Guilien Smith reaches career high in win against James Madison


Sarah Olender

Graduate student Guilien Smith scored his career high of 20 points in tonight’s game against JMU.

Valeria Vazquez, deputy sports editor

In the second to last game of the regular season, the men’s basketball team saw their third win at home in a row against James Madison University, 77-57.

The standout Husky of tonight’s game was graduate student guard, Guilien Smith, who before tonight had only scored in the double digits in a game against Elon at the beginning of the month when he scored 10 points. Tonight he led the game with 20.

“It feels pretty good individually, but the best part about it is that we worked as a team tonight more than I think we have all year,” said Smith. “We were playing good basketball, moving the ball well, and everyone found me when I was open and I think that helped a lot.”

With freshman guard Tyson Walker out with a shoulder injury, Smith was able to show off the work he has been putting in all season.

“[He] did an outstanding job, as he has done all year for us,” said NU head coach Bill Coen. “I always say good things happen to good people when you are working hard like that and taking a team first attitude, and nobody embodies that more than Guilien Smith. I think other people are going to be surprised when they look at what happened for Guilien tonight, but I’m certainly not because I see him work everyday. ”

The first half was all the Huskies. NU (15-14, CAA 9-8) won the tip-off and Smith immediately scored a three, setting the tone for the rest of his game. In his recent playing fashion, junior guard Maxime Boursiquot stole the ball from a Duke and ran across for a slam dunk.

While the half did not go in favor of redshirt senior guard Jordan Roland, who seemed unable to make simple shots and finish simple passes, his other teammates saw some of their best performances. Junior guard Shaquille Walters added a dunk and a three under his belt while redshirt sophomore forward Jason Strong made two three-pointers following a layup.

“For [Walters] to be the primary ball handler out there against a team that changes defenses and presses, I thought he played outstanding,” Coen said. “[Strong] is a terrific shooter. We chart all our shooting and Jason probably charts out as one of our top three shooters on our team. He hasn’t shot it like that all year, but we all know that’s what he can do.”

Smith led the half with 15 points, and the half ended 41-23.

In another 20 minutes, the Huskies ran with their lead against the Dukes (9-19, 2-15), eventually reaching a 22 point lead. In a series of assists from Brace, Walters, Boursiquot and Roland were able to put up major points on the board.

However, the sweetest moment of the game was when Croatian freshman guard Vito Cubrilo scored for the first time in his collegiate career, and the entire Husky bench rose and cheered louder than they had all season. And in true Husky fashion, he made a three-pointer.

“Vito has worked extremely hard. I always say this about international players: they leave their home and family and they come halfway around the world to chase their dream,” Coen said. “That speaks to his passion for the game and how hard he works. He has put in countless hours without any reward of game time and our guys recognize that and he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. I think our guys have a sensitivity to that and they saw him go in and make a shot and everybody got excited.”

Along with Smith’s 20 points, Walters followed him with 15 and Roland trailed behind with only 11. Walters also led with six assists while Brace followed with four.

“This is a game we needed looking forward to the CAA tournament,” Coen said. “It was a must win for us and I’m really proud of how the guys responded to the challenge.”

The Huskies’ final home game is Senior Night this Sunday at 4 p.m. at Matthews Arena against the Towson Tigers (18-12, CAA 11-6).