The Providence Friars defeated Northeastern 77-72 to improve to 7-1 this season.
WHY PROVIDENCE WON: After a really slow start, the Friars had another great 2nd half on both ends of the court. This can’t be just a coincidence now, right? Even though the Huskies hung around until the very end, Providence got stops when they needed to, was very selective and effective from behind the arc in key situations, and hit their foul shots down the stretch. Throw in a dominant performance on the offensive glass (the Friars rebounded 21 of their 34 misses!) and PC is your winner.
TURNING POINT: Marshon Brooks (27 points, 8 rebounds) and Vincent Council (15 points, 8 boards, 6 assists) had numerous key baskets to help gain and stretch the lead back in the 2nd half, but the biggest was Brooks’ deep three with just over a minute left in the game. Northeastern would simply not go away, and was only down 4 before Marshon’s backbreaker trey. I was just listening on the radio, but it seemed like one of those “NOOOOOOO” “YESSSSS” kinda deals.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: So many to choose from tonight. While Vincent Council had lots of big hoops during the run that gave the Friars the lead, and Marshon Brooks had another dominant scoring 2nd half with 18 points to ice the game, both players had 5 turnovers. That leaves Bilal Dixon, who had a monster of a game with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Welcome back to the team big guy! You’ve been missed.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Everyone on Northeastern except Chaisson Allen and Joel Smith. Those two combined to shoot 14-27 (and 5-12 from downtown), but the rest of the team couldn’t provide much more production by shooting just 15-38 (39%).
Exactly one year ago today, the Friars pulled out a close 76-72 victory in Boston against the Northeastern Huskies. Man alive, if only that outcome could have been switched with the debacle from Keno Davis’ coaching debut two seasons ago when Northeastern came to the DUNK. I still believe that losing that opening game kept the Friars from the NCAA Tournament that year (stats and facts be damned!), so that picture of the lame dog jumping in the air with his paws out to the right still haunts my dreams.
Much like the Friars, the Huskies are a very young team in the rebuilding process. Even though they no longer have star Matt Janning (and four other seniors), they are still capable of good defense and excellent all-around play by senior leader and Colonial Athletic Association Pre-season All-First Teamer Chaisson Allen. It should be a fun match-up at the point guard position between Allen and Vincent Council.
Battle of Paces: Northeastern has played to a slow pace through it’s first four games (63.6 adjusted tempo, ranked #330), so it could to be a battle of running to the end of the shot clock versus Providence trying to press and force steals as always. The Huskies are slightly better than average at taking care of the ball (19.6% TO%), so PC is going to have to focus on their half court defense to limit good scoring chances.
Perimeter Huskies: Dating back to last season, a big problem for the Friars on defense has always been allowing layups and high percentage close range shots. The cure for that ailment is a Northeastern team who has been absolutely horrendous on two-point shots this season (37.6%, ranked #329 in the nation). The team actually has shot better from behind the arc so far in 4 games (40.5%, ranked #31), so Providence will have to instead make sure Huskies Chaisson Allen (9-22 from 3FG, 40.9%) and Joel Smith (10-25, 40%) don’t get too many open looks.
Friar front court, can anybody step up offensively?: Siena was able to dominate the Huskies by a) getting fast break points off of many missed threes and b) getting the ball down low to big man Ryan Rossiter (28 points). Providence hasn’t gotten double digit points from any of their big men since Bilal Dixon dropped 14 against Prairie View A&M.
Bloc(k) Party: The Friars have been putting up some impressive block numbers as of late (Bilal Dixon gets 2.5 a game, and Ron Giplaye gets 1.3 despite playing about 45 seconds a game), and that trend can continue against Northeastern. Their offense gets blocked on a ridiculous 13.4% of their possessions, which is ranked #314 in the nation.
Marshon for 1K?: Marshon Brooks is 31 points away from 1,000 career points. His career high in a game is 30 (as a sophomore against Sacred Heart). Hmmmm.
NortheasternenterstheDunkin’DonutsCenter2-2onthe season.Theyopenedwithback-to-backwinsoverBostonUniversityandSouthern Illinois, before falling to Siena and Utah State in their most recent games. Senior guard Chaisson Allen has led Northeastern in scoring in three of the contests and is averaging 17.0 points per game on the season.
The Blue Devils come to town fresh off a 54-50 overtime win over Monmouth in the Northeast Conference opener for both teams. Other wins have come over Hartford, Army and Maryland-Baltimore County…Only loss came at Penn State by a 77-61 score
The Huskies will be looking to rebound from back-to-back losses with a trip to Rhode Island to take on Providence. Northeastern and Providence are meeting for the third season in a row and the 13th time overall. Northeastern came away with a 70-66 win on its last trip to Providence on Nov. 15, 2008, before the Friars captured a 76-72 win last season in Boston.
You wouldn’t blame star point guard Chase Allen if he felt a little that way. Allen enters his senior season missing five seniors who weren’t just Bill Coen’s core players; they were the faces of the program.
