Jacob Oshinsky/WRBB Sports File

In the penultimate game of their season, Northeastern just didn’t have enough to get by Delaware, falling to the Blue Hens 73-67.

The Huskies entered Thursday’s matchup looking to build off two straight wins, while Delaware entered reeling off back-to-back double-digit losses. Thursday was Senior Night for the Blue Hens, who said goodbye to three seniors, two of whom, Jalun Trent and Christian Ray, were starters on Thursday.

As they’ve done often of late, the Huskies took initiative. Sophomore guard Harold Woods and graduate forward Chris Doherty came out blazing, scoring 18 of Northeastern’s first 20 points as the Huskies built a 20-11 lead midway through the first half. 

The advantage wouldn’t last, though; after a Rashad King three, Delaware went on a 4-minute, 11-2 run capped off by Trent’s acrobatic layup to take the lead. The rest of the period was mostly back-and-forth, with the teams trading buckets before a Doherty last-second block sent the teams to the locker room with Northeastern trailing, 37-36. 

Woods and Doherty carried the first-half load for the Huskies, tallying 24 points on 11-of-19 along with 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Rashad King added five of his own, but star graduate forward Luka Sakota was unable to find his groove, going scoreless on just three first-half shots. For the Hens, senior guard Niels Lane paced the first half with 12 points, but Delaware got contributions across the board, as all seven Hens scored in the first half. 

Delaware opened the second half on a 14-4 run, caused in part by mental lapses from Doherty. With Northeastern trailing by just four, Doherty committed an offensive foul and a technical foul on consecutive possessions. The Hens connected on their free throws as Doherty went to the bench, and they opened up an 11 point lead in the blink of an eye. To make matters worse, Delaware went into the bonus with 12:43 remaining, making any potential comeback even more challenging. 

Undeterred, Northeastern didn’t go away. After some even play, the Huskies switched to a zone at the 11:23 mark, and immediately went on a 12-2 run to knot the game at 55. The zone puzzled the Hens, who committed several turnovers and scored just six points over the next seven minutes. Northeastern made the most of it, and a three by sophomore guard Masai Troutman gave the Huskies their first second-half lead with just 4:06 to play.

Unfortunately for head coach Bill Coen’s team, Northeastern embarked on one of their patented scoring droughts at the worst time possible. After the Troutman three, the Huskies scored just one point over the next 3:20 as Delaware built a commanding 69-63 lead. With 46 seconds left, two King free throws cut the deficit to four, but the Blue Hens made no mistake down the stretch. Delaware’s veterans sank their free throws and played smart defense as they honored their seniors with a 73-67 win.

The second half turned into a real war of attrition, with neither team shooting particularly well. Both teams combined to shoot an ugly 19-53 in the half, and just 5-18 from three-point range. For Northeastern, it was particularly ugly; after strong first halves, Woods and Doherty combined for just seven points on 4-of-15 in the second. Troutman added nine points on 4-of-9, all in the second half, and King finished with 11, but the Huskies simply couldn’t get enough to carry them over the line.

After a two-point first half, senior forward Jyare Davis took control in the second half, scoring 17 points. Davis, who is Delaware’s leading scorer, shot 12 second-half free throws and grabbed six boards to propel the Hens. Fellow senior Gerald Drumgoole Jr. shot poorly, but ended with 11 points and made two key shots down the stretch to secure victory for Delaware.

This was the type of game where good teams find a way to win, and Delaware did just that. On a night where shots simply weren’t falling, the Hens put their heads down, drove through the zone, and drew fouls. In the bonus early, Delaware made 21 free throws, including 17 in the second half; Northeastern made just seven all night. They couldn’t overcome that margin, and it felt once again like an opportunity for an important win slipped through the Huskies’ fingers.

Huskies star guard Luka Sakota finished with zero points on 0-of-3 from the floor in 22 minutes. Sakota looked uncomfortable throughout, and he left the game for good with ten minutes remaining. He appeared to briefly head to the locker room, but returned to the bench before the final whistle. We will provide updates on Sakota’s status after Saturday’s game at Drexel.

Northeastern will visit Drexel on Saturday for their regular season finale, while Delaware rounds out their schedule with a visit to Stony Brook.

The Huskies will face Drexel in Philadelphia for their final tournament tune-up Saturday. Justin Diament and myself will have live coverage on WRBB with tip-off set for 4 p.m.