By Zolan Kanno-Youngs, News Staff
Coach Bill Coen got arguably the most impressive non-conference win of his career Thursday as the Huskies upset the Georgetown University Hoyas 63-56 at Robert Clemente Coliseum in the quarterfinal round of the Puerto Rico Tip-off.
The Huskies were able to rally from a 14-point deficit with the help of 30 points and 19 rebounds from their starting frontcourt. Junior Reggie Spencer led the way with 18 points and nine rebounds, while junior Scott Eatherton notched his third double double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Northeastern big men showed their toughness on interior defense as well, winning the battle of the paint 34-26. They also out-rebounded the much bigger Georgetown team 36-32.
“These two guys right here [Spencer and Eatherton] really battled back in the second half, did a tremendous job on the backboards and were bale to carve out some space down low and get us some baskets when we really needed it,” Coen said.
Sophomore guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was the only Hoya to score in double figures with 14 points on five of 14 shooting. It didn’t look good for the Huskies when Georgetown scored the first four points of the second half, pushing the lead to 40-28.
The resilient Huskies would respond, however, with a 12-0 run that stretched over seven minutes. Sophomore guard David Walker and freshman guard T.J. Williams had four points, respectively, during the run.
The teams then traded baskets for the next three minutes to even up the score at 46-46. With 6:29 left in the game, sophomore forward Derrico Peck came up with a steal at the top of the Northeastern defense and gave the Huskies the lead with a slam on the other end.
Thanks to great free throw shooting from the Huskies in the proceeding 5 minutes (six of seven), the game remained within one possession.
With the lead 58-56, the Husky’s came up with another huge steal when Williams poked a ball loose and converted on a fast break layup with 1:09 to go in the game.
After a missed layup from Smith-Rivera, Spencer earned a trip to the line with tough post move in the midst of the Hoya interior defense.
The Tuscaloosa native then put capped off the upset with a fast-break slam in the final seconds of the game.
“We never had doubt. I mean, in the beginning we might have played a little scared at first, a little timid but after we got the nerves out, it was good to go,” Spencer said.
It will be a rematch of last year’s Great Alaska Shootout championship tomorrow when Northeastern takes on the University of North Carolina at Charlotte at 2:30 p.m. in the semifinal round of the Puerto Ric0 Tip-off.