Men’s basketball dominates overtime period in first win of 2019


Brian Bae

Junior guard Donnell Gresham puts up a shot in a prior game against BU. / File photo by Brian Bae.

Seamus McAvoy, news staff

A resilient Elon team produced a double-digit comeback effort in the second half to force overtime, but the Huskies controlled the extra period and left North Carolina with a 81-70 victory.

Northeastern (8-8, 2-2 CAA) established a double-digit lead fewer than 12 minutes when senior center Anthony Green finished off a dunk set up by senior guard Vasa Pusica to give the Huskies a 24-13 advantage. A layup from junior guard Jordan Roland on the ensuing possession pushed the lead even further, prompting an Elon timeout.

The Phoenix (5-13, 1-4 CAA) cut the lead to just six with 4:13 remaining in the first half, but a quick 9-0 run from the Huskies shut down the comeback effort and Northeastern took a commanding 40-28 lead into the break. The Huskies were effective on both sides of the ball in a half where everything seemed to go right. They connected on 50 percent of their field goals and forced seven turnovers on the other end.

Characteristic of their nickname, the Phoenix would rise yet again in the second half. A 3-pointer from junior guard Bolden Brace pushed NU’s lead to 16 just over two minutes into the half, but Elon then broke off a 13-0 run in a seven-minute span in which the Huskies missed nine consecutive shots.

“In the second half I thought [Elon] made some adjustments, got a little more aggressive on the defensive end,” said head coach Bill Coen after the game. “Their switching caused us a little bit of problems, and we kind of settled for some long-range jump shots instead of putting pressure at the rim.”

Though Elon controlled much of the second half, the Phoenix didn’t take their first lead of the game until 2:58 remained , when a layup by Sheldon Eberhardt made it 60-59. A pair of free throws from Tyler Seibring gave Elon a 63-61 lead with 1:09 remaining, and all seemed lost when Brace lost the ball the following possession with under a minute left.

Northeastern couldn’t have forced their 13th turnover of the game at a better time, as junior guard Donnell Gresham Jr. picked off Nathan Priddy and finished on the other end to tie the game at 63-all. Missed go-ahead chances by both teams kept the score even as the game headed to overtime.

From the start of the extra period, Northeastern tapped once again into their early-game dominance. The Huskies scored the first eight points of overtime and didn’t look back, outscoring Elon 18-7 and taking away an impressive 81-70 victory. Pusica led the way for the Huskies with 19 points on 7-14 shooting while dishing out seven assists.

Northeastern improved to 8-8 (2-2 CAA) on the year, while Elon falls to 5-13 (1-4 CAA). The Huskies continue conference play Jan. 12 at William & Mary.