Let’s put it into numbers: Allen averaged 13.6 points last season. The other seven returning players combined to average 10.7 points. The only person on the Huskies roster with as much experience is team manager Matt Holt.
WHAT TO: WATCH
2010 CAA Basketball Media Day Live – Northeastern’s Bill Coen
Northeastern Huskies defeat Southern Illinois University in an exciting game that went to overtime. Played on ESPN as part of 24 hour Hoops Marathon
Highlights from ESPN of Northeastern’s game against Siena in Albany, NY
The good thing about having such a young team is that there are always chances to see improvement, and there are always games you can use as stepping stones going forward. Northeastern may not be as good as Alabama or Boston College, but a win against them on the road would be a huge step for this team. The odds that PC will win all three of their remaining Out of Conference games are low, but if they can get several good performances and pull out some W’s before they set foot in South Bend for a BIG EAST road game versus Notre Dame — the team can gain some confidence and valuable experience heading into the belly of the BEAST.
Northeastern to try to sloooow the game down. They come into the game with an adjusted tempo of 62.6 (possessions), which is the 324th lowest in the nation. That is more than 10 possessions per game less than PC’s (73.6, ranked #39). If NU can force PC into more of a half-court offense, Vincent Council will need to start to show more of his magic at the point. The Friars can’t simply rely on hitting 40-50% from behind the arc every game.
Northeastern has been relatively stingy on defense with the few possessions they give their opponents. Their 89.9 adjusted defense efficiency ranks 53rd in the country.
Once again, the Friars seem to have a good chance on paper at causing havoc with their defense. Northeastern comes into the game with a 22.6% turnover percentage. They have had 15+ turnovers in 3 out of their 4 games. Let’s hope they didn’t take any notes from BC on how to break the Friars’ pressure.
Sharaud Curry to exact revenge. Curry had a poor game in the opening loss last year (his first after returning from injury of course), one that most likely kept the Friars (and all of Curry’s senior buddies) out of the NCAA Tournament. He started to heat up last game against BC, so hopefully his 3-point shot will be there tonight.
Northeastern enters Tuesday’s matchup with a 2-2 record. Last season, the Huskies posted a 19-13 mark (12-6 CAA) and avanced to the College Basketball Invitational. This season, the Huskies were picked to ! nish second in the Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Poll behind Old Dominion. Senior guard Matt Janning is the team’s top returning player. Last season, Janning averaged 14.3 ppg and earned All-CAA First Team honors for his efforts. Janning ranks first on the Huskies in 2009-10 with 15.3 ppg. Senior Nkem Ojougboh leads the team with 7.8 rpg and is fourth on the team in scoring with 8.8 ppg.
The Northeastern Huskies look to make a splash today when they take on BIG EAST member Providence at Matthews Arena. Northeastern is hosting a BIG EAST team for the ﬁrst time since Boston College in 1985, and is hosting a team from a BCS conference for the ﬁrst time since Duke in 1995. The Huskies are coming off a thrilling win Saturday over Wright State and they remember their upset of Providence at the Dunkin Donuts Center last season. Providence leads the all-time series 8-3, but has not appeared on Northeastern’s campus since 1931, a 60-32 Friars victory at the Boston YMCA.
New England’s most historic arena — it turns 100 years old in April — is rolling out the red carpet for a basketball game against a team from the Big East. That hasn’t happened since Boston College bussed over to NU 24 years ago. This time, Providence College will tip off against the Huskies. The Friars haven’t played a game at Matthews since 1931.
Last year is still vividly remembered. The beginning of the Keno Davis era was met with a terrible home loss to the Huskies. A small contingent of Northeastern fans chanted as they boarded their charter and PC students waited for the buses back to campus. It did not sit well, and ultimately probably was a large part in the Friars not making it to the NCAA.
WHAT TO: WATCH
Check out some highlights of Northeastern defeating Wright State at the buzzer.
This is the first time that ESPN360.com has granted exclusive college basketball rights to a specific internet service provider — the online coverage is exclusive to Cox high-speed internet customers. And as with all content airing on Cox Sports, which includes Providence College and University of Rhode Island basketball, only Cox cable customers will be able to watch on television.
There will also be exclusive halftime content from Big East Media Day available only on ESPN360.com, so those watching the game on TV will have to log on to ESPN360.com to view it. Cox Sports interviewed other Big East coaches about this year’s Providence team.
If you do not have COX, I do believe the same guy who Justin.TV’d the game on Saturday night will be hooking us up again. Check back here gametime.
WHERE TO: LISTEN
If you subscribe to CSTV All-Access, the game will have the John and Joe radio stream as always.
Last night I happened to start talking some PC-Northeastern basketball with Keith Lavon on Twitter from WRBBSports.com (a Northeastern radio station up in Boston). Keith was nice enough to answer some more questions in-depth about tonight’s upcoming game.
