By Jake Fischer, News Staff
For the first 33 minutes of the men’s basketball team’s bout against Towson University last Thursday, head coach Bill Coen’s team played its best offensive basketball of the season. The ball zipped around the perimeter while every player seemingly got involved, leading to a balanced scoring attack and a 34-31 halftime lead for the Huskies. Northeastern started the second half by feeding redshirt-junior forward Scott Eatherton to keep the Tigers at bay. But ultimately the offense went cold, failing to score more than one field goal in the final 6:44 of the game and the Huskies fell to the Tigers, 79-70.
“I thought we have pretty good effort, intensity and focus throughout the night,” Coen said after the game. “There was a portion in the second half where I think we missed a lot of makeable shots and they converted them quickly into points. We just couldn’t make up that ground late in the game.”
For much of the contest, Northeastern (9-19 Colonial Athletic Association, 6-8) looked like it was about to return to .500 in the CAA standings and move into prime position at earning a top seed in the conference tournament in Baltimore next weekend. Freshman T.J. Williams scored a career-high 17 points to lead the Huskies in scoring for the first time in his career, Eatherton finished with 15 points and 9 rebounds and four other players scored 7 points or more in the contest.
“I thought we got some pretty good ball movement, some great high-low movement,” Coen said. “T.J. and [David Walker] played really, really well. They did a great job attacking the basket.”
Northeastern positioned itself to steal a victory from the the Tigers (19-9, 10-3) in part to its stifling zone defense that engulfed Towson’s Jerrelle Benimon. A 6-foot-8-inch all-purpose forward, Benimon was limited to just 8 points and 6 rebounds and was forced to distribute the ball, tallying 6 assists.
“We knew they’d play a lot of zone, they’re a tough team,” Towson head coach Pat Skerry said. “I certainly hope we don’t have to see them again [in the CAA Tournament]. We’re fortunate to get out of here with a win.”