.
The second half opened up with the Huskies taking the lead in the first four minutes, 38-36, but they wouldn’t lead again after they gave it up 10 seconds later. After going down by 10 with six minutes left in the game, graduate student forward Chris Doherty would help mount the Huskies towards a comeback, scoring eight of the next 10 points for Northeastern.
Down 68-63 with 37 seconds to go, sophomore guard Rashad King scored to put the Huskies within three. Northeastern put a full-court pressure on the Tribe and along with senior forward Alex Nwagha, were able to trap Gabe Dorsey in the corner, causing him to commit a travel violation and turn the ball over to the Huskies.
“The last couple of minutes we were in some pressure situations,” said head coach Bill Coen after the game. “Alex is terrific for us … on the ball. … He created a couple of situations where we got turnovers with his energy on the top of the press.”
In exciting fashion following the turnover, the inbounds pass went to Jared Turner, who hit a three from the right wing to tie the game at 68, and Matthews Arena erupted in cheers. However, it didn’t last long, as sophomore guard Chase Lowe drove down the court and made a layup on Doherty, putting the Tribe up two points with 19 seconds left in the game.
With no timeouts, the Huskies had one last chance to tie or take the lead. The ball found the hands of sophomore guard Masai Troutman, who shot the three-pointer and missed off the rim. It was eventually rebounded by the Tribe with four seconds remaining. Unfortunately, sophomore guard Trey Moss sank two free throws for William & Mary and iced the game, ending the sudden hope the Huskies had of winning this one.
“I’m really proud of the team’s effort,” Coen said. “We didn’t have perfect execution, but I thought we played with a lot of heart and determination. … I thought our effort gave us a chance.”
Both teams were short-handed in this one, with Luka Sakota, Joe Pridgen, William Kermoury and Collin Metcalf all unavailable to play for the Huskies, giving Woods the start. King also played all 40 minutes, scoring only four points but adding six rebounds and six assists.
“Rashad has been playing really, really well for us, demonstrating great presence on the floor,” Coen said. “We’re really proud of him over the last couple of games. [He’s] kind of emerging as a combo point guard that can help lead us in those situations.”
On the Tribe’s side, starting 6’10” sophomore forward, Charlie Williams, was out along with other already injured players. William & Mary tried to match other players against Doherty, putting 6’8” Caleb Dorsey on him as well as 6’10” freshman forward Tai Hamilton, but both of them fouled out in the final minutes, giving the Huskies that chance to win. The height advantage also allowed the Huskies to dominate the paint, scoring 36 points down low, offensively out-rebounding William & Mary 19-3 and out-scoring them in second-chance points 25-3. This kept the Huskies in the game for the most part, but William & Mary continued to show off their three-point shooting, attempting 25 and sinking 10 of them.
Five Tribe players scored in double-figures, with the Dorsey brothers combining for seven three-pointers. For the Huskies, Doherty finished with a career-high 27 points and 13 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season. Woods scored 13 in his second start this season, Turner had 11 and three three-pointers off the bench and Troutman had nine points and seven rebounds.
The Huskies travel to Maryland to rematch Towson Thursday night. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.