Friarblog: What are the expectations for the team this season? Around the same as last year?
Keith: I think the expectations for this year have to be the same as last year, that is win the conference and make the tournament. Matt Janning and Bill Coen have had four years to get it together and this was the year everyone pointed to as the one to finally get back. After falling early in the CAA tournament last year this Huskies team is hungry.
Friarblog: The Friars like to push the pace and sub in a lot of players. Northeastern has been generally playing 7 players for the majority of the minutes. Do you think that will be a factor?
Keith: NU likes to slow the game down and be deliberate with the ball, in games they have struggled its when teams start working up and down the court, the NU bench is just not that tested yet. It will be a factor in the sense of whoever dictates the pace, if the Friars push it up and down than NU might be in some trouble.
Friarblog: Friars fans know about Matt Janning from last year. Who else should we be looking out for this game?
Keith: Chase Allen. That is the key guy for NU, the better he plays, the better chance they have to win. In the victory over Wright State Allen paced the Huskies with 21. Allen is also important interms of dictating the pace of the play as the point guard. If he starts hitting threes, the opposition is in trouble.
Friarblog: PC has had some trouble defending down low this season — is Northeastern capable of taking advantage of PC big weakness?
Keith: Yes and no. Can they take advantage? Simply answered yes, Manny Adako and Nkem Ojougboh can be forces. YET, they also can both dissapear and if they get in foul trouble (as was the case against Boston University) then the Huskies don’t have much left in terms of a down low game, its those two or bust. I’d imagine the Huskies will work it down low and here is a suggestion to Coach Davis, put Nkem on the line. Hack a Nkem. He’s not reliable from the stripe at all.
Friarblog: What were the big factors in both of the losses so far?
Keith: Siena’s is an incredibly good defensive team and really shut NU down. The Huskies shot less than 40% from the floor in that game, not a great game. The BU loss was bad, really really bad. It was a game the players had circles and they could not convert. BU did their best to hand that game to the Huskies and they just could not pull it together, went the last two minutes plus without scoring, bigs got in foul trouble, just a bad overall game.
Friarblog: Prediction for the game? Keith: Ugh I hate these, have to pick Northeastern though right? I’ll take NU 67-62. Northeastern is 34-11 at Matthews Arena in the modern era of the play at Matthews, its a mighty tough place to play…Providence however won’t be as freaked out about playing in a building that’s an ice rink, that throws many teams off.
Got a chance to see Northeastern on Wednesday night, and I really liked what I saw in the Huskies’ 58-57 win over George Mason. They have plenty of scoring options when they play the way they did against the Patriots.
Matt Janning gets to the rim and can consistently make 3-pointers. He scored 20 points, made three treys and picked up two steals.
Eugene Spates, who hasn’t been consistent for the Huskies, made two critical 3s for 10 points and played with confidence. Matt Smith came off the bench to make three 3s, and Manny Adako and Nkem Ojougboh can score in close.
The Huskies beat Providence on the road, knocked off Indiana (which isn’t saying much this season, but it still bodes well for a CAA team to beat a Big Ten team on the road), and are off to a 7-1 start in Colonial play.
“We can play with anybody,” Janning said. “That’s the mindset of everybody in this locker room.”
Northeastern has to go to Old Dominion and Virginia Commonwealth in the next two games, so whether NU can be a real threat to VCU and George Mason is yet to be determined. What is a known commodity is how much Bill Coen is making Northeastern a real player in this league. The facility at Matthews Arena is for hockey, not hoops. But Coen puts a quality product on the floor and should continue to make this a consistent winner.
If the Huskies defend, they’ll contend. Making shots the way they did against George Mason is the equalizer for any team in the postseason. NU was 8-of-18 on 3s, didn’t miss a free throw and shot 54 percent overall. If the team can keep hitting those numbers, it will be a factor to win a game in the NCAAs (if it gets a bid).
In most normal years, beating Providence and Indiana would be quite a coup for a program like Northeastern, especially if both were true road games. PC still may get its act together in the Big East and make some noise but Indiana is looking at a last-place finish in the Big Ten. Still, for Bill Coen, knocking off these name programs is significant. Northeastern is 6-4 and has won three straight games away from home, including winning at the same James Madison team that just beat Seton Hall at home Tuesday night. The Huskies are still a real threat to challenge George Mason, VCU, Hofstra and Old Dominion for the CAA title.
Northeastern (Colonial) San Diego excelled last year despite having a very young team, and won a NCAA game out of a No. 13 seed with a roster that included seven freshmen — it’s a big reason they’re heavily regarded again in the WCC this year. Instead of relying on a boatload of seniors, last year’s Toreros did it with a strong policy of stopping 3s and forcing turnovers. And that’s the M.O. in the northernmost outpost of the CAA, which in five games has allowed just 21.7 percent of 3s to fall and have abruptly ended 25 percent of opponent possessions in turnovers. And it may not be UConn, but the Huskies have already beaten Providence this year.