Chiara Jurczak/WRBB Sports File

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Northeastern fell behind immediately and never fully recovered, as Drexel led from start to finish to end their regular season with a 73-59 victory.

For the second time in three days, the Huskies were on the road for their opponents’ Senior Day celebrations. The Dragons held a ceremony for their seniors before today’s game, and Drexel fans packed the arena for one final send-off.

Once again, Northeastern’s opponent came out playing with the emotion that tends to come with Senior Day. Amidst a cacophony of noise, it took 4:01 of game time before Northeastern scored. Drexel got whatever they wanted offensively and stifled the smaller Huskies on defense. The result was an 11-0 run out of the gates for the Dragons, and a raucous crowd roared in appreciation.

Northeastern spent the next several minutes willing themselves back into the game. After a dunk by graduate forward Luke House stretched the Drexel lead to 13, the Huskies went on a three-minute, 9-0 run to cut the deficit to just four. Sophomore guard Jared Turner was instrumental throughout that stretch, forcing multiple Dragon turnovers and recording a steal and an assist.

After whittling the lead to four, though, the Huskies took their foot off the gas. The rest of the period saw Northeastern’s offense grind to a halt, and their defensive intensity wasn’t enough to make up for it. House sank several open threes, and Drexel opened up a 34-19 advantage with 4:26 to play in the first half. The lead stayed around that size for the rest of the frame, and the Dragons went into the break leading 40-27.

Sophomore guard Harold Woods was the lone offensive bright spot in what was an otherwise dreary first half for the Huskies. Woods’ 10 points led the team, and although eight different players managed to score in the half, none of them posted more than four points. Northeastern shot just 1-of-8 from three in the half, and 0-of-2 from the free throw line. 

By contrast, Drexel enjoyed an efficient shooting half. It wasn’t quite the 60-point explosion they produced in the second half of Thursday’s contest vs. Stony Brook, but they made 14-of-24 from the field, 5-of-8 from three, and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe as they breezed to 40 points. House led the way with 16, connecting on four threes, and fellow senior forward Lucas Monroe added 10.

For the second straight game, Northeastern found themselves down double digits early in the second half, and for the second straight game, they battled back. After the Dragons stretched the lead to 16 via an Amari Williams alley-oop jam, they went nearly eight minutes of game time without a point, allowing the Huskies to pull within two at the 9:08 mark. Suddenly, a game that looked out of reach was very much up for grabs. 

Northeastern climbed most of the mountain, but they couldn’t quite reach the summit. 

Buoyed by a loud, passionate home crowd, the Dragons refused to wilt. Capitalizing off Husky turnovers, they ignited; Drexel seemed to score on every possession, running roughshod on the Huskies en route to a six-minute, 21-4 run. It was once again House and Monroe doing most of the damage, and by the time they checked out with 1:02 to play, Drexel’s lead was an insurmountable 17. Northeastern did some last-minute window-dressing, but it was ultimately meaningless as the Dragons coasted to a 73-59 victory.

There were some bright spots for the Huskies. Coach Bill Coen’s squad, hamstrung by the absence of star guard Luka Sakota, hung tough with one of the best teams in the CAA for the better part of 40 minutes. Sophomore guard Masai Troutman performed well, posting 13 points on 5-of-7 and playing excellent defense, and graduate forward Chris Doherty capped his CAA regular-season career with an 18-point, four-rebound outing. Additionally, freshman guard JB Frankel was impressive filling in for Sakota, playing 31 minutes, a career-high. 

“I thought JB gave us some really good minutes,” said Coen of Frankel, who registered the highest +/- of any Husky to play at least 30 minutes. “He greases the wheels… it doesn’t always show up on the box score, but he has an effect on the game.”

For Drexel, House’s first-half fireworks carried into the second, as he finished with 23 points on a neat 8-of-14. Monroe hit on 9-of-10 en route to 18 points, and senior guard Yame Butler continued his run of solid performances with 13 points on 4-of-5. Sophomore Justin Moore was quiet; the guard came in leading the Dragons in scoring, but played a minimal role today, taking just three shots and finishing with two points.

The Huskies were able to keep star senior forward Amari Williams in check, holding him to just 11 points and five rebounds. The 6’11” Williams was named the preseason CAA Player of the Year and is the odds-on favorite to win his third consecutive CAA Defensive Player of the Year award. However, he played just 20 minutes as Northeastern kept him in foul trouble throughout.

As previously mentioned, the Huskies were without star guard Luka Sakota as he continues to deal with an injury he aggravated during the second half of Thursday’s loss at Delaware. Sakota was in the arena for the game, but he was clad in street clothes. 

“He’s disappointed he wasn’t able to compete today,” said Coen of Sakota. “We’re hoping that we’ll get back, get some treatment, and he’ll be ready to go [for Saturday].”

Saturday’s results across the CAA saw Drexel keep their grip on the second seed, while Northeastern dropped one spot to No. 10. The Huskies will square off against No. 7 Stony Brook on Saturday, and Drexel will face the winner of that contest on Sunday.

It’s make-or-break time for Northeastern as they travel to Washington D.C. to face off against Stony Brook in the CAA Tournament. Justin Diament and Jacob Phillips will once again have the call with tip-off set for Saturday at 6 p.